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The 29 most practical holiday gifts that everyone on your list will love

The best gift is a gift they’ll actually use on a regular basis.
Select editors share their favorite practical products from Amazon, Apple, Ninja, Lululemon, Leatherology and more.
Select editors share their favorite practical products from Amazon, Apple, Ninja, Lululemon, Leatherology and more. Wild One; W&P; Vivian Le / TODAY

While it’s the thought that counts, finding a holiday gift that someone will actually use elevates your gesture from sweet to unforgettable. Unless you know someone really well, it’s hard to know exactly what they’ll appreciate on an aesthetic level. Style is subjective, so if your gift of choice simply looks pretty (to you), it might end up shoved in the back of a closet or in a donation bin. The best practical gifts, on the other hand, actually make their lives easier, so it’s hard not to love and use them on a regular basis. 

SKIP AHEAD Fitness and recovery gifts | Tech gifts | Home gifts | Kitchen and foodie gifts | Self-care gifts | Outdoorsy gifts | Gifts for commuters

To curate a list of the most practical items around the internet, we enlisted the help of Select editors, who shared the products they love and use regularly to simplify their own lives. If you were too busy to shop this season or still have a few people to cross off your list, we also rounded up the best last-minute gifts to consider.

Selected.Our top picks

The most practical gifts in 2023

To help you please the pickiest people on your holiday shopping list, we curated a list of our favorite functional gifts from around the internet. The shopping categories vary to suit a range of recipients (we’ve included kitchen appliances, organization tools, beauty products, self-care items and more), but all of them are either Select editor favorites, products from brands we use and love or bestsellers from previous year’s gift guides. 

Fitness and recovery gifts

Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

The Zyllion massage pillow has earned an overall 4.5-star rating from almost 50,000 reviews on Amazon. The four Shiatsu nodes move in two directions to massage the head, neck or back, while the built-in warmer heats up to melt away tension. It plugs into any standard outlet but also comes with a car adapter so they can unwind on their commute.

Bala Bars Weighted Bars

Made from steel and wrapped in silicone, Bala Bars are weighted like dumbbells — but their grippy, pill-shaped design evenly distributes the weight while walking, or during strength training or high-intensity interval training. They weigh 3 pounds each, and every set of two comes in seven colors or patterns, each with its own matching carrying case.

Stakt Folding Yoga Mat

NBC Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin loves this folding yoga mat, which you can use for a variety of different workouts since it also functions as a block and a pad. It’s made from a non-porous foam material that’s .4 inches thick when extended, and weighs just 3 pounds for portability. Since it folds up into a rectangle, it’s easy to store in tight spaces. “I use this daily,” says Malin. “I fully unfold it while doing yoga, barre and pilates so I have a large padded space to workout, and when I’m strength training, I keep it folded to use as a platform. It’s the perfect gift for any fitness lovers.”

Lululemon Double Roller

Because of its unique two-in-one design, the Lululemon double roller is one of our 2023 Select Wellness Awards winners. The exterior has a ridged texture to massage your arms and legs, while its interior roller is best for relieving tension in your back . Both are made from dense but lightweight foam that travels easily. “It has a great amount of grippiness so I don’t slip or slide, and it has an adequate amount of cushioning so I don’t feel stiff when laying on it,” says NBC Select updates editor Mili Godio.

Theragun Mini Portable Treatment

The Theragun Mini is another one of our Wellness Awards winners and is one of the most useful gifts for any athlete in your life. Its percussive massager penetrates tense muscles and works out knots so your giftee can resolve cramps or tightness anywhere they go, according to the brand. It has a universal attachment that can accommodate three speeds and has up to 120 minutes of battery life, according to Therabody.  

Tech gifts

Apple AirTag

Everyone knows someone who’s constantly misplacing their stuff, but an Apple AirTag can help them locate their keys or wallet in no time. It syncs to their phone so they can prompt a noise from the built-in speaker — or they can track the location of their items like a runaway pet or a lost suitcase

Twelve South Ergonomic Laptop Stand

NBC Select editor Lindsay Schneider has and loves this ergonomic laptop stand, which raises your computer between 2 inches and 11 inches off your desk to create the ideal viewing angle. “It makes it so much more comfortable to work — I no longer feel myself hunching or slouching over my laptop,” she says. Its textured silicone and weighted base prevent slips and scratches, and it can support devices between 10 inches and 17 inches that weigh under 7 pounds, according to the brand.

JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker

The JBL Flip 6 is one of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market because of its clear sound quality, up to 12 hours of battery life and its dust- and water-resistance.  You can pair it with JBL speakers to create a comprehensive sound system at home, plus its companion app lets you adjust things like bass and other audio settings, according to the brand. Choose between several color options, including black, teal and pink. 

Courant Catch:3 Essentials

The Catch:3 combines a wireless charger with a catch-all tray to create a functional bedside or entryway table accessory. The Belgian linen fabric comes in four colors (camel, charcoal, natural or forest), and the weighted nonslip base keeps it in place. It can charge through most cases that are up to 3mm thick, plus it’s also QI-certified so you can charge any Qi-certified devices, wirelessly, according to the brand.

Home gifts

Dorai Home Bath Stone

A winner of our 2023 Bed & Bath Awards, this stone bath mat is made from a combination of algae and recycled paper, so it absorbs drips and dries almost instantly. “The smooth stone feeling makes me think I’m in a spa rather than my own bathroom,” says NBC Select editorial projects manager Rebecca Rodriguez. “Watching the stone dry almost instantly is so satisfying, and is so much better than having a shaggy bath mat trapping water and accumulating bacteria.”

Dusen Dusen Everybody Tissue Box Cover

Another one of Schneider’s favorites, this tissue box cover turns an everyday necessity into a work of art. Its plywood design plays with contrasting colors and movement to create a smiley face on each side. Since everyone needs a tissue from time to time, it’s the perfect practical gift for anyone who appreciates unique home decor.

Zafit Bedside Storage Organizer

This organizer keeps their essentials within reach even if they don’t have room for a side table. The caddy fits underneath a couch cushion or mattress and provides four pockets for their phone, remotes, charging cords, glasses and reading material. It comes in multiple color options and has a 4.5-star average rating from over 10,000 Amazon reviews.

Bloomscape Propagation Starter Set

Loving plants and successfully growing plants are two very different things. For the aspiring gardener, this Bloomscape propagation starter set makes the process easier. Each set comes with two vases and a tub of rooting hormone, which encourages a freshly cut stem or vine to start sprouting new roots. After a few weeks, your recipient will have a new plant without having to tend to seeds.

Kitchen and foodie gifts

Souper Cubes

Souper Cubes is one of the best food prep tools I ever bought, and I consistently use it to save and defrost single servings of tomato sauce. Since the tray is made from flexible silicone and each compartment holds up to one frozen cup of soup, sauce or cookie dough, you can pop out a smaller serving without disturbing the rest of your leftovers. It’s also oven-safe up to 415 degrees Fahrenheit, comes with a lid to prevent spills and has a 4.8-star average rating from over 15,000 reviews on Amazon.

Baggu Puffy Cooler Bag

Available in seven patterns, this Baggu cooler is a great gift for the beach lover, tailgating enthusiast, road-tripper, concert goer or picnic aficionado. Its puffy design is made from ripstop nylon with recycled polyfill inside, so it’s insulating but lightweight and portable, according to Baggu. Each one holds up to a dozen 12-ounce cans and has both a handle and an adjustable shoulder strap.

Boska Cheese Curler

Rather than letting your favorite chef struggle with a cheese grater, this kitchen tool uses its stainless steel knife and spinning handle to create thin cheese curls with minimal effort. It works best with cheese wheels, but also creates chocolate curls, too. That way, they can garnish their salads, appetizers and desserts like a pro. It has a 4.3-star rating from more than 900 reviews on Amazon.

Great Jones Sweet and Savory Baking Mats

Great Jones is a Select staff-favorite brand, and these cute but functional mats are a sustainable alternative to parchment paper. They’re an excellent gift for your favorite chef or baker because they’re made of oven-safe silicone material, which is reusable and easily washes clean, according to Great Jones. Each set includes two prints: one for savory foods and one for sweet desserts.

Bodum Latteo Manual Milk Frother

This manual frother, which has a 4.3-star rating from over 3,100 reviews on Amazon, can create an airy foam milk in under 30 seconds — without the need for batteries or plugs, according to the brand. It’s made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass, so you can use it to warm your milk in the microwave after frothing too, according to Bodum.

Cherry Measuring Spoons & Separator

Granted they look like cherries hanging from stems, these measuring spoons are a cute addition to anyone’s kitchen — but they’re also a functional tool for home chefs or bakers. Each set includes four spoons that measure full and half tablespoons and teaspoons, plus the leaf, which functions as an egg-white separator. “I always get asked about these when I use them,” says Schneider. “It’s the perfect marriage of function and design, plus they’re dishwasher-safe, which is a must in my book.”

GreenPan Mini Ceramic Nonstick Frypan

The highly rated GreenPan Mini, which has a 4.4-star rating from over 5,500 Amazon reviews, is the perfect essential for frequent home cooks. Its sand-derived ceramic coating is free from common toxic materials (like PFAS and PFOA), but it still has a nonstick surface for easy clean-up, according to the brand. This 5-inch pan also has a silicone-wrapped handle for a secure, burn-resistant grip and it’s oven-safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Hedley & Bennett Essential Aprons

With dozens of colors, patterns and collaborative designs to choose from, a Hedley & Bennett apron is perfect for any home chefs looking to upgrade their cooking game. The popular apron, which has a 4.9-star average rating from more than 3,000 reviews on Hedley & Bennett’s site, is machine washable and made from stain-resistant materials. For an additional cost, you can order an embroidered or monogrammed version to make it more special. 

Self-care gifts

Maxsoft Hair Scalp Massager Shampoo Brush

This shampoo brush, which has a 4.6-star average rating from nearly 90,000 reviews, makes a great stocking stuffer for wellness enthusiasts or anyone who loves scalp massages. Its silicone bristles work to stimulate blood flow, while working shampoo into a thick lather aims to give your recipient a deep clean, according to the brand. It’s also easy to hold thanks to its palm-shaped handle. Get it in light green, pink or purple.

Hey Dewy Rechargeable Skin-Nourishing Humidifier

Another one of Malin’s favorite products, this humidifier from Hey Dewy helps keep your loved one’s skin hydrated wherever they happen to be. Its rechargeable battery works for up to eight hours without wires, releasing a cool mist that maintains the moisture in their environment, according to the brand. It also comes in three matte-finished colors and has an LED night light. 

Dr. Squatch Avengers Collection

Instead of another action figure or poster, get the Marvel enthusiast in your life something they can actually use, like these soap bars. Each set includes four soaps and scrubs inspired by Marvel superheroes, which come in a collectors’ box. They’re made from a base of coconut oil, olive oil and shea butter and are free of synthetic preservatives or fragrances, according to Dr. Squatch.

Outdoorsy gifts

W&P Portable Insulated Ceramic Tumbler

This dishwasher-safe W&P tumbler has a  double-walled vacuum insulation that keeps coffee and tea hot (or chilled) for hours, according to the brand. Its splash-proof lid prevents spills and splashes, while its ceramic coating prevents unwanted tastes from seeping into beverages, according to W&P. Get it in four solid colors or three terrazzo patterns.

Wild One Dog Harness

For pet owners, this Wild One dog harness keeps their best friend safe and comfortable on walks. Experts and Select staff members say it’s one of the best dog harnesses since there’s three potential points of connection — at the neck area, lower back and chest — for personalized control.  Get it in four sizes, 12 solid colors and two contrasting color combinations.

Gifts for daily commuters

Stalwart Heated Car Blanket

For the person who’s always cold, this heated blanket makes getting into the car on a freezing winter morning significantly more tolerable. The 96-inch cord plugs into the cigarette lighter in cars, trucks and SUVs to reach all seats in most standard vehicles, according to the brand. The bestselling item has a 4.4-star rating from 8,707 reviewers, and it comes in five color options, including patterned ones.

Cuyana Oversized Double Loop Bag

NBC editorial director Lauren Swanson loves this oversized bag, which combines the style of a classic shoulder purse with the functionality of a shopping tote. Its loop handle and Italian leather exterior (in your choice of five colors) make it perfect for a daily commute. Since it’s big enough to hold a 13-inch laptop, has accessible side storage for your phone and automatically clasps closed with a magnet, according to Cuyana, it’s a practical gift they’ll use constantly. 

Leatherology Slim Card Case

Help the minimalist in your life simplify things even further with this slim card case from Leatherology. It has four card slots and a center pocket for cash and like most of the brand’s selection, it’s made from leather in your choice of several colors and textures. You can even deboss the exterior with their initials to create a personalized gift.

Why trust Select?

Maria Cassano is a writer, editor and consultant who specializes in E-commerce. Since the start of her product-writing career in 2016, she’s written hundreds of gift guides for Bustle, Elite Daily, Mic, Allure and Food & Wine. To find the most practical gift ideas, Cassano sourced editor favorite items, products from brands we’ve previously covered or bestsellers from previous year’s gift guides.

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