Don’t get us wrong, we live for a gimmick. Have you seen the chicken bag around which the internet is forming a small cult? How about the electrocution party game, or a computer mouse shaped like a potato? A lot of peeps would say such treasures aren’t a necessity of life, and they would be correct. Still, in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, “Life without the Shrek butt plug isn’t living. It’s just existing.”
We are proud, undying indulgence seekers over here, but here’s what no one else who is as fun as us will tell you: Even the sparkliest of people rely on tactful, practical behind-the-scenes goods—think back braces, humidifiers, luxuriating deodorant—to look and feel their best once it’s time to hit the streets, and do the personality tap dance for the public. You want this life? [Dismounts golden eagle] Well, this life requires a degree of emotional/mental/physical pyrotechnics that finds support through really strong jar openers, sharp knives, and more.
The best practical gifts will grace your kitchen drawers, bathroom sinks, bedside tables, and mystery drawers with new ways of being efficient, smart, and well-organized. Isn't it a nice idea to give gifts that the lucky recipient will actually use? Make it about improving your friend/sister's/dad's/boyfriend's/manicurist's life instead of just flexing how you found the most unique bud vase ever on Etsy. Just because something is practical doesn’t mean it’s boring. (Just look at the British Parliament!) There are plenty of aesthetic Tupperware-esque bins that we would love to be cremated in. Carry on, and enjoy these ideas for the best practical gifts we really, actually want (or already own and love).
A rolling cart that can climb stairs
Your friend in the third-floor walk up will kiss your feet if you bestow them with one of these. No more guaranteed shoulder pain when you're hauling up the groceries.
Top-notch hand soap
It's been a wild couple of years, and we now all appreciate the value of having hydrating, nicely scented hand soap to wash our filthy little monkey paws with. Compagnie de Provence makes some of the best (and looks great next to a sink, with its confident graphic design).
The secret to opening any jar
The pickles, the peanut butter, even the Talenti—there comes a time when jars need to be opened and they simply shall not budge. In fact, they kinda feel like your hand is gonna fall off. That's where this incredible, under appreciated gadget comes in—it clings to the lid of any jar and smoothly, cleanly opens it with way less effort.
We all like smelling good, but it can be hard to justify dropping 30 bones on yourself for armpit cream. But if someone else does it, well… yes, we would be thrilled to receive Le Labo's fancy deo.
A better-than-decent chef’s knife
Misen's knives are dang gorgeous and stay sharp pretty much forever, so it's time to encourage your loved one to ditch the blunt blades they've hung on to since 2011 and upgrade to this all-purpose blade that will slice through meat, veggies, and more like butta.
It’s time we give our bodies a break from the tense, slouched position many of us WFH slugs have adopted over the last couple years. However, not all of us have someone to follow us around and scold us for our poor posture, which is where this low-profile posture corrector comes in.
Hydrate those pores
For the skincare-obsessed, this is a practical gift. Fight me. You can buy Evian misters at the drugstore, but they honestly only dry out your skin more because the water only temporarily moistens your skin without really hydrating it, which is what this spray by Caudalie does. It’s grape water, which means it’s using the same technology as those ~taught~ and ~*~juicy~*~ little berries to actually give your skin a nourishing, antioxidant rich treatment.
An organizer for meal toppings
Sure, Ooni says it's for pizza toppings, but it's also ideal for taco night, drink garnishes, or any other scenario when you're making food or drinks that deserve a little customization.
Store those nuts for the winter
We dig reusable storage containers across the charcuterie board, including these aesthetic silicone baggies that can hold everything from refried beans to toiletries, and the Inka food containers that are so sleek they make Marie Kondo weak in the knees.
Knee pad for gardening
When both knees are your “bad knee,” it can be a real fucking drag to do simple tasks that require you to get down and dirty, such as gardening, tinkering with things under the sink, or hitting a nice child’s pose. Enter: this sweet knee pad.
A pair of super-sharp scissors
BuT I aLrEadY HavE sCissORs, you’re thinking. Well, Geoff, your scissors are awful, and they reflect the same poor character that made Devon dump you in eighth grade. So, end the madness and upgrade your cutting game with this super-sharp, devastatingly elegant pair. You’ll be gliding through wrapping paper and holding back explosive sensory-induced orgasms in no time. (And if you prefer a gold finish, check out this equally showstopping pair from Garrett Wade.)
An aesthetically pleasing solution for a stinky bathroom
Keep it in the bathroom. Don't make us explain what it's for, but these appealing cloches in muted jewel tones also make you feel rich while in the salle de bain.
Speaking of bad stench, you can’t go wrong with a candle
A vanilla scented candle is everyone’s best friend. It’s not so overpowering that you’ll get a headache, and apparently it can turn people on??? Especially this one from Diptyque, which has notes of black vanilla pods with spicy and smokey accents.
Candy for your feet
Socks used to be a dreaded stocking stuffer to receive. “Dad, socks again?” We’d cry. Don’t get it twisted though, these are ultra smooth crew socks from Skims. Thank you Kimmy K.
Laundry’s best friend
Do you NEED a laundry turtle? Technically no, but once you start using one, I guarantee you’ll never go back. It takes the physical anguish and fear of dropping a sock on the dirty floor out of doing laundry.
Aesthetically-pleasing olive oil
We are obsessed with Graza’s “Drizzle” and “Sizzle” set that feature two delicious oils—Sizzle, made from mature, mid-season olives with a mild flavor for roasting, grilling, frying, etc. and Drizzle, a finishing oil, not meant to be heated, made from olives picked-early, with a bold, punchy flavor.
The fancy electric toothbrush they won’t treat themselves to
This toothbrush (in stunning gunmetal gray) is the epitome of luxury. Walk into any rich person’s bathroom and there will be matching Sonicare toothbrushes next to their double sinks—and shockingly white smiles.
A really, really good vacuum cleaner
A lot of people go through their lives using a sub-par vacuum cleaner and living in relative filth. Help your giftee see the clean, sterile light by delivering a sick vacuum cleaner that reviewer Nicolette Accardi said is “the best vacuum I’ve ever used.”
A sexy coffee machine (that makes great coffee)
We love the Moccamaster. It’s a retro-looking, delicious-coffee-making machine that will bring class to any kitchen counter or island. Upgrade someone’s home java situation (and life) by throwing ‘em one of these babies.
Slice a bagel and not your hand
This gift is not fun. It’s not cool or horny. People might not even be happy to receive it. “Oh, great,” they’ll say. “I can definitely use this.” Then, watch their eyes glaze over as they struggle to envision a future where they’ll actually use it. Lo and behold, one day, bagels will appear, and they’ll remember this gift. On that day, there’s almost a 0% chance they’ll accidentally cut themselves.
Now shop, shop, shop—the holidays are practically here.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.