If they spend a lot of time in the kitchen…
How much do you want to bet that your office-mate who is really into cooking already has a bread knife made of bamboo? I’m going to say 10% chance, tops. And if they do, they probably also have a second home so they need two of them anyway. Bamboo bread knife, $12.
While we’re on the topic of wooden kitchen tools, these are my all time favorite spoons ever. They are the kind of thing Pa lovingly made for Ma in their little house on the prairie. But in real life they’re made by the incredibly talented father of one of my most remarkable friends (who is a fine woodworker in his own right). I would like to be more like them and make all sorts of stuff by hand. But instead I’ll just buy their goods and so should you. Live Wire Farm Spoons, $10 – $50.
If they like making electronic music but are also into the olden days:
It’s a full blown synth that is totally portable, looks great and is reasonably priced for what it is. A stocking stuffer it is not, but the kid/wife/bandmate who gets this under the tree is going to be a very happy camper, I can tell you that right now. OP 1 Portable Synthesizer, $849.
And come on, wouldn’t the desk that had this feather pen sitting next to the above mentioned synth be amazing? These two objects should come as a package. Maison Martin Margiella Feather Pen, $68.
If they like to ride bikes:
There are not a lot of attractive bike helmets out there, but this one is cool because it collapses, so you can fit it into your bag and take it in with you after you’ve locked the wheels up outside. Which means that you are more likely to wear the helmet in the first place. So this is kind of like giving a person the gift of safety without being at all preachy about it. Folding Bike Helmet, $139.
If they believe in fairies:
I’ve seen incense sticks and incense cones and pieces of wood that burn like incense, but never incense made of rope. This stuff kicks the whole incense thing up a notch, which is what it very badly needs. Cedar Rope Incense, $12.
Sprinkle a bit of this magic fairy dust into your tea at night and it will tranquilize your blood flow, detox your pancreas and promote beautiful dreams. No seriously, it will. I promise. In fact, maybe we should all just get this for ourselves and then the world would be a happier place full of well rested people who like to paint moons and stars all over their packaging. Goodnight Dust, $55.
If they like to collect things like ashtrays and art:
A limited edition massive beach towel designed by Yayoi Kusama. Enough said. Beach Towel, $95.
Or maybe you might want to lead somebody, via a limited edition print, into the mystical, brightly colored world of Saya Woolfalk which is full of detailed drawings of fantastical artifacts and messages that stretch our ideas about cultural boundaries. No Placean Anatomy (Human/Plant/Animal) by Saya Woolfalk, $1200.
And then, of course, if they are a spy:
Any female James Bond shouldn’t be caught out without a hairclip that doubles as a saw, screwdriver, wrench, ruler and trolley coin (whatever that is). Mini Tools Clip by Clippa, $9.99.