Red car wrapped in a bow

Everyone struggles with finding the right gifts for the right recipients, so we’ve got some great ideas for you.

A perfect gift displays thought and is something the recipient would never have bought for themselves. This is normally taken to mean an indulgence they’d normally never treat themselves to, but it’s even better when the present is something they’d never had thought of but afterwards can’t live without.

We’ve collected five fantastic items you can buy for just about anyone…or put on your wish list when anyone embarrassingly asks, “So, what do you want this year?”

1. Time

The “tasteful timepiece” is infamous as the comically thoughtless gift, but that’s because it’s usually issued at retirement where it really is more tactless than a “Babe 3: Bacon Burger” DVD. You give someone the gift of time when they still have things to do, and you help them by offering something more than a simple clock.

Beautiful Brass Hourglass

Beautiful Brass Hourglass

An hourglass isn’t just beautiful; it’s an excellent way to track productivity without distracting yourself. The user sets themselves tasks for the next hour and flips the glass. They then have a soft sense of the passage of time without the distraction of constantly calculating the minutes. “47:32″ is a distraction and you stress at how much you still have to do. Flowing sand reminds you that time is passing and you should get on with it.

This hourglass is available from River City Clocks, but remember to shop smart: the same clock from the same company costs half as much on Amazon!

(Bonus: For friends whose time is wasted by others in meetings, the Time Is Money clock is an excellent choice.)

2. The PowerMonkey Classic

You have to understand that we’re all living on life-support: sure, we could survive without electronic assistance, but our lives are utterly dependent on all our gadgetry. So, save a friend’s life with the PowerMonkey Classic!

Powermonkey Classic

Powermonkey Classic

It’s the perfect present for the friend who travels. The lightweight battery pack can recharge other gadgets several times before needing to be plugged in itself, and it’s the sort of thing people desperately need when they need it, but think, “Nah, I’ll just charge more often.” Save them the pain!

3. Smart Pack

Everyone understands that we have to break the vicious cycle of socks and shaving kits, but what can you get someone that they’ll actually use? What do they really need? Well, unless they’re using the Force, they definitely need to carry things. Make that smarter for them with some smart backpacks.

Stylish Setgo Transport

Stylish Setgo Transport

The Setgo Transport is a particularly cool option, for both the city student almost surgically attached to their iPod and the businessman who already has a briefcase but hates how the BlackBerry ruins the lines of his suit.

4. The Ultimate Coffee

We’ve been looking at productivity and function instead of fun and indulgence, but why not do all four things at once? Anyone who drinks this will need at least twenty to keep their hyperaccelerated brain busy! The Black Blood Of The Earth is an awe-inspiring extraction, and is to coffee what the Hoover Dam is closing a tap.

Black Blood Coffee

Coke can included only to show scale (and to be humiliated by the far superior drink)

The well-named Funranium Labs (suggesting both entertainment and apocalyptic danger) offer a range of gift–giving options for this incomparable übercoffee. A single bottle will set you back about sixty dollars, but you (or your friends) won’t find the like anywhere else on the planet.

5. The RC Cooler

We’d never encourage such mercenary behavior, but a truly smart gift would be one you can enjoy too — and the RC Cooler is exactly that. As one of our favorite game savers, this adds incredible remote-controlled fun to any match day, while removing the need to so much as stand up while drinking. And who can put a price on such luxury? Or the look on your friend’s face when they see what they’ve got?

RC Cooler

RC Cooler

It’s the ultimate combination of fun, toy, 8-year old boy, adult pleasures, and “I love this and would never in a million years have bought it for myself.

Image credit: mevans / iStockphoto

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