It's that time of year again: Bells are ringing, children are singing and you should probably be buying gifts for all your family members soon. You've brainstormed for hours, but perhaps the creative juices just aren't flowing after all these years of holiday gift-giving.
Gift-giving is notoriously difficult and stressful, even for those whom you know well and love. Luckily, there still are novel, interesting gifts out there for everyone from your daughter-in-law who seems to already own everything to your second cousin who always seems to be using new technology. Here are a few ideas:
While some online gift services leave your loved one a generic fruit bouquet or a bundle of socks they'll never wear, Stitch Fix takes online personalization to a new realm: wardrobes. After an initial style quiz where you can set your budget, size and style preferences, a Stitch Fix personal stylist will curate and send you a "fix" of five pieces (clothing, shoes and accessories) that fit your unique style.
After a $20 styling fee, which can be applied to the price of any item you decide to buy, you can try everything on and decide which items you'd like to keep. There are no upfront payments, and returns are free.
If you don't know the lucky gift recipient's size or style preferences, Stitch Fix also offers gift cards. This is a great option for anyone from the family fashionista to the uncle who rotates through the same four button-downs each week.
Consumer DNA testing has been all the rage lately. Fortune reported that, this past Thanksgiving, "23andMe spit-and-send test kits ranked among the top-5 best-sellers on Amazon."
According to the 23andMe website, after you purchase one of their kits, you just take a saliva collection test at home, ship the kit back to the 23andMe lab and wait for your comprehensive results, available after six to eight weeks. Results will reveal your genetic health risks, your carrier status for inherited conditions, your ancestry and your traits, such as how your DNA influences your facial features and your senses of taste and smell.
The Ancestry Service goes for $99, and the Health + Ancestry Service goes for $199.
*TaoTronics Bluetooth Earphones
A lot more affordable than $160 Airpods, these Bluetooth earphones sell for less than $30 on Amazon and come in a variety of colors. They come with different earpiece sizes to ensure they stay snug in your ears. The backs of the earphones are magnetic, so you can connect them and keep them around your neck while you're not using them.
The battery is rechargeable, and a full charge allows for five hours of continuous play time. These headphones are a perfect gift for your niece who likes to listen to music while she jogs and for anyone else you know who still uses corded earphones and could use a wireless update. Get these for convenient, high-quality audio that doesn't break the bank!
*Mobile Photo Printer
Nowadays, smartphones have largely taken over the role of DSLR and compact cameras. While it's wonderful and convenient that so many smartphone users now store their images on the cloud, this means that fewer and fewer people are actually printing out photos to enjoy and share.
Mobile photo printers make this process easy -- instead of going to the local drugstore to print out photos, you can now print them straight from your smartphone's camera roll or your social media accounts, all from the comfort of your own home.
A few good options include the HP Sprocket ($130 on Amazon), the Kodak Instant Photo Printer ($140 from Urban Outfitters) and the Polaroid Zip ($100 on Amazon).
Perfect for your favorite world traveler, Away brand luggage has become the "it" luggage of today. The New York City-based travel and lifestyle brand was founded in 2015. With sleek and minimalist travel products, Away prides itself on its motto: "First class luggage at a coach price."
These durable suitcases, available in six different sizes, feature a built in, ejectable battery to charge your phone (up to five charges), interior compartments (one for clothes and one for harder items like shoes and toiletries) and 360-degree rotating wheels. The suitcases' outer shells are strong yet light, with the smallest carry-on size weighing in at only seven pounds ($225 on Awaytravel.com).
*Anker Astro E1 Portable Battery Pack
Smartphone users are all too familiar with the panic that comes when they're on the road and their phone battery percentage starts to plummet. If your gift recipient doesn't already own one, a portable rechargeable battery pack can be the perfect gift to combat a mediocre smartphone battery life.
Its ultra-small size is comparable to the size of a candy bar, and it holds enough juice to power an Apple or Android phone one to two times. It sells for $19.99 on Amazon. This holiday season, save your loved ones from the frustrations of a dead smartphone and the constant search for the nearest power outlet.