Great gifts for loved ones in your life

Wang Yip
6 min readDec 5, 2018

There’s something a little bit strange with me that one of my close friends noticed a few years back — he saw that I would often hesitate in purchasing something very expensive for myself but that I would not hesitate to buy expensive things for my friends as gifts. When I looked back at some of the major purchases in my life, I found that this was true but I really don’t know what to make of it — is it because I care more about others than myself? Is it because I like spoiling others? I still don’t think I have a good answer but lucky for my readers, it also means that I have quite a bit of experience getting good gifts for others. With the Christmas season coming upon us (although we did just miss Black Friday so it’s not as timely as I’d like), I thought it would be cool to give you a few ideas of what you can get for those special friends in your life. Note that the links below are Amazon affiliate links and if you don’t want to buy from the links, please just open up Amazon and search for the products.

For the tech geek who always has their smartphone on them -> Anker portable battery chargers

- these small chargers are portable enough to carry around with you in your pockets and carry enough of a charge to charge your phone two times (or your tablet, maybe once or to half charge depending on what tablet you have). I liked these so much that I have gotten a few, charged them up and then left them in jackets and different backpacks I have because they are very handy.

For the constant traveler or consultant friend in your life -> Amazon basic packing cubes

- these packing cubes are incredibly handy — they help you organize your clothes, help you organize them in the hotel, save on packing space and just makes traveling much easier than trying to pack everything into a piece of luggage separately. I swear by these every time I travel (and I travel a lot)

For the ambitious career-oriented individual in your life -> Deep Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You — both by Cal Newport

- Deep Work talks about the one skill that you need to focus on (ironically, it’s focusing) and getting into the zone so that you can do what Cal calls ‘deep work’ as opposed to shallow work.

- So Good They Can’t Ignore You gives fantastic advice on how to develop a career — not through following your passion but instead through hard work, exploring different career options, and culling your options as you find out what you like and dislike about certain aspects of a job.

Both of these books will help anybody that is ambitious and career-oriented to make the most of their time at work.

For those that like smart home products -> Philips Hue smart bulbs

- I got these for my home and have really enjoyed being able to tell Google to turn off my bedroom lights or for the lights to automatically come on when it gets dark out and I’m wandering through blindly trying to find the light switch. Never more! I do think that it makes you a little bit lazy when you can’t walk a few feet off the couch to turn on the light and it makes you more dependent on your smartphone but maybe in the future, we’ll all just be brains in vats.

For the foodies in your life -> Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat

- Well, I suppose foodies may not necessarily like cooking food but this book is so much more than just a cookbook, it talks about the essential elements of cooking. For example, I have always had the fear of oversalting different foods but I learned that there is a range of salt that you can add to different dishes without it being overpowered by the salt — in fact, I, like a lot of people I suspect, have been undersalting the food and not using salt to its full potential.

For the person that loves board games -> Power Grid and Betrayal at House on the Hill

- Power Grid is really complex but once you get the hang of it, the turns go by fairly quickly. Each of the players is an owner of different kinds of factories — coal, solar, nuclear, etc. — these factories in turn, power a number of cities and the number of cities you power equates to how much you get paid. There’s no dice in this game — and the game balances by having the person with the best power factory go last. You initially start off by bidding on different factories — the more expensive the factory, the more powerful it is (and the more cities it can power) but as you buy factories, more powerful (and potentially cheaper) factories come into play so you have to carefully balance when to bid on a factory and when to let it go (the factories are purchased through auction). Expect to spend several hours at the game and if at any point, you are missing a crucial $1 in order to get the perfect turn, you are probably playing the game correctly.

- Betrayal at House on the Hill is kind of like those Scooby Doo t.v. shows where Scooby Doo and the gang explore a haunted house and as they explore the house, they uncover secrets and ghosts and other interesting things that go bump in the night. You and the others explore this house and as you explore, you uncover weapons, artifacts and other things that will help you later on. When the ‘haunt’ happens, one of you turns on the others and now it is a one vs. the rest of the team where the rest of the team has to get out of the mansion before the ‘one’ gets to you.

There you have it — a few gifts for the different loved ones in your life. If you still can’t find anything, I’d recommend looking around Kickstarter or IndieGogo although you probably won’t get these in time for Christmas if that is what you are planning.

About the author:

Wang is a management consultant, self-published author, Distinguished Toastmaster, co-host of a podcast, Udemy teacher, former Uber driver and all around hustler. He is also obsessed about books and he reads books so that you don’t have to. Want a list of Wang’s top ten formative books in his life and career? Interested in book summaries and recommendations every month? Subscribe to Wang’s e-mail newsletter!

Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at