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10 Bad-Rap Gifts that are Actually Great

12/4/17 by Matt Wastradowski

Just about everyone knows the feeling of unwrapping a gift on Christmas morning and finding something less than exciting. You don’t want to be ungrateful, but at the same time, what are you going to do with *another *pair of white socks or underwear? The truth of the matter is, it can be tough to give good gifts.

But this holiday season, don’t be afraid to take risks with those seemingly innocuous gifts. Even when they don’t feature the latest and greatest technology or the flashiest gizmos, some of the most memorable gift ideas can have the biggest impact.

Here are 10 bad-rap gift ideas that your friend or loved one will be thrilled to receive—whether they know it or not.

1. ExOfficio Sport Mesh Underwear

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Underwear has come a long way since you were a kid. ExOfficio

This list wouldn’t be complete without *everyone’s *least favorite childhood holiday gift: underwear. But rather than an embarrassing pack of tighty-whiteys, we’re recommending underwear they’ll actually enjoy wearing: ExOfficio Sport Mesh underwear, available for men and women.

The collection is available in several cuts, fits, and styles, but the common thread connecting each piece is an attention to comfort for the modern athlete. Each piece is made from an ultralight mesh that offers breathability and comfort in the midst of grueling workouts, sports an antimicrobial treatment that reduces unpleasant odors, and prevents chafing with a smooth waistband.

2. First Aid Kit

We get it: No one will cry tears of joy after unwrapping a portable first aid kit.

But if they’re avid travelers or outdoor enthusiasts, they’ll be glad to have it when they need it the most. Small enough to fit into a backpack, most first aid kits contain hundreds of supplies that can be useful (or life-saving!) in a pinch—including bandages, pain relief medicine, antiseptics, clean pads, burn relief tools, emergency blankets, thermometers, and more. Whatever inconvenience they experience out there, they’ll be happy to have a first aid kit.

3. Travel Journal

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Writing about your adventure in a journal can be a great way to remember your favorite moments. Carli Jeen

Who among us *hasn’t *bought a travel journal, only for it to languish at the bottom of a suitcase all vacation long?

You Are Here: A Mindful Travel Journal encourages a more thoughtful approach to travel journaling, which usually ends up in you actually using it. Emma Clarke's guide doesn’t just offer blank pages for scribbling stray thoughts on this morning’s breakfast or the afternoon’s museum visit; the journal invites travelers to view their journeys through a thoughtful lens with various prompts. Some of those ask travelers to write about the sights, sounds, and smells outside their window, while others ask writers to brainstorm their hopes, goals, and must-do experiences for their trip.

4. Monthly Subscription Box or Service

Remember when Clark Griswold freaked out after receiving a Jelly of the Month Club subscription in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Sure, Clark had hoped for a sizeable Christmas bonus, but has anyone ever been excited to receive a monthly subscription?

Actually, yes.

These days, monthly subscriptions are all the rage. Maybe you found your new favorite TV show binge on Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix. Perhaps you found a new favorite dish with help from Try the World, a food subscription box that showcases cuisine from around the globe, or found the perfect trail food with help from Naturebox, which prides itself on delicious snacks. You might have even found inspiration for your next outdoor adventure with Cairn.

Whether you’re gifting one of more than 2,000 subscription boxes or another monthly service, the recipient will appreciate the variety, sense of surprise, and personalized offerings that come with each.

5. ExOfficio BugsAway® Sol Cool™Quarter Socks

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Yes, we’re suggesting you give socks this holiday season. ExOfficio

ExOfficio’s stylish BugsAway® Sol Cool™Quarter Sock (available for men and women) aren’t just any socks. Available in four sleek patterns, the socks use a jade-infused fiber blend that’s cool to the touch, and its toe-panel ventilation offers superior breathability. Whether they’re going for a quick run, tackling a challenging day hike, or lounging around the hotel, the BugsAway® Sol Cool™Quarter Sock stands up to whatever their travels have in store.

That includes pesky critters, as well. The sock is treated with Insect Shield®, which protects against ants, flies, ticks, mosquitoes, and other common pests. Honestly, we’d understand if you splurged on a pair for yourself.

6. Cast-Iron Skillet

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Cast-iron skillets are great for putting together creative camp meals. Hans Vivek

Few items inspire cultish devotion quite like a cast iron skillet. (Well, other than Game of Thrones.) Ask any devotee, and you’ll hear a variety of testaments to the cookware’s excellence: The cast iron lasts for decades, it makes a fun addition to any camping trip, and the skillet helps create mouth-watering cuisine.

That might sound like hyperbole to the uninitiated, but your friend or loved one will finally understand after unwrapping one themselves. Grab a pre-seasoned skillet for tastier cuisine, and rely on the cast iron’s even heating to make delicious cobbler, pizza, casseroles, meat-forward entrees, and other dishes in the oven, on the stovetop, or over the campfire.

7. Adult Coloring Book

As far as fads go, adult coloring books feel like the "in" thing to do right now.

But the meditative activity also makes long flights and never-ending road trips a bit more bearable for people of all *ages. As the popularity of adult coloring books exploded in recent years, publishers have churned out titles where budding artists can color in city skylines, freewheeling designs, natural settings, and more—so you’re sure to find a thoughtful book for whoever’s on your list. *

8. Batteries

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Batteries don’t usually come to mind as a great present, but they’re a perfect stocking stuffer. Bruce Guenter

It doesn’t matter who you’re shopping for: Chances are good they’ll need a pack of batteries this holiday season.

Shopping for parents of young children? They’ll appreciate powering their little one’s favorite toys without making a trip to the store. If you’re shopping for a diehard sports fan, they’ll love having a pack of AA or AAA batteries when the remote control dies. And who hasn’t been haunted by a methodically-beeping smoke alarm in the middle of the night?

Campers and travelers can always use additional batteries as well. Lanterns, flashlights, personal water misters, and alarm clocks provide a bit of comfort on the road, and each usually requires some kind of battery power.

9. Electronics and Accessories Travel Case

At first glance, an electronics and accessories travel case—like this AmazonBasics case—seems more like a white elephant gift than anything you’d give to a friend or loved one.

But the case makes life infinitely easier for jet-setting travelers who’re always scrounging around their bag for various electronics. With a durable shell and plenty of space, the case provides rugged protection and convenient storage for cameras, phones, memory cards, adapters, cords, and other essential accessories.

10. Cash or Gift Card

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When all else fails, cash or gift cards are always a solid choice. Jimi Filipovski

It sounds like an unimaginative cop-out, but you know what? Deep down, we’d all be happy with a few extra dollars over the holiday season.

Don’t believe us? A 2011 study conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business found that recipients appreciated cash more than whatever had been on their holiday wish list—even though givers figured cash would be the least appreciated gift.

Whoever you’re trying to please, they’ll appreciate buying what they really want or need—at a price they feel comfortable paying.

If you know their favorite store, but maybe not their size or particular style, a gift card is another option that works just as well.

Originally written by RootsRated for ExOfficio.