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Unique Gift Ideas

Gift Giving Outside the Box

Many people enjoy giving gifts as much as getting them and it's the most fun when the recipient is pleasantly surprised by something totally unexpected. If you're on the hunt for something out of the ordinary -- a unique gift your loved one, friend or colleague won't soon forget -- you've come to the right place. Put the wow factor in your next gift giving event with these ideas.

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Himalayan Salt Shot Glasses

Any tequila connoisseur is sure to love Himalayan salt shot glasses carved from high quality food-grade pink Himalayan salt. The rock salt has a beautiful quartz-like appearance, making the glasses worthy of displaying on a hutch or shelf when not in use. Even more impressive than their look is what these glasses add to the tequila that's poured into them -- a nice salty finish. Just don't let the tequila sit too long, as the longer it sits, the saltier it gets.

Salt is naturally antibacterial, so a quick wipe with a smooth cloth is all that is needed to clean the glasses after use. Don't put them in the dishwasher; they might start to erode. Himilayan salt shot glasses are sold in a set of four.

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Glowing Onyx Lamp

This beautiful Glowing Onyx Lamp from Ten Thousand Villages will certainly brighten someone's day when it's received as a gift. While it's a rare stone most other places, onyx is found abundantly in Pakistan, where enormous slabs are cut up and divided into smaller workable chunks. The rock, with earthy color bands of green, brown and white, is carved and polished by local artisans who transform it into stunning figurines, vases and sculptures.

The translucent quality of the stone makes it an unusual and luxurious material for a lamp. Perfect for a mood enhancing accent light and an unexpected gift item, the stone lamp fits beautifully in rustic, eclectic and modern minimalist design styles.

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LED Showerhead

While bathroom hardware might not show up on too many gift wish lists, this easy to install showerhead is likely to be a hit once it gets used. DreamSpa's water temperature color changing 5-setting LED showerhead brings a touch of luxury to any shower at an affordable price.

No tools are needed to install the showerhead which connects to any standard overhead shower arm. The LED lights are powered by the water and last up to 10 years even with daily use. Color settings change with the water temperature, from the coolest blue to flashing red hot.

The DreamSpa showerhead makes an excellent housewarming gift, especially for families with kids, who may find the chore of bathing more fun with colorful lights. The light color can also help indicate when the shower is at a comfortable temperature for a kid to step into -- most will probably find green as the comfort zone.

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Brightly Colored Air Plants

No worries if your friend or loved one has a brown thumb with most typical indoor houseplants. These amazing little Ionantha air plants arrive in a perky hue of green but then burst into color two to three times a year when in bloom. This set of five Tillandsia Ionantha air plants includes varieties such as Ionantha Mexican and Ionanthan Scaposa, among others.

Air plants love to hang out with a few decorative pebbles, sand or shells in delicate glass orbs and they are quite happy when snuggly tucked into a crevice in a piece of wood or stone. Put them in a shallow wooden tray or bowl with some Spanish moss for an earthy, organic display. Attaching the plant to a crystal formation to create a mineral garden is another clever idea and makes a stunning gift presentation.

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Tibetan Singing Bowl

For a friend or family member suffering from any type of physical ailment, consider a gift of spiritual well-being such as a Tibetan Meditation Singing Bowl With Mallet. Tibetan singing bowls have been used for healing and meditation for centuries. It is believed the vibrational resonance created by the ringing tones of the bowl helps synchronize brain waves into a state of deep meditation, creative thinking and intuitive messages. Think of it as good vibrations that resonate with the body and mind on both a cellular and spiritual level.

These beautiful metal bowls come in eight different colors. If you know your recipient's favorite color, it's an easy choice or you can use color psychology to help pick a spiritual color like purple, a tranquil color like blue, a revitalizing color like green, or a cheerful, uplifting color like yellow. The Tibetan Buddhist Prayer for peace " OM MANI PADME HUM" is etched in gold on the outside of the bowl.

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Nest Egg Necklace

A handmade item makes the best sentimental gift, even if it comes from the hand of an artisan. On Mother's Day, surprise your mom or your wife with the Nest Egg Necklace by Trudy James. While it may look like an ordinary silver locket on the outside, inside the bottom piece you'll find a textured copper finish that brings to mind a birds nest. It also holds up to four Amazonite beads that appear similar to blue Robin's eggs. Each delicate egg represents one of her children.

Share a few interesting beliefs about Amazonite when you present this gift to Mom. Amazonite is thought to have incredible healing abilities and when worn on the throat chakra, it can enhance communications concerning love in one's life.

DIY Fairy Lights

Give a gift of magical ambience with DIY mason jar fairy lights. These self-illuminated jars can be placed anywhere around the home where the soft glow of accent lighting is desired to enhance an inviting atmosphere. You only need a few simple materials to create these glowing jars:

  • Mason jars with lids
  • Clear packing tape
  • Battery-operated LED fairy lights on wire
  • Ribbon (optional)

The process for putting them together couldn't be simpler. Insert the wire lights into the mouth of the jar. Tape the battery pack to the lid of the jar, making sure to leave the on and off switch uncovered and fully functional. Tie a pretty ribbon around the neck of the jar to help further disguise the battery pack. That's it. In a matter of minutes, you'll have as festive accent light or a set of them ready to wrap as handmade gifts.

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Rose Quartz Platter

A magnificent silver gilded edge makes this Rose Quartz Platter a truly stunning gift for anyone who enjoys entertaining at home. Made from rare Brazilian rose quartz, potential fissures, striations, and variation in color give each platter a unique, one-of-a-kind quality. Make beautiful presentations with hors d'oeuvres or fine wine and artisanal cheeses. Rubber feet installed on the bottom of the platter protect both the luxurious stone and the household surfaces it's placed on.

When not in use, the Rose Quartz Platter makes a lovely display item placed in a platter stand atop a kitchen cabinet or on a hutch, buffet or sideboard. Use it on a bar cart as decorative base for some of the finest shot glasses or stemware.

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Cloud Light

You won't find another light like the Cloud Light, as each one is made to order from sustainably harvested botanical fibers, which are hand sculpted into puffy, billowy clouds. Inside, a single low voltage LED light emits a soft glow through the fibrous material. Cloud lights come in two sizes, large and small, and are suspended from the ceiling from a single clear strand of nylon wire, making them appear to hover or float in space.

These dreamy little lights make a perfect gift for a baby shower or a kid's birthday. They also make an interesting accent light in an art studio, classroom, home office or a room layered in various shades of white, off white and gray. Not only can cloud lights brighten dark spots in a room, their fluff softens harsh lines, hard surfaces, and sharp corners.

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Pyropet Candle

The Pyropet cat candle is a big hit with customers who bought one for themselves and then came back to buy more as gifts. Standing at 6.5 inches tall, the candle has substantial size and weight. The geometric design of the animal makes it look like a modern art sculpture. However, what makes this candle really unique is the transformation that occurs once it is burned. As the wax melts away, a metal skeleton is revealed underneath.

The cat's name is Kisa and she comes in pink or gray. Other Pyropets available include a bird, a rabbit and a deer, all which have a hidden aluminum skeleton frame inside.

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Pendaform Tailgate Pong

If you have a buddy, a boyfriend or a husband who drives a truck and loves the game of beer pong, you may have just found him the perfect gift -- Pendaform tailgate pong. This heavy-duty tailgate liner installs in just 10 minutes and features a triangular formation of formed cupholders on each side. With the drop of a tailgate, a beer pong game can be set up in a matter of minutes and then it's game on!

There are four versions of Pendaform tailgate pong will fit the following truck make and models General Motors trucks from 2014-15, General Motors full-size trucks from 2004 to 2014, Ford F150s from 2004 to 2014, and Ford F150s from 2015.

Get free shipping when you order this gift online by having it shipped to a local Cabela's store in your area, which can save you around $13 or more. If you need a beer pong liner for a Chevrolet truck, check resale websites.

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Sheepskin Bean Bag

A beanbag chair itself is nothing out of the ordinary but Parker Wool's Sheepskin bean bag takes this casual chair design to a whole new level of luxury. A covering of super soft and plush sheepskin allows one to sink into ultimate comfort. The chair is available in four different natural colors of white, beige, gray and black, each with its own lustrous sheen.

Sheepskin bean bag chairs come in two sizes: 3 feet long and wide and 6 feet long and wide. The 6 foot chairs are made to order and delivery can take up to 90 to 120 days. If you're ordering a large one for a gift, do it three to four months in advance.

Parker Wool only uses ethically sourced hides as byproducts of the meat industry, so no animal was harmed simply for its skin.

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Mewgaroo Pet Holder Hoodie

No cat lover should be without this adorable piece of apparel: Women's Mewgaroo Pet Holder Hoodie. As if it wasn't cute enough with the pointy cat ears sewn onto the hood and paw print patterns at the end of each sleeve, a large front pocket sewn onto the front serves as a cozy pouch for a furry little friend. The strings for the hood even have large pom-poms on the end to give kitty something to play with.

Imported from Japan, the hoodie comes in three women's sizes: Medium (8-10), Large (12-14), and X-Large (16-18).

Choose from black or gray and don't forget about your friends with small dogs who may appreciate the warmth of being snuggled in the pouch enough to forgive their owners for wearing cat ears on their head.

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Seed money

Seed money is the gift that gives back -- a great eco-friendly choice for the naturalist, a charming housewarming gift for a new neighbor, and a great environmental activity gift for your kids. Vegetable-based inks are used on the printed paper coins embedded with organic and heirloom seeds.

  • Pennies contain delicate wildflowers
  • Nickels contain tasty herbs
  • Dimes contain root crops
  • Quarters contain fresh salad greens

The coins come mixed in a cute burlap sack in quantities of 30, 50, 500, and 1,000. Your gift recipient can plant nickles in kitchen planters, scatter the pennies in a flower bed, and bury the dimes in a small garden.

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Botanical Perfume

Housed in a beautiful natural clam shell, Earth Tu Face Botanical Perfume is made from all-natural ingredients including organic safflower oil, beeswax, organic patchouli, organic lavender, ylang ylang, vitamin E, and Wildcrafted Vetiver Essential Oils. Every ingredient is carefully chosen for therapeutic reasons to heal, rejuvenate and restore skin cells. You won't find any fillers as every ingredient is active. This solid rub on perfume can also be used as a scar treatment. Earth Tu Face's concentrated organic formulas are designed with a long shelf life of 3 1/2 years.

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Art Deco Radio Turntable

For the nostalgic music lover in your life, the Crosley Lancaster Art Deco Wood Radio Turntable will bring those retro and vintage LPs to life, filling the room with the sound of music on vinyl. The Lancaster also plays old cassette tapes, CDs, has a built-in AM/FM radio and can connect to a portable MP3 player. The Art Deco styling makes it a perfect eclectic accent in any modern setting.

The turntable works on three speeds, 33 1/2, 45 and 78 RPMs, allowing play of all vinyl formats and records ranging in size from 7 to 10 to 12 inches in diameter. This vintage audio entertainment center can cover a wide range of audiophile needs.

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Circle Swing Chair

The molded plywood construction and sleek minimalist style of the Circle Swing Chair by Iwona Kosicka Design from Poland definitely takes cues from Vintage Danish Modern furniture styles, making it a perfect contemporary accessory. It also makes quite an unexpected gift that offers a fun and carefree way to decompress in moments of high anxiety or stress -- just hop in and swing your worries away. It can add an unusual touch to a living room, bedroom or home office and will almost certainly be a hit during any dinner party.

To surprise your overworked significant other with this unique chair, you must first choose a color -- white, black, or natural -- and then you can add it to your cart. Keep in mind this product does ship from Poland so there is a substantial charge for shipping.

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Sugar Skull Craft

Who knew a skull could become such a beautiful work of art? A paint your own sugar skull craft is great gift for older kids and teenagers and adults of all ages who enjoy cultural or folk art. Sugar skulls date back to the 18th century colonial period in Mexico, where Italian Catholic friars introduced the locals to sugar art as a means for decorating church altars during religious ceremonies. Real sugar skulls made from sugar and chocolate are still an important element used in the Day of the Dead celebration.

Molded from clay, these plain white skulls can be glazed and fired for a smooth, shiny finish or simply painted with acrylic paints and glitter glue. Browse through picture galleries of sugar skulls for ideas and inspiration on color combinations and design patterns to use on the skulls.

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Shower Squids

These Shower Squids make a perfect housewarming gift for your son or daughter's first apartment, for the kid's bathroom, or for your quirky adult friend who will love the novelty of them. The squid is made from latex rubber tubes with loops on the end. These loops can hold onto bottles of shampoo and conditioner, liquid shower soap, cans of shaving cream and any other products used in the shower. The loops are also adjustable so you can make them bigger or smaller. Put the bottles in upside down as you don't have to remove them from the tentacles to use them and gravity will assist in getting every last drop. Shower squids come in four colors: red, black, blue, and green.

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EyeVac Home Touchless Vacuum

Anyone who hates the chore of sweeping hard floors will appreciate the help of the EyeVac Home Touchless Vacuum. Simply place the unit in a convenient spot in any room that has a hard floor. Sweep all the dirt and debris into a pile and push it towards the front of the vacuum. An infrared sensor triggers the machine to suck the debris up once it's close enough. No more bending down and trying to get everything over the lip of a dust pan, which always seems to leave a fine line of dirt behind no matter how many times you keep moving it back.

A convenient handhold at the top of the lightweight unit allows you to pick it up and move it wherever you need it, which is especially handy for those unexpected dry spills. The bagless canister is also easy to remove and empty when full, indicated by a light on the top of the machine.

The Gift of Flight

Anyone who flies frequently for work or pleasure knows that airline miles really do add up to big savings. You can also gift your airline miles to a friend wishing they could go home for the holidays or a coworker with a sudden death in the family.

Travel blogger Daraius Dubash and his friend Emily used miles from each one of their frequent flyer accounts to book plane tickets for Emily's mother and her friend Judi, enabling the four of them to go to India. They walk you through the process which is similar to purchasing tickets for yourself. According to Dubash, all U.S. airlines let you book award flights for someone else.

You can also use your airline miles to pay for gift merchandise or to send someone flowers through participating retailers. All of this information can be found on the airline's website. You'll find abundant gifting options using airline miles.

Thrilling Experiences

When you know someone well, the most thoughtful gift can be a fun or thrilling experience you know they will enjoy or have always wanted to do. This varies by the person and depends on what's offered in the area you live. Make sure the experience caters to the recipient -- getting it right shows you know them on a more intimate level. On the other hand, if your friend is the adventurous type always up for a new experience, feel free to choose something totally unexpected.

A site like Experience Days lets you search by type of activity or the location. You also get an overview of what's involved, how long it lasts, when it's offered, weather conditions, what to wear and any additional information you need to know. You can purchase gift certificates for the experience right on the site and call a toll-free number to set up the reservation or wait and let the recipient make his or her own reservation when he or she is ready.

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DIY BoHo Curtains

If you and your bestie have always been gypsies at heart, she is sure to love a set of boho curtains made by your own hands. The first thing you should do is go look around her living room or bedroom and take note of the colors she has used on other accessories such as pillows, throws, lamps or wall art. Take a peek at the accent colors in the kitchen or bathroom and then decide on a window that could use some personality.

Now it's time to hit some thrift stores and look for pretty fabrics. Vintage scarves, saris, shawls or long, flowing skirts or dresses -- anything with a colorful pattern you can cut up into large panels and sew together using a basic curtain panel sewing pattern. Try to pick up one or two of the accent colors most used in your friend's home so the curtains look like they belong.

Rag curtains are another option for a boho look. For this you need strips of fabric about 2 inches wide and twice as long as you want the curtain to hang. Watch a tutorial to learn how to tie a lark's head knot to attach the fabric strips to a curtain rod.

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Hair Tattoos

It's not unlikely for a teenage daughter to ask if she can get a tattoo, so here's one you can say yes to -- a hair tattoo. Nonpermanent metallic tattoos acting as a type of faux jewelry have been a popular adornment for the body, but did you know they also work on hair?

The tattoo is applied the same way as on skin, pressing it in place with a damp rag. It works best if the hair is completely straight and moves very little. Try smoothing your hair first with a straightening iron. Then hold some of it in place with a headband, barrets, bobby pins or a hair tie and apply the tattoo. To remove the design, just wash your hair.

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1969 Camaro Wall Shelf

Add some masculinity to the wall with a 1969 Classic Camaro SS Wall Shelf. Whether it's a man cave, game room, home office or teen bedroom, this snazzy 3-D shelf looks as if it's driving right out of your wall! Featuring the front end of a classic Camaro muscle car painted black with crisp white stripes on the hood, the shelf itself is made from clear acrylic and sits just above the hood of the car. The entire unit measures about 20 inches long.

The nice thing about the shelf's design is that the support brackets hold the acrylic panel above the car's hood, so no matter what you decide to display on the shelf, it won't block the view of the car. The headlights also turn on and are powered by three AA batteries.

Steampunk Hat

A steampunk hat is a key icon of steampunk style and makes a great gift for anyone who likes alternative fashion or an eclectic decorator who digs offbeat accents. Steampunk hats are typically made from riding hats or top hats and sometimes aviator caps. They are commonly accompanied by a set of goggles, implying the concept of traveling through time or perhaps working on the next greatest steam-powered invention. Design your own at SteamPunk Hatter.

Steampunk is a type of alternative fashion and decorating style inspired by science fiction set in Victorian times or during the early Industrial Revolution. It started out as a literary subgenre of speculative fiction that can now be found in movies such as Wild Wild West, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and The Time Machine.

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Teapot With Flowering Teas

Primula's 40 ounce glass teapot with 12 flowering teas makes a wonderful housewarming gift, wedding gift, Mother's Day present, or birthday surprise for anyone who likes tea, a healthy lifestyle or classy entertaining ideas.

Each tea flower is comprised of AA grade green tea leaves and dried flowers that are hand sewn into tight balls by Chinese artisans. Once the tea flower ball is placed in hot water, it slowly sinks to the bottom and unfurls into a blossoming tea flower. The green tea is also blended with Jasmine, giving it an aromatic scent. Tea flowers can be reused up to three times in a 24-hour period.

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Galileo Thermometer

If you're stumped on what to get for a Father's Day gift or need ideas for a birthday gift for that special guy in your life, he might enjoy a Galileo Thermometer with Glass Globe Barometer. It makes an interesting conversation piece displayed on an office desk, in a bookcase or on an occasional table.

The thermometer functions on Galileo's principle that liquids change density as the temperature increases or decreases. The liquid filled tube contains small glass bulbs with colored liquids of varying densities. When the changing temperature affects the density of the liquid inside the tube, the colored bulbs will sink or rise according to the density of their own liquids. Each bulb has a numbered tag that can be used to help determine the temperature according to its position in the tube.

The accompanying glass globe barometer can indicate a change in weather by the type of atmospheric pressure being forced into its glass spout, which affects the level of the liquid inside the globe.

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Create a Zombie Survival Kit

For the friend who truly believes its only a matter of time before the zombie apocalypse is upon us, put together a Zombie Survival Kit that includes Max Brooks's humorous yet helpful The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. Next you'll need to find an inexpensive, lightweight backpack, preferably in a camo print. Fill it with the following essentials:

  • Paracord knife with magnesium fire starter
  • Weapons - Machete, small axe, Swiss army knife
  • Canteen filled with water
  • Duct tape
  • MREs - Meals ready to eat
  • First Aid kit

Whatever your gift buying budget may be, you should always be able to find something unique and out of the ordinary without spending outside of your comfort zone. It's not the cost of the gift that counts, it's the thought behind it.

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Unique Gift Ideas