Good gift giving is basically a form of art. There’s nothing a nice present can’t do; it can lift a mood or improve a relationship, repair a wrongdoing, or remind someone you care about them. So no wonder gifts have a special place in our minds, no matter how much we often dread them (don’t even remind me about the Christmas gift hunt!).
The useful gift route is the one to go, but hey, there’s no universal guarantee that whatever you think of as useful would feel the same for the person who’ll receive it. So today, we are taking a look into presents that pleasantly surprised people who had no clue they needed them.
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“What’s the best ‘I didn’t know I needed that’ gift you’ve received?” someone asked on Ask Reddit a while ago and the responses are basically a solid list of cool gift ideas. Scroll down through them below and upvote your favorite ones!
My mom just randomly bought me a jogging shirt saying. Maybe you can use this if you run.
I was unhealthy fat short kid, she was trying to encourage me.
Couldn’t even run 1 km without questioning my existence.
Several months later I could do 10km in below 40 min, and ran 50km a week.
I got so thin that my friends mom asked me if I’m sick (she thought I had cancer)
After a while I realized that this is not good for my back.
So I started lifting weights in the neighbourhood gym.
I went there so much that the owner made me take charge of it.
Im now the head of the gym and have transformed it completely.
I don’t look sick anymore and have a healthy amount of muscle. But im still short .
All of this because of some random running fleece shirt. I still have it today 10 years later…
Image credits: itsdtx
A kitten, from a total stranger. Yes, really. I wouldn’t describe myself as much of a ‘cat person’, per se, and I wasn’t even sure what to do with it at first. A few years down the line, and it’s basically my best friend. A constant companion whenever I’m @ home. And to think I preferred dogs once, yeesh!
Image credits: LSDeann
When I first became a cop I was getting blown away with what I dealt with. There was also so much death and the fear of getting shot. In my own personal life I also had so much stress and depression. One day I was working a school detail and a little kindergartner skipped by. She giggled and handed me a drawing of a kitten she made for me. It literally brought tears to my eyes. I was truly touched. No one had ever thanked me for anything on the job or given me such a kind gesture in years.
Image credits: RealJoe93
My nephew bought my wife a cheap plastic duck call. I have no idea why my nephew thought this a perfect gift, but he was 100% correct. It is now known as the ‘cat whistle’ in our house because the cats stop whatever naughty thing they were doing immediately upon hearing it.
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Image credits: UnknownHanson
Two tickets to Les Miserables. I had absolutely no desire to see the show although my (now ex-) wife had been seriously hinting about it. When I opened the envelope on Christmas morning I was pretty pissed. She basically gifted herself. I was still pissed when I was dragged to the theater. The performance began… and I was in tears after ten minutes. It was just an incredible live performance and before we left I would buy the CD and listen to it for hours.
Image credits: somewhereinks
Gloves that let you text with them on.
Image credits: AjiiMaat
snow/ice grips for boots. living in a place where no one seems to know how to clear a sidewalk, they make a difference.
Image credits: [deleted]
My best friend mailed me a humidifier a couple years ago when I had a chest cold. It’s the best gift I didn’t know I needed.
Image credits: MeridianHilltop
A pair of good headphones. I listen to music almost on a daily basis and settled with ok earbuds because I didnt see the need for big headphones. It was like a revelation the first time I put them on because I never knew the audio could sound so clear before. It was incredible and I use them all the time now.
Image credits: ThisPeachIsSubpar
A printer. Back then I had absolutely no use for a printer. But fast forward about five years, now I am in university, and that printer is a blessing to have. Thanks Dad.
Image credits: Starfall669
An upright, self-defrosting food freezer.
Never thought I’d need one. Now, can’t imagine not having it.
Image credits: Back2Bach
My brother buys my wife and I board games for Christmas and birthdays, I forgot how much fun they can be
Image credits: jamesshithead
Superman socks with a cape on them that flow in the wind
Best gift I’ve ever gotten
Image credits: RomanV02
A clock for the bathroom. Wasn’t intended for the bathroom was just a cute small clock but it matched my bathroom decor so it went there. It helped massively with time management specially for morning showers when I had no idea how long my showers were and used to end up rushing to get ready for work.
Image credits: shakakhannn
A Banana Saver. It’s a hard case that encloses a banana to protect it. No more bruised banana or banana guts squished into the bottom of your bag.
Image credits: ncmagpie
Years ago someone gave me a smooth edge can opener. I didn’t ask for it but I do like to cook. I absolutely love that thing and still have it in my kitchen to this day and I enthusiastically recommend it to everyone.
Image credits: IAmIrritatedAMA
Instant pot. I just love it! I make delicious stews now.
I got a waterproof bluetooth speaker for my shower as a stocking stuffer 5 years ago. I can’t take a shower without my tunes anymore. I love it.
Image credits: SithLard
When my aunt gave me the Lord of the Rings, the trilogy all in one amazing book. It changed everything and made me a nerd.
A door stopper on the end of a telescopic stick. Truly moving around in a wheel chair has been revolutionized for my mother. No need for anyone to hold the door.
Image credits: Redland_Station
A good set of bath towels. My grandmother gave me a set as a graduation gift. I knew how expensive good towels and I knew she really had to save up for them, so I was thankful, but the same kind of thankful you are when grandpa gives you his dentures for Christmas.
“I’ll be damned if I don’t use those towels every day 7 years later (though I do need a new set at this point). They are very easily the most used gift I have ever been given.
Image credits: eskamobob1
A small tool box from my father-in-law the first Christmas after I got married. I have used it so many times.
Image credits: _austinm
Kindle. I have the app but I was given an actual kindle recently. It is so much easier to read books on than on my ipad or my smart phone.
My boss bought me a fountain pen with my name on it as a Teachers’ Day gift. It’s not even a quality one but it’s actually my first fountain pen at the age of 20. I never knew I would be this obsessed, now I’m going to get myself a Lamy Safari and then even more. Prost, to expensive hobbies we’ve all not been able to resist!
Image credits: nowatrueredhead
My husband let me pick out this gift but my winter boots. They’re probably ugly to some but they’re lined with sheep’s wool and they’re so comfortable to wear and warm! I never found such comfortable boots and I wear them almost daily.
Image credits: coffeeandjesus1986
When laptops became affordable, my husband bought one for himself & one for me. I didn’t want it at first because I was happy with a desktop. Within a month, I’d converted. I didn’t have a clue how convenient they were.
I’m a big dinosaur nerd. A couple years ago for my 30th birthday I got a mint in box Dino Riders torosaurus that I always wanted as a kid. It totally blew my mind and it was a weird yet fantastic feeling opening up a dinosaur toy at that age
Image credits: tweak0
I hate receiving gifts, as a rule, but I was once given a camera tripod which has a mounting-feature for smartphones. That was kinda cool. Now I can make videos with my phone without constantly switching hands.
Calvin and Hobbes book from my mother. Had never heard of them before but I subsequently bought the rest of the books and love them now.
Image credits: fr-spodokomodo
My son was born on Christmas Eve. I have never thought of myself as being super maternal but now I can’t imagine a life without him.
My husband’s aunt buys the most practical gifts you could think of! Every year for Christmas I’m excited for her gifts like she bought some insulated bags last year. The year before she got me a nice nail care set and the Rock file is perfect to use on my baby’s nails! I never think of the things she buys but every thing she buys is super useful!
Image credits: wheaties201
My ex bought me vitamin D tablets maybe a month or so into dating. I’d been pretty unwell around that time, cancelling one date and bailing early on another. Id had blood tests done but the results weren’t back yet.
He showed up for a date one day and had the tablets for me as a present. It was pretty sweet to just get me a present for no reason other than to make me feel better. And when the blood tests came back, one of the things wrong with me was a vitamin D deficiency, so I did need them but didn’t know yet.
I guess you could say I really appreciated that he gave me the D…
A smart watch. I would have never purchased one myself but now I can’t live without it!
My parents got me an oversized bath robe when I was younger. Kinda disappointed until I saw the gift card stuffed in the pocket. I think I enjoyed whatever I bought with the gift card. But that bath robe, lemmie tell you, wearing that sucker right now.
Image credits: PortalStorm4000
One of those plastic covers to use in the microwave… absolutely game changing.
Image credits: pmME_urTITS-plz
Plastic rice cooker for the microwave. I never liked cooking rice because I always burnt it or made it too soggy. Now I can eat all the rice I never knew I wanted.
Pacman wall lamp. I use it every night as a nightlight. Not too bright so I can sleep and when I wake up to go to the bathroom, I can see where to go.
A zombie hand back scratcher, I got it in a loot box someone gave me for Christmas. Best present ever! I don’t remember what else I was gifted that year but I take my zombie hand everywhere.
It’s kind of a weird one, for many reasons. About a year after my now-ex-wife and I separated, but before we actually divorced, she gave me a pocket knife as a random gift one day. It’s nothing special, just a simple little knife. Unusual, since neither of us in our 15 years of marriage ever carried a knife, owned a pocket knife, or even expressed interest or desire in one. Every time I pick it up I still think to myself why did she give me a knife?’ Holy s**t I use that little bastard all the time! Get yourself a pocket knife – you’ll be surprised how handy they can be.
Image credits: REO_Jerkwagon
My brother jokingly bought me a squatty potty a few Christmas’s ago after we saw the commercial a few months prior.
I killed myself laughing again when I opened it up and stuck it in front of the toilet to send him a picture. Well, I forgot to move it after so it was there the next time I used the bathroom.
Let me tell y’all something. If you have any kind of digestive issues at all, the squatty potty is a work of art. Best poops of my life, I’ll tell you what.
Lasik eye surgery. Best gift I ever received, so far.
I was furious with my husband when I figured out that money had been just…disappearing from our bank account. I confronted him about it in April. He straight lied in my face and said he needed to spend some of his paycheck on scaffolding. I didn’t believe him, but he’s never lied before, so I let it go. Celebrating my birthday in November, I’m unwrapping presents with him and my family, and there are 25 wrapped up…fish. Fish toys for cats, glass fish, candy fish, wooden fish…and an underwater watch. I’m not bright because I hadn’t figured it out…They got me a trip to Vieques, Puerto Rico to learn how to scuba dive. I don’t deserve them. He’d been saving for a year. I saw a DOLPHIN with a BABY DOLPHIN. UNDERWATER. 6 FEET AWAY FROM MY FACE.
It’s the best thing ever. It’s like flying on another planet.
Image credits: octopusboots
Google home. Only knew like 2 functions and thought , eh, maybe I’ll use it. A month later my whole house was automated.
“the power of habit” book.
having a friend who is book savvy is extremely underrated.
A stand Mixer, I resisted it for years saying that it was unnecessary and that I could do everything myself. But it completely changed my world and I am so grateful for it
Keyring beer opener. Before used knives, lighters, furniture and never realized how amazing life can be.
Under water MP3 player. Now I learn Spanish (shout out to Coffee Break Spanish) while swimming laps.
A tall makeup organizer. Didn’t think it’d make much of a difference until I used it and freed up a ton of vanity space.
My ex-MIL got me maid service when I was 9mo pregnant. I hate having a dirty house but between gaining 60 lbs and banking PTO working OT cleaning was impossible. I was in full on nesting mode but all I could manage was organizing. She gave me the number and said to let them know when it was convenient for me. It was so unobtrusive. But so needed!
A pepper grinder. I’d lived all my life just assuming that pepper from a regular pepper shaker was good enough. Then one day a friend was throwing out a pepper grind and gave it to me with some black peppercorns and my meals have all been improved ever sense.
Insoles for my shoes. Hands down. I had never used insoles before, forgot they were even a thing to be honest. When i received them as a gift from my Mom and put them in my shoes was incredible. They make the world of a difference and helped A LOT with my constant foot pain from my insanely arched feet. Greatest gift ever.
Image credits: InkingMyPainAway
A fountain water bowl for my cat. He used to knock his water bowl over all the time, or at the very least make a scene about having to hover to get a drink. No more wet floors!
A nice set of kitchen knives. I don’t have to struggle to cut veggies and raw meat with a steak knife anymore!
A turbie twist… got one as a gift… LOVED IT… and have bought more and gifted them on since to a few friends and family.
A steak quesadilla. Was going through a lot, had a bad day, life falling apart, but my brother brought me a quesadilla from Taco Bell once and it really turned things around. I kinda just saw that I have close people that think about me. Really gotta keep in mind that those small gifts can mean the world to somebody.
An ebook reader, simply amazing
An electric blanket.
It’s not really a gift, but hearing my stepmom say she’ll always be there, and that I can always talk to her and also constantly getting hugs from her. Just my stepmom in general, really. After therapy and talking heart to heart with my stepmom I’ve realized my mom isn’t that kind of person, it’s not easy to talk to her about deep stuff, and we don’t hug too often. I really didn’t know how much I needed that
I currently have a stockpile of 20 razors and won’t need to buy anything for a couple years. It was a real lifesaver actually because when you are going to college you don’t realize you need to buy all this shit for yourself and it can really eat into your food and alcohol budget so sometimes you don’t think about it. I really grew to appreciate it in the end.
A leather steering wheel cover. No more driving around with a searing hot or icy cold steering wheel in summer and winter! It was a totally unexpected gift but I’ve been grateful for it pretty much every day since.
The book Little Women. Got me through some dark times.
Weighted blanket. My wife and I sleep better than ever now thanks to it. Had no idea how poor my sleep was before it
My mom got me a new duvet when I was 12/13 and a second duvet she made into matching curtains, they were in hindsight pretty garish. But I’d shared a room until I was 11, so it was nice being given things that were just mine to make my space more personal. Seems an odd gift but for poorer families it can actually be quite meaningful.
When I was probably 11, my mother gifted me teal curtains and I absolutely hated them. Now that I’m an adult, I actually can’t imagine not having them because they really do tie the room together.
When I was 18 I got a pillow for Christmas. One of the fancy $100 memory foam firm thick pillows for side sleepers. I never realized how much I hated my regular flat pillows until that day
Toilet paper. I know that seems like such a basic thing, but when I was moving into my first apartment, my friend asked me if I had any and then gifted me a roll after he saw my “hammer between the eyes” expression. It literally hadn’t occurred to me that I should buy some.
A bidet attachment for my toilet! Now I feel like a caveman pooping anywhere else. I tell everyone that they need to invest in one, and those who have enjoy it as much as we do.
Salad spinner, having dry lettuce is actually seriously underrated.
Image credits: Taygr
One of those head scratcher things with a bunch of little metal strips with rubber tips. Very relaxing.
A purse hook. Rolls up to the size of a silver dollar, holds my purse out of the way at bars that haven’t caught on to them yet.
A hot water bottle when I was living in an attic with terrible insulation. I went from freezing cold feet every night, to getting too hot halfway through the night.
Image credits: HaxWeinberg
One Christmas my family got me a clip on pasta strainer. I use that damn thing almost every day.
My mom got me an umbrella for Christmas one year, and I thought it was an odd gift but her response was “well I know you walk around all the time since you don’t have a car, I thought you could use one.” Sounds silly but I never thought to get one for myself before that
A ballpoint pen. It feels so much better than regular pen. They’re more expensive but my previous pen lasted ten months. I used it at work every day and my job requires a lot of writing and making notes.
A Tile, they are so helpful if you put them on your keys. If you lose your phone you can use it to find your phone, or if you lost your keys you can find your keys with your phone.
A backpack for work.
It is a very nice business-style bag that I carry my laptop, chargers, snacks, etc. in.
It has been a lifesaver!!
A socket and open wrench set. I’ve used the hell out of it and I’ve taken good care of it and have every piece still.