Partners, kids, family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances — once the gift-giving season is upon you, it can get overwhelming to come up with gift ideas for everyone. But don’t worry; these gift recommendation sites will help you find the best ideas for presents that will be loved and appreciated.
In this article, we have selected gift guides where the recommendations come from A.I. bots and real humans. Each has its own merits, of course. But we’ve also stayed away from online retailers or specialty gift-giving stores, which are still some of the best places to find gifts on a budget.
1. Outdone (Web): AI-Powered Gift Recommendations From Handpicked Brands
Outdone is a gift recommendation engine powered by artificial intelligence to find the right present for the right person. It’ll ask you a series of questions about the recipient, such as their hobbies, likes and dislikes, usual style, etc. Unlike many other such engines, Outdone lets you select multiple options where applicable, so it’s not like you’re filtering out some types of gifts by your choices.
In the end, you’ll get a few recommendations based on brand partners. This is Outdone’s USP, as the site hand-picks brands that are known for quality and a positive mission. Even in the questions, you’ll be asked about preferred philosophy choices like sustainable brands, women-led businesses, etc.
If you don’t want to go through the recommendation engine, you can also browse Outdoor’s entire collection of brands and products. Search for any word and then use the several filters in the results to narrow down what you want. You can sort by gender, category (clothing, food and beverages, subscriptions, travel, games, jewelry, etc.), and company values (climate neutral certified, female-led, made in the USA, Certified B, 1% for the planet).
2. WTF Do They Want (Web): Quirky Quiz to Find a Gift for the Recipient’s Personality
WTF Do They Want (WTFDTW) is a quirky and humorous way to find gift ideas and suggestions through a fun quiz about the recipients. The series of fun questions break from the norm of other recommendation engines by including things like what their role would be in a zombie outbreak. For example, if you’re shopping for a coworker, one of the questions is what’s the most likely reason the coworker was late for work, with answers like hungover, overslept, family responsibilities, superstition, or they would never be late.
At the end of the quiz, WTFDTW assigns a personality type for the recipient and recommends a series of gifts. You can filter these gifts by price, include/exclude NSFW ideas and Amazon Prime items, and sort the list by best match, popularity, price, or newest additions. If you register for WTFDTW, you can also save gifts for later in the “gift lists” section.
Of course, you don’t have to go through the quiz to look at all of WTFDTW’s gift recommendations. You can explore gifts by category (popular, unique, free / DIY, affordable), occasion (Christmas, Hanukkah, anniversary, retirement, white elephant), and personality (fun, chill, nerdy, romantic, aesthetic, sentimental, practical).
3. Small Gifts (Web): 300+ Gift Ideas for Small Items and Stocking Stuffers
Sometimes, it’s easier to know what gift to buy for your partner or family since you know their likes and dislikes. But it’s harder to find gifts to buy for people you don’t know well, but are obligated to get a present. Usually, these are small gifts for co-workers, staff, helpers, and so on. Instead of scratching your head for ideas, head to Small Gifts for a curated selection of such gift ideas.
The website currently has over 300 gift recommendations, with most of them averaging around $25. The items are hand-picked by the site manager and actually feel like good quality products rather than the Amazon affiliate-baiting ideas you see on most such gift aggregators.
It’s all laid out in a lovely interface to browse, almost like a public Pinterest list, where you see a picture of the product, its price, and a short description. You can save items for later and sort them by categories like luxury, nerd, last-minute, under $25, kids, fitness, sustainable, etc. There are a few expensive items too, but those are rare, and you’ll mostly find the type of item that serves as a small and thoughtful gift without breaking the bank.
4. Reddit’s Gift Idea Lab (Web): Ask Strangers for Gift Ideas and Suggestions
You’re giving gifts to a human being, so it somehow feels right to ask other humans for suggestions rather than bots or AI. Since 2018, the community at r/GiftIdeas is helping people figure out what gift to get someone when you’re stuck for ideas.
When you want to ask for help from Reddit’s Gift Idea Lab, you’ll need to be clear with your parameters. Put actual budgets in numbers, add as much context as you can about your situation, and describe the recipient’s personality and needs as well as you can. The more details you give, the more responses you’ll receive from the community.
Because r/GiftIdeas doesn’t allow affiliate links, you can be sure that the suggestions from people don’t have any ulterior motives. If you want to just browse for past ideas, you can filter the posts by flair. There’s also a custom flair to get gift ideas for Secret Santa.
And yes, if you get a suggestion and it’s received well, share your success and reactions on the subreddit. Gratitude is the juice that powers this community.
5. Gift Guides by Wirecutter and Strategist (Web): The Best Expert-Recommended Gifts
The Wirecutter by the New York Times and The Strategist by New York Magazine have both earned a reputation for giving trustworthy recommendations for online shopping. Their teams painstakingly research a variety of products before putting together expert-backed lists of what you should and shouldn’t buy. And both these sites put out excellent gift guides at the end of the year.
The Strategist breaks gift guides into different sections like “for him”, “for her”, best holiday gifts for everyone that do some good, subscription box ideas, and so on. We especially loved the “Best gifts for cheapskates” section, a tongue-in-cheek look at ideas for presents that cost less than $25 but are still useful and non-boring.
The Wirecutter has four pages full of articles on gift-giving ideas, covering all your expected needs. It largely breaks the guides by the recipient’s age and type of relationship, but there are several other gift guides for specific interests. You especially need to check out the 100 most popular gift picks as recommended by their staff.
Don’t Forget to Make It Personal
With this variety of tools to find the perfect gift, you will be done with your shopping in no time. But while these sites are making it easy to find the gift, you should still spend some time to add a personal touch somehow. While gifts are material exchanges, you need to preserve the human connection.