Gifts For Your Neighbors That You Don't Know That Well

Ginger beer, baking essentials and other neighborly holiday gifts that aren't peppermint bark.
Left to right: Gunter's honey, Reed's ginger beer and Nielsen-Massey vanilla, all from Amazon.
Left to right: Gunter's honey, Reed's ginger beer and Nielsen-Massey vanilla, all from Amazon.

Whether you just moved, your neighbors just moved or you’ve all been living next to each other without talking for years, you don’t always know your neighbors. Especially since COVID, getting to know the people around you has proven to be difficult. So if you’re looking to play Santa in your neighborhood, but you have literally no idea what’s on people’s wishlists, it’s natural to wonder what to get a neighbor you don’t know that well.

Around the same time each year, it happens: The nice people of your neighborhood bring each other baked goods and six-packs, even though half of them don’t drink and the other half have dietary restrictions they don’t really talk about. While you could hop on the alcohol and cookies train, you want to get them something totally user-friendly, like a nice container of pink salt or a tiny succulent they’d have to work to kill.

When shopping for a neighbor you don’t really know, the goal is to find something generous but still general. Rather than a fully-cooked meal that may have certain ingredients they can’t eat or a piece of home decor that totally does not fit their style, you want things they can use, enjoy, then promptly get rid of, like dairy-free hot cocoa mix or a gas gift card. These are gifts that say, “I see you leave for work every day, but could not tell you what your job is. Nevertheless, I wish you well this winter.”

In the spirit of being a good neighbor, I rounded up the best little gifts to give the people that live around you that you don’t really know that well. Consider it my present to you.

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Cinnamon-scented pinecones
The scented pinecone is like the cool big sister of the candle. Your neighbor can put them out on a coffee table and feel totally guilt-free for throwing them away when they lose their scent.

Get it from Amazon Fresh for $4.99.
A toy for their pet
Your favorite neighbor may in fact be someone's dog or cat. Get them a little festive pet toy to show you care.

Get it from Amazon for $7.99.
Ginger beer
Your neighbors may not drink alcohol or may be super specific about the wine they like. To play it safe, go for a ginger beer or another herbal soda (like birch beer) in a pretty bottle. They can use it to make cocktails or enjoy it on its own.

Get a four-pack from Amazon Fresh for $6.49.
A small, low-maintenance succulent
Unless you actively see your neighbor gardening a lot, you likely don't know if they're into plants. A small succulent is affordable, easy to care for and will bring some green into their home.

Get four succulents from Amazon for $16.99.
A jar of fun popcorn
Covered in cheese or chocolate, popcorn is the perfect base. Bring your neighbor some for a salty and sweet snack.

Get it from Amazon for $18.99.
A fresh bushel of eucalyptus
To bring some spa-like serenity into your neighbor's home, get them some fresh eucalyptus. They can put it in their shower or leave it out in a common space for decoration.

Get it from Amazon Fresh for $4.99.
Local honey
According to the Mayo Clinic, local honey has been studied as a cough suppressant and may even have anti-inflammatory effects. Though it's certainly not a medicine replacement, it's a nice thing to keep in the house or to bring to a neighbor.

Get it from Amazon for $8.99.
Some nice vanilla extract (or another spice or baking essential)
The holidays are a time of sugar, spice and all things nice. While you could make your neighbor cookies or pie, if you're not sure of their dietary restrictions (or just want to save yourself some time), send over a nice bottle of vanilla or other baking essentials. It's a fancier version of something they would get themselves, and they'll likely be grateful for it.

Get it from Amazon for $19.95.
A tin of winter tea
During the cold winter months, a hot cup of tea is the ultimate comfort. Get them something in a pretty tin that will look nice on their shelf.

Get it from Amazon for $10.45.
Hot cocoa mix
If your neighbors have kids, hot cocoa is surely a winter staple. Even for kids of all ages (read: full adults), winter cocoa is sure to bring cheer.

Get it from Amazon for $7.99.
Fill up their tank
While you (probably) can't actually take your neighbor's car to get gas, you can bring the gas to them -- well, sort of. Drop them a gas card for a full tank on you.

Get a gas gift card for $25 and up at Gift Card Mall.
Salted chocolate caramels
If you're tired of peppermint bark but still want to send come Christmas candies, a chocolate-covered salted caramel is a sharable tasty treat.

Get it from Amazon for $15.
A case of sparkling mineral water
Call it seltzer, club soda or just bubbly water — carbonated drinks are in. For a family-friendly beverage everyone can enjoy, bring your neighbor a case of sparkling water in pretty bottles.

Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $11.29.
A bag of local coffee beans
If your neighbors are new to the area, welcome them with a bag of beans from a local roaster. Even if they're old-timers, they'll surely enjoy a cup from a small local roaster.

Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
An oven mitt and baking mix combo
For a real "PTO mom that has it all together" vibe, drop your neighbor a holiday oven mitt with a bag of bake mix inside. You could get all the pieces yourself, or could order a pre-made kit from Etsy.

Get it from TheSpottedZebras on Etsy for $7.99.

(The estimated delivery is Dec. 20-29.)
A grocery gift card
Instead of asssuming what your neighbor likes to eat, you can give them a gift card to get some groceries of their own.

Get it for any amount from Amazon.
Movie tickets
Who doesn't love a night out to the movies? Send your neighbor a gift card for movie tickets so they can see a new flick.

Get a $25 AMC gift card from Amazon.
Himalayan pink salt
Pink salt is an elevated version of an everyday cooking item that looks cute on the spice rack and tastes super yummy.

Get it from Amazon for $13.21.
A dipping olive oil
For cooking and dipping alike, good olive oil is the MVP of the kitchen. Send over a bottle for all their kitchen needs.

Get it from Public Goods for $8.95.

(Order by Dec. 15 to ensure it's in by Christmas, otherwise, it may come in after the holiday.)
Pure maple syrup
To step up their breakfast game, send over a bottle of pure maple syrup. They can use it in coffee, salad dressing, baking, marinades and more.

Get it from MapleMtnSugarhouse on Etsy starting at $7.

(To ensure it comes before Christmas, you want to order this before Dec. 16, otherwise, it may come after.)
A glass jar of hot fudge
Say goodbye to the squeeze bottle of chocolate sauce. A good jar of hot fudge looks nice, lasts a while and comes in handy for ice cream nights and midnight snack cravings.

Get it from Target for $3.79.

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