8 gifts for those who are hard to shop for 2023

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, it’s time to start making your shopping lists and checking them twice. Buying gifts for friends and family can be fun, but occasionally, you come across a close friend or relative who “doesn’t want anything.” They think they’re being easy-going, by saying that, but in reality it makes your life more difficult. What do you get someone who seemingly doesn’t want anything?



Related: Should I get a Kindle for reading books and can I stop the display flashing on page turns?

I’ve come across this issue several times and have always struggled to find the perfect present. After several rounds of trial and error, I’ve compiled a list of my top choices for gifts for my closest friends and family who chronically stump the gift-giver in me.


Best gifts for loved ones who are hard to buy for: Our top picks

Skylight

Skylight Digital Picture Frame

Best electronic picture frame

Keep your photos up to date

$120 $170 Save $50

The Skylight Digital Picture Frame allows you to pick what photos you want to display right from your mobile device via the Skylight app.

Pros

  • Change pictures on display from your phone
  • Touchscreen
Cons

  • Expensive
  • App is an additional subscription

If you’ve got a long-distance loved one, then this is the perfect gift for them. I recently moved to London from my childhood home in New York and the Skylight Digital Picture Frame is a great way for me to share photos from my travels with my family back in NY. The digital photo frame allows you to share photos and videos from the Skylight app to put on display. Share multiple photos at once and swipe through them using the picture frames touch screen. No Wi-Fi is needed for the photos to be on display, plus you can tap the heart icon at the bottom of the screen to like any picture.

The digital frame makes for a great present for anyone who has a family member or friend they don’t see often, and want to share their memories in a creative way. The biggest downside to the frame is the rather hefty price tag plus the $40/year app subscription, but the great picture quality and easy photo sharing ability makes it well worth the money.

bose

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Best value noise cancelling headphones

Best for gift for those who still own wired headphones

$279 $379 Save $100

The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 offers great adjustable noise cancelation and even better sound.

Pros

  • Charging case
  • Adjustable noise cancellation
Cons

  • Not as aesthetically appealing as other headphones
  • Bulky

I’ve never been a fan of over-the-ear headphones until the Bose Noise Cancelling 700. These headphones make for a solid gift for those who have yet to upgrade their headphones from the cheap, out-of-date wired headphones. Whenever I fly, I always make sure to pack a pair of headphones that can be connected to the in-flight entertainment system, so I don’t need to buy a pair of cheap wired earbuds they sell on the plane. I previously owned the Bose Noise Canceling Quiet Comfort 45 headphones which were good enough for the small daily tasks I was using them for, but the Noise Canceling 700 headphones are definitely a step-up.

Bose Smart Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review image 1

Pocket-lint

When walking around New York City, I’ve always been weary of headphones that completely cut out all the surrounding noise, but these headphones allow you to adjust the noise-cancelling levels on the Bose Music app, which gives users more control over volume levels. Plus, the Noise Cancelling 700 allows you to use Alexa and can be used without power. Overall, I’d say the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are solid noise-cancelling headphones and definitely worth the $279 price tag.

tripod

Joby

Joby GripTight Pro 3 GorillaPod

Best gift for aspiring vloggers

A tripod great for beginners

The Joby GripTight Pro 3 GorillaPod gives your phone some stability while filming.

Pros

  • Good grip
  • Flexible
  • Stable
Cons

  • Doesn’t come with any additional features aside from the tripod

We all have that one friend in our life who treats all of their Instagram stories as if they’re the next big influencer. Help them along in their social media-influencing career with the Joby GripTight Pod 3 GorillaPod. I’ve been taking a Short-Form Video class the past couple of weeks and found that this tripod is one of the easiest to use with mobile devices, and it consistently makes many Pocket-lint best of tripod lists.

Related: Best portable tripods: Compact picks to keep your camera steady on the go

The tripod is flexible, allows for easy microphone attachments and can be handheld. The tripod is relatively expensive compared to cheaper beginner tripods but the quality of it makes it definitely worth the money. If you really want to give the full beginner vlogging set, then check out the GPod Mobile Vlog Kit.

JBL

JBL

JBL Charge 5

Best gift for the party throwers

Booming sound for a reasonable price

$120 $180 Save $60

One of my life essentials is a speaker with great sound and the JBL Charge 5 is just that.

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Waterproof
  • Long battery life

I believe that everyone should own at least one high quality portable speaker, but usually high quality can run you hundreds of dollars. The JBL Charge 5 speaker is a great speaker that can easily fill a medium-sized room with loud sound and costs around $120.

JBL Charge 5 review photo 1

The speaker provides a clear and rich sound quality with a booming bass. Sound quality aside, the portable speaker is waterproof, has a battery life of 20 hours and can sync up with other JBL speakers to keep the music going anywhere in the house. If you’re looking for a perfect present for music lovers, party throwers or even those who love a casual kickback.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Roku

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Best gift for streaming wherever you go

Traveling shouldn’t mean you should miss your favorite shows

$25 $40 Save $15

One of the most reliable plug-and-play streaming solutions on the market, the Roku Streaming Stick lets you pipe 4K entertainment from dozens of services to any HDMI-compatible set. With Dolby Vision support and a voice-controlled remote, it’s a great way to take your media from display to display.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Voice command
  • Connects to any TV

If you’re shopping for a friend who is constantly on business trips or refuses to upgrade to a smart TV, then the Roku Streaming Stick is a gift they didn’t know they needed. Roku makes streaming your favorite TV shows on any streaming service easy. Simply plug the stick into the TV’s HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi and start streaming right on your television.

Roku Express 4K photo 13

On the Roku remote, you can use voice control commands, so you can avoid the annoying process of trying in the name of the show you want to watch. Simply speak into the remote’s microphone while telling Roku what you want to watch and then the show you’re looking for will show up with the different services you can stream it on. Make your loved one’s life easier this holiday season with the Roku Streaming Stick.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Best gift for avid readers

Read thousands of books all on one device

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite offers the ultimate eReader experience with a long-lasting battery life, high definition display, and endless access to your favorite books.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Holds thousands of books
  • 10 week battery life
Cons

  • Some people prefer actual books

Buying books can be fun, but having to lug those books around everywhere you go takes up a lot of space. The Kindle Paperwhite solves that issue. All on one device, you can buy books and read anywhere without having to squeeze several large print copies in your bag. The Kindle Paperwhite is super lightweight and has an adjustable warm light, so you won’t strain your eyes while reading.

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 review photo 7

Pocket-lint

Plus, you will rarely need to worry about your Kindle dying on you mid-book thanks to the Paperwhite’s nearly 10 week battery life. The Paperwhite was made with reading at the beach in mind, so there’s no need to worry about accidentally getting water on it and ruining your device. However, another great option for a gift is an accessory case for Kindle Paperwhite, if your loved one already has the device.

oura

Oura

Oura Ring

Best gift for simple fitness tracking

Easy health and fitness tracking

Track your sleep, daily activity, heart rate and more with the Oura Ring.

Pros

  • Sleep tracking
  • Easy to use
Cons

  • Not as advanced as other trackers
  • Not aesthetically appealing

The Oura Ring has definitely made a name for itself on social media recently and for good reason. The thick ring tracks your body temperature, sleep patterns, activity and, for those who menstruate, your ovulation cycle. Using the Oura app, which is an additional subscription, users can set activity goals for themselves and can see all of their health stats. Through tracking your body temperature and heart rate, the Oura ring can predict if you’re starting to feel ill or if you’re about to begin your menstrual cycle. When you first order the ring, you will be sent a sizing chart to help choose which size fits you. Once you find the perfect size, your ring will arrive within a couple of days.

oura ring 3 review photo 1
Pocket-lint

Overall, the Oura Ring is great for those who want a more basic health tracking device that’s easy to use and only needs to be charged every couple of days. I love the cycle tracking aspect of the app along with the sleep tracker. The design of the ring itself is a bit bulky and definitely more catered for men’s fingers, but can still be made fashionable.

polaroid

Polaroid

Polaroid Now Golden Gift Box Bundle

Best gift for capturing photos in the moment

Take and develop pictures instantly

Print photos instantly with the Polaroid Now and take the camera with you for portable pictures wherever inspiration strikes.

Pros

  • Bundle includes camera and film
  • Autofocus
Cons

  • Some negative reviews about picture clarity
  • Film can be expensive

The Polaroid camera has truly withstood the test of time. The camera is simple: point, shoot and print. Within minutes, the picture will be fully developed and ready to share with all your friends. Polaroid pictures make great souvenirs for parties and fit every scrapbook perfectly. I’m slowly covering my refrigerator with Polaroid pictures from my travels and nights out. The Polaroid Now includes autofocus and, if you buy the gold box bundle, you can get a double pack of special edition gold border film.

Related: Best instant cameras (and why shaking your Polaroid picture is a myth)

I’ve always had great experiences with my Polaroid camera, but some reviewers claim that their pictures came out blurry or dark. Other than some slight lighting malfunctions, the Polaroid Now makes a great present for those who love to capture every moment in their life.

The bottom line: What is the best gift to get?

At the end of the day, it depends on what the person you’re shopping for enjoys, but my favorite pick from the list is the Skylight Digital Picture Frame. The frame is a unique and thoughtful gift that is perfect for your parents, grandparents or partner. I love the unique ability the frame gives you to share memories with others in a fun way. With the Skylight app, you can invite as many friends or family as you want to upload their own pictures.

frame

Skylight

Skylight Digital Picture Frame

$160 $170 Save $10

If you’re looking for a less sentimental gift, then I would go with either the JBL Charge 5 or the Polaroid Now Golden Gift Bundle. I strongly believe everyone should own one good portable speaker to bring to any beach barbecue, backyard party or chill study session. The JBL Charge 5 is a little bigger than most other portable speakers but is still compact enough to fit in most bags. The speaker offers great sound without costing hundreds of dollars.

The Polaroid Now Golden Gift Bundle makes for a great gift for any age or gender. A Polaroid picture is a simple but special keepsake and can be kept in a scrapbook meant for Polaroids or on your bedside table. The golden gift bundle includes a double pack of film and the camera, making it a truly great value buy.

Is the Oura Ring worth it?

If you’re looking for a basic fitness and sleep tracker, then I think the Oura Ring is definitely worth it. The ring gives you an in-depth analysis of your sleeping patterns along with your health statistics. Admittedly, I think the fitness tracking could be a bit better, but overall, the ring does a good job at tracking your activity, along with monitoring how much time you spend sitting versus standing. Throughout the day, the Oura app will give you reminders to move around, plus the app will alert you when it needs to be charged.

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