Alternative Gift Ideas
For The Person Who Has Everything

Smart, alternative gift ideas to please
people who are impossible to shop for,
whatever their interests - or your budget.

I can remember the frustration of trying to tease a gift idea out of my grandmother, and still hear her replying, “Give me a kiss – I won’t have to dust it!” Well, there are lots of alternative gift ideas more tangible than a kiss. Here are some suggestions:

= Has it:


money bagEveryone – including the person who has everything - uses up certain items, so they will always have a use for consumables. Here are some fun and useful consumable gift ideas:

  • roll of postage stamps with a box of note paper and/or a nice pen
  • mansion
  • regional foods or products not easily available near your recipient’s home
  • big sack of birdseed in a covered metal bucket
  • wall or desk calendar, planner portfolio with pad and pen
  • box of score pads for participant's favorite game or sport
  • membership in museum, auto club, etc. (or extend one they have)
  • subscription to magazine or newspaper (or extend an existing one)
  • butler
  • certificate to a hair salon, in a basket of favorite hair care products
  • international phone card for person with friends living abroad
  • certificate for a car wash, wax and detailing – “the works”

Consumable gift ideas can be given in quantities, or embellished, according to modest or more generous gift budgets. Use your imagination!


big screen TVAlmost every 'person who has everything' is a collector of something. If not, an alternative gift idea is to get your recipient started on a collection related to his or her interests. Do some research to discover those interests, and to learn what sorts of collectibles are available. A great side benefit is that you’ll have gift ideas for this person for years to come!

Or you can add to an existing collection (easier if your recipient collects paperweights than vintage autos!), or look for gift ideas that have some relevance to the collection:

  • book about the item, or a related historical event or person
  • journal-style calendar with illustrations and facts on the topic
  • beach and cruise ship
  • accessory for the whole collection or for one of its pieces
  • storage or display unit (album, case, stand, frame, fancy shelf)
  • gift certificate to a shop carrying the item and/or accessories
  • subscription to a collector’s magazine
  • tickets to a convention or hobby show related to the collection

Things They Won't Do For (or By) Themselves

camperAmong the best alternative gift ideas are items that recipients don’t purchase for themselves, or experiences they might not wish to pursue alone:

  • send gift-of-the-month gourmet treats, fruit or flowers
  • take recipient for a helicopter or hot air balloon ride
  • go scuba diving, kayak or whitewater outing
  • sailboat
  • have a star named after him or her
  • pair of tickets to a play or concert
  • pair of tickets to a sports event
  • take recipient on a whale watch
  • take recipient to a nearby museum or historic site – too many people never get around to visiting important places right in their own back yards! (For years I lived an hour’s drive from New York City but never visited the Bronx Zoo, the Statue of Liberty, or Ellis Island.)

private planeTaking a different approach to the person who has everything, A Charity Gift Gives Twice discusses another thoughtful, alternative gift idea.

It's easy to assume, just because your recipient doesn't seem to need anything, that an inexpensive gift idea will be inappropriate. Not so! We have gathered some ingenious suggestions at Affordable Gift Ideas. One of them may be just what you're looking for!

You'll think of the best alternative gift ideas
when you put yourself in your recipients' shoes
and consider the kinds of things they enjoy.

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Other graphics courtesy of Microsoft.