15 Practical Gifts They'll Actually Use

Published October 31, 2022
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Practical gifts don't get enough credit. Sure, they aren't usually glamorous, but a great practical gift is something that the recipient will say a silent prayer of thanks for with each use because it - and you, the brilliantly clever giver - has made their life a little easier. And isn't that the greatest gift of all?

Another wonderful thing about practical presents is that they come in all shapes, sizes, and price points. Cleaning tools, kitchen gadgets, disaster preparedness kits - no matter your budget, a useful gift is within reach and, I would argue, often feels like money better spent. The following 15 useful and giftworthy picks are the ones I am most excited to give, and I hope they inspire you, too!

First and foremost, socks are the ultimate practical holiday gift, one that I believe people actually enjoy receiving more than you might think! Regardless of how you or I feel about their gift-worthiness, though, socks are something the recipient will definitely use, especially if they're a pair of high-quality, never-slide-down Bombas. I chose to highlight this style because they suit so many different pairs of shoes - we all need to quit wearing flats with bare feet!

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Sharp knives are essential to a home cook's success. This Chef's Choice electric knife sharpener quickly and easily sharpens, hones, and polishes both straight and serrated edges, extending the life and performance of even inexpensive knives. This machine was even given the America's Test Kitchen seal of approval!

I've reached the phase of life where I look at a nice vacuum cleaner the way some people eye a sports car. If it's sleek and powerful, its got my attention, and this stick vac from Shark is well-reviewed by thousands for a reason. Lightweight and cordless for maximum maneuverability, the Rocket features a removable hand vacuum for floor to ceiling cleaning and LED headlights to illuminate hard-to-see dirt. The dust cup also empties directly into the trash with just a touch.

The dreaded cord knot will be a thing of the past thanks to this chic leather tech organizer. With compartments for everything from cables to external hard drives, all of their essentials will be kept together in one easily accessbile location so they'll never have to dig around for their charger again. Add that to this super chic design and the fact that you can easily also use this as a stylish travel pouch, you can't go wrong.

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If your giftee loves breakfast, but ripped up pieces of toast drive them crazy, a butter spreader will surely be a hit. This set of two knives feature a series of small, slotted holes that run along one edge of the blade which curls even the coldest butter and transform it to a spreadable consistency. Made from high-quality and corrosion-resistant stainless steel, they'll also last for years.

A flameless lighter is a gift that can last a lifetime, so why not give one that's as beautiful as it is useful? Sleek design and soft, neutral colors set this one apart. When fully charged, it's good for up to 1,000 lights at a time. It even has a built-in LED flashlight if, for example, you're trying to light a candle in a power outage. Now that's a bright idea! Gift this one to the candle lover who you know will use it daily.

Planners make excellent gifts for anyone who wants to actively take charge of their time - or even those looking to keep their memory sharp. This one from Roterunner takes the classic organization and time management aspects of a daily agenda and adds a mindfulness twist with space to set goals, track daily habits, and even reflect on the special events of the day. This holistic approach will make daily, weekly, and monthly scheduling a real treat.

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These macrame baskets add a touch of '70s boho chic to the decor while the hanging design makes them an incredible space-saver. Easily used for fruit, onions, or potatoes in the kitchen, your recipient could also use it near the front door to hold keys and mail, or as even a hanging planter! This three-tiered beauty is nothing if not versatile.

When I first came across this emergency preparedness kit, I was a little puzzled by the inclusion of things like Marvis toothpaste and TCHO Chocolate. How does fancy toothpaste help in an emergency situation? Then I remembered a time when I, myself, was stuck in the desert for a few hours because I popped the tire on my car. I didn't pack any water and the only thing that was keeping my mouth from drying out completely were some old-ish Listerine strips I found in the glove compartment. Fresh breath didn't save my life, but it did help with morale! Anyway, in addition to those small luxury items that help keep a person sane, this kit also includes enough food bars and water for one person to survive on for three days, a stainles steel multi-tool, full first-aid kit, a mylar space blanket, candles, stormproof matches, and even a pack of playing cards.

For the farmer's market enthusiast on your list. This rolling cart is ingeniously designed to "climb" stairs so they can get their haul up to their third floor walk-up even if they went a little crazy at the melon stand. Or if it's being used at the grocery store, the convenient hook lets you hang the whole thing on the side of the cart. The roomy bag is water-resistant and fully removable, and the cart folds down for easy storage.

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This is essentially an oversized, heavy-duty electric toothbrush, and it is a godsend for detailed work like cleaning grout. The oscillating head scrubs at a rate of 60 times per second and can be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher. This makes a perfect gift for the clean freaks in your life who absolutely obsess over those last little bits of grime.

Finally! A tape measure for the 21st century! The digital face clearly displays exact measurements to alleviate guesswork, and it can even recall up to three previous mesurements for quick reference. Convert fractions to decimals or inches to centimeters with the touch of a button. It will even tell you the midpoint to make picture hanging dummy-proof. A DIYer's dream.

If they're always breaking the cork with a traditional opener, this design-y electric model will be a wine-saver this holiday season and the whole year through. Rechargable, cordless, and operated with the touch of a button, it couldn't be easier to use. Each full charge is enough power to open 30 bottles, and I love that the included foil cutter also doubles as a display stand!

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Stovetop espresso makers are, in my opinion, far superior to pod-based systems. The quality of coffee is better and there isn't any plastic/aluminum waste. This little model brews two perfect demitasses of coffee simultaneously and looks dark cute to boot. Not recommended for induction stovetops. Comes with two cups and saucers.

This, like the emergency preparedness kit, is one of those gifts you hope they never have to use, but everyone definitely needs! It's a powerful and fully rechargeable 1,000 amp battery that can jump-start your engine in a flash. It also includes a built-in 100 lumen LED light with strobing functions for use in an emergency and features four smart phone charging ports, ideal for keeping your devices powered on in a jam. Small, but mighty!

Looking for more great gift ideas? Check out our last-minute gift picks that don't make it look like you scrambled and unique gifts for the ones who already have everything!

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15 Practical Gifts They'll Actually Use