Gifts for Strangers

Gift Guide 2015

Perhaps it's for a White Elephant holiday party at work, an in-law you've never met or your mail carrier. We all occasionally find ourselves in the position of buying a present for someone we don't know, and it can be tricky to find something that says, "Merry Christmas, stranger. I don't really know anything about you, but I needed to buy you a gift or risk looking like a total tool. So enjoy this innocuous, utterly generic token of my acknowledging your existence." Here are some options.


This is a great choice if you're looking to impress or are part of a serious White Elephant situation. These vacuum-insulated bottles are incredible, keeping your hot drink hot for hours, or your icy beverage freezing instead. And thanks to how they're built, you can't tell from the outside whether it's hot or cold; there's no condensation or heat coming from inside that bad boy. They come in a variety of colors, sizes and prices, and the stainless steel lets you drink an IPA one day and coffee the next without any old flavors lingering or mixing. $20 (for 21-oz. version) • White Elephant • 12614 E. Sprague, Spokane Valley


Perfect gifts for strangers often involve things that they won't necessarily use themselves. Give someone a hunk of this locally revered cheese, and they can turn around and serve it at a party, or re-gift it to someone else to enjoy the creamy goodness produced on the Palouse. That's a win-win. $28 • WSU Connections Spokane • 618 W. Riverside


You might risk someone taking the gift of soap as an insult regarding their personal hygiene, but this is an ideal present for someone you don't know. Either they'll love some fancy soap made by local artisans and be delighted by the luxurious stuff that comes in a variety of scents, or they'll be happy to have a classy option for re-gifting to a smelly family member or co-worker of their own. $6 • Boulevard Mercantile • 1905 N. Monroe


Candles are timely, given our recent power issues in the Inland Northwest, and always welcome as either an emergency light source in a pinch or touch of everyday ambience in the house. These locally made beauties come in a variety of "flavors" like McIntosh Apple, Lemongrass and Gingered Cantaloupe, and even if the recipient never lights it, the candle will look and smell great. $17 (for large candle)Pottery Place Plus • 203 N. Washington

Northwest Pagan Fest: Living the Magic @ Spokane Community College

Sat., Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the former editor of the Inlander. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied at the University of Utah and University of...