Birthday Gift Ideas for Someone You Don't Know Well

It’s a new acquaintance’s birthday, and you want to give a gift but just don’t know what to come up with. What does the person like? How small or large of a gift is appropriate? How can you give a thoughtful gift without knowing the person well? Thankfully, you can hit on a winning gift no matter how well you know the recipient. Take advantage of these gift ideas for people you are just getting to know.

Personalize It

Have you been invited to a new friend’s birthday party? Never fear. Monogrammed items make great gifts for friends you don’t really know – all you need is at least one letter initial to get you started. For him, try a monogrammed beer mug or money clip. For her, go for a monogrammed tote bag or a stylish first-initial necklace.

Give an Outing

Welcome someone who is new to the area with a gift card to a local hotspot, such as a favorite restaurant or a top comedy club. Those who seem fit or active may be interested in a gift card that brings an experience, such as kayaking at a nearby bay or a cycling tour. Anyone, especially those with a busy lifestyle, might enjoy a relaxing manicure at your favorite salon or a one-time yoga class at a top-rated studio.

Handmade Treats

Handmade birthday gifts don’t have to be crafty. Trade a painted picture frame for a basket of homemade bread. Bake a hearty loaf of whole-grain bread, sourdough, or marble rye. Or, try your hand at quick breads made from bananas, carrots, or zucchini. Add some colorful cloth napkins for a special touch.

Gifts From a Group

When a neighbor or co-worker has a birthday, it’s a good time to celebrate. Get everyone on the street or the office involved, and throw a potluck surprise party. For the “gift,” have everyone bring a favorite main dish or salad, and take contributions for fancy birthday cupcakes.

Gifts That Give Back

Charitable donations make great birthday gift ideas for people you barely know. You can either make a donation to a charity like the United Way in someone’s name, or you can buy products from companies that donate part of the proceeds to charity. Think good-smelling soaps from Hand in Hand or colorful socks from Conscious Step.

Melt Away Stress

You don’t have to know someone well to understand that they would likely appreciate a birthday gift that promotes relaxation. Almost everyone does. For her, try a silk eye pillow infused with the scent of lavender. For him, consider a wire scalp massager.

A Little Whimsy

Small trinkets that are fun and funny can bring a smile to almost anyone’s face. For that new female coworker, try a set of magnets or pencils inscribed with quirky quotes and bundled up in colorful wrap and ribbon. To inject a little whimsy into a new male friend’s life, try crew socks featuring bicycles, guitars, tacos, or superheroes. Tip: Steer clear of gag gifts that inspire groans instead of smiles.

Play Favorites

When you need gift ideas for men you barely know or women you just met, be on the lookout for something that clues you in to their favorite things. For example, your neighbor’s beautiful roses could mean that she’d love some gardening gloves or a new pruner. Notice your boss biking to work? Then a gift-wrapped pair of cycling gloves may be just the thing.

Whether you need a birthday gift for your boss’s wife or your child’s coach, relax. Buying gifts for people you don’t really know doesn’t have to be difficult. The tried and true saying still rings true – it’s the thought that counts, and we hope these ideas inspire you to put that extra touch of thoughtfulness into whatever gift you choose.

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