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Gifts for the Hard to Buy For

I presented a gift guide in partnership with American Express last week, featuring items that could be purchased through their Membership Rewards program. I also asked if you needed help finding gifts for anyone, and today I’m going to follow up and help out with some ideas for the hard to buy for people in your life.

American Express Points for Presents Gift Guide, Part 2

  • Brothers

    Emily said: “I always struggle with new gift ideas for my brothers in their mid-late twenties. I always go with t-shirts or something boring like undies or socks.” And Valerie said: “I’m trying to figure out what to get my brothers (18 and 19) that isn’t in the video game/dvd/gift card oeuvre. But I’m pretty broke this year, so I have a $40 limit for both of them. Everything I’ve looked at so far that I thought would be good goes way over that!”
    There were a lot of requests for brotherly gifts! This Cards Against Humanity game (4) looks awesome, and you can’t go wrong with a Jon Ronson book (Brandon and I both like him). Lost at Sea (5) is Ronson’s newest. You can pay for these with points through Amazon’s checkout.

  • Sisters

  • Ashley said: “I’m having a really hard time coming up with something for my 18 year old sister. She has so many interests its hard to narrow down a meaningful gift.”
    I think sisters would enjoy the brotherly gifts above too, but if you’re looking for something a little more girly, perhaps a bracelet with meaning (2)? The one shown represents strength, motivation, and knowledge, but it would also just look cute as part of an arm party. If she’s a maker, use a gift card to west elm to buy beautiful heirloom scissors (3).

  • Parents (Yours or Hers/His)

    Marie said: “I could use gift ideas for my boyfriend’s parents!! We’ve been dating for 1.5 years and although I’m not very close with them (distance makes it tough), I’d like to give something thoughtful.”
    Give tickets to a show. I cashed in a bunch of my Amex points recently to get tickets to The Book of Mormon (1) (Brandon and I will be going on our anniversary in May). You can pay with points through TicketMaster, so there are tons of options for shows and concerts that they’ll like.

  • For Those Who Don’t Need Another Thing

    Hillary said: “Would love advice about what to get my dad and stepmom. They are retired, don’t really need any “stuff” and are just plain hard to shop for. I usually default to restaurant gift cards but would like to give something more thoughtful. Help!”
    Give to charity. Donate your points to Hurricane Sandy Relief (6), or to another charity on behalf of your gift recipient.

  • The Wild Card

    Sarah said: “I’m having a tough time coming up with something for a family gift exchange. It could go to anyone in my family from my 12 year old niece to my 50+ uncles. I seem to only be able to come up with girly or adult ideas.”
    My best bet for one-gift-fits-all is How Music Works by David Byrne (7) (pay with points on Amazon). It will appeal to book-lovers, music-lovers (young and old — doesn’t everyone agree that David Byrne is awesome?), and it has a technology/science bent.

Paid

I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about how to use Membership Rewards points. As such I was paid for my services as an ambassador, but all gift choices selected and opinions about the gifts and American Express are my own.

A Turntable Goes Better With…

Want to be forever cemented as the coolest aunt/uncle/mom/dad/friend to a teenager? Get them a turntable. Then save everyone’s sanity with a pair of headphones. Bonus points for including a classic album, like The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

Mates of State: Palamino

More music I’ve been loving lately. Mates of State played a show in Chicago last Friday, and they played every single song I would have wanted them to. (Thanks, guys! Just for me, right?) Palamino is the opening track on their newest album, Mountaintops.

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