The new friend, the minimalist, the huge group... Ideas to please the hard-to-buy-for.

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Everyone has a person (or three) that they put off shopping for during the holidays.

But the time has come to take on those challenging recipients, and we’re here to help with ideas for the hard-to-buy-for.

For the holiday party host you don’t know well

Did a new boss invite you over for cocktails? Is a cousin you haven’t seen in years having an open house? There’s still a thoughtful gift you can bring that won’t end up re-gifted next year.

Betsey Johnson Holiday Giving Kitty Ornament ($25 at Iconic designer Betsey Johnson has an awesome array of under-$50 gifts, including this festive ornament that will thrill a lover of cats and/or parties.

Nordstrom at Home Twig Set of 3 Cheese Knives ($39 at Nordstrom). These forest-themed cheese knives are perfect for the Pacific Northwest host, with trendy gold, twiglike handles.

Jonathan Adler Elephant Bank ($88 at DIGS, Ballard, and This little bank can be used to save pennies for a rainy day or simply act as a chic décor piece. Available in white or black.

Clockwise from top left: Jonathan Adler Elephant Bank, $88; Japanese Kit Kats, starting at $6; Sasuraibito Tarot Deck, $48; Cairo Brick Phone Pin, $10
Clockwise from top left: Jonathan Adler Elephant Bank, $88; Japanese Kit Kats, starting at $6; Sasuraibito Tarot Deck, $48; Cairo Brick Phone Pin, $10

For the new friend

Showing a new friend your appreciation without scaring them off is almost as hard as making the connection in the first place. Here are some gifts with a bit of subtlety.

Fresh Tangerine Friendship Bracelet ($25 at This locally made bracelet is a chic, stackable update on the embroidery floss versions from school. Dozens of colors are available and an included card lets you circle your friend’s best traits.

Sasuraibito Tarot Deck ($48 at Virago Gallery, West Seattle, and These tarot cards, beautifully illustrated by local artist Stasia Burrington, are a fun and trendy way to glean a little insight into daily life.

Outdoor Voices Rec Kit (starting at $100 at If you’ve bonded over running or yoga, outfit them with an athleisure set that goes from the gym to brunch. Pieces for men and women are available, and you can mix and match colors and styles.

For the person who doesn’t need anything

Whether they don’t have the real estate or they’ve read Marie Kondo a few too many times, some people don’t want more stuff. The solution is to give experiences and charitable gifts instead.

Seattle Art Museum Gift Membership (starting at $79 at Give the gift of art and culture with an art museum membership. Members get free admission, early access to tickets to big events, discounts at the café and store, and more.

Butter London Bloody Brilliant Color Treatment ($28 manicure, $45 pedicure at Butter London Nail Bar, South Lake Union). A little primping is a great gift, especially for someone who takes care of others more than herself. At Butter’s new Nail Bar location, she can get a 30-minute manicure or 45-minute pedicure with the local company’s luxe, long-lasting lacquers.

Pike Place Market Foundation Charm ($180 at Help them support one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks — and become a part of history — with a charm inscribed with their name that supports the Pike Place Market Foundation. The charms are hung from the fences around the new MarketFront, and a searchable database can help them find theirs.

Betsey Johnson Holiday Giving Kitty Ornament, $25; Shrill Society Woman In Power Tee, $29
Betsey Johnson Holiday Giving Kitty Ornament, $25; Shrill Society Woman In Power Tee, $29

For the do-gooder 

You = Me T-Shirt ($27 at This Sammamish-based company’s mission is to combat bigotry, racism and inequality, and its T-shirts are a gentle, classy reminder that we’re all in this together. Thirty percent of proceeds go to charities, including the NAACP and ACLU.

Shrill Society Woman In Power Tee ($29 at Not only will your recipient show how she feels in this 100 percent cotton tee, she’ll also be acting, with $10 from every purchase going to She Should Run, an organization working to getting more women into public office.

Pela Phone Case (starting at $29 at These simple phone cases are a cool accessory for those who care about protecting the earth. The company donates a portion of proceeds to charities, such as Save the Waves, and each case is 100 percent compostable with minimal, plastic-free packaging.

For a small group 

If you’re trying to keep your budget sane while shopping for co-workers or a big family, we’ve got you covered, with fab finds under $10.

Cairo Brick Phone Pin ($10 at Prism, Ballard, and Your team will get a kick out of this enamel pin featuring a throwback mobile phone (even if half of them hadn’t been born when it was invented).

Japanese Kit Kats (starting at $6 at Uwajimaya, International District). Rather than traditional Christmas cookies, give out jars of Matcha, Strawberry Ice Cream and Mint Kit Kats, imported from Japan. Stock up on these and other not-made-in-America candies to get all of your nieces and nephews just sugar-high enough to catch a glimpse of Santa.

Voluspa Vermeil Mini Tin Candle Set ($40 for five at Nordstrom). A gift-giving pro-tip for office workers: Buy a set and break it up. If you have a team that you wouldn’t necessarily call family, but you still want to show your gratitude, pick up this beautifully scented candle set and give one to each of your co-workers with a note of appreciation.