Not everyone has a natural talent for finding the perfect gift. If you find yourself pulling your hair out searching for a present that a friend or colleague will love, you’re not alone. Luckily, we’ve put together a quick guide that pairs the types of people you know with hometown gifts that are sure to impress. It’s a win-win situation—you get to support local entrepreneurs and earn a reputation as the best gift-giver ever.
1. The New Grad
For some, college is a such a transformative experience that the memories made during those four years remain fresh for years afterward. A sweater with a university logo or the name of a college town can give your gift recipient a huge feeling of pride and a sense of belonging to a tight-knit community.
2. The Locavore
A hardcore locavore is fully committed to knowing EVERYTHING about their town. The best BBQ, the newest cafes—even down to the best dog groomer or drycleaner. Thrill the locavore in your life with some local or regional foods or art. Better yet, find something so new in town that even THEY haven’t discovered it: they locavore will remember a gift like this for the rest of their lives!
3. The Nostalgic Type
Everyone feels a sense of pride when they see their hometown’s name emblazoned on a t-shirt, pillow, or keychain. Hometown pride items make excellent gifts for the friend or colleague who still cherishes every moment spent in his or her birthplace and wants a way to remember the good times.
4. The Quirky One
Some people simply are just meant to stand out, whether through a unique fashion sense or quirky interior design. Go for gifts that are fun, colorful, or tongue-in-cheek for the eccentric in your life who loves creating a unique space with bold décor choices. Posters or pillows celebrating their town or region are sure to be a hit.
5. The Newcomer
What’s the best way to mark the beginning of a fresh start in a new town? By getting acquainted with everything that town has to offer. Send the new kid on the block a gift that offers a taste of local cuisine and culture.
6. The Cup Collector
Did you ever visit a friend’s house and discover a cabinet overflowing with coffee mugs, beer glasses, and tumblers? For those who always keep a trusty stash of cups to use, a mug or glass imprinted with a local or regional shout-out would be a welcome addition to the collection.
7. The Foodie
Of all the types of people out there, foodies are among the easiest to buy gifts for. With their broad tastes and adventurous palates, the foodies in your life want to savor unique flavors and try the latest and greatest culinary creations. Getting the right gift is as simple as visiting a local gift shop or farmers’ market to pick up some homemade jam, barbecue sauce, or savory snacks.
8. The Gardening Enthusiast
Gardening enthusiasts love nothing more than finishing off their landscaped masterpieces with subtle touches that exhibit their unique flair. A garden flag, perhaps referring to the landscape or regional culture, would surprise and delight your favorite gardening enthusiast.
9. The Small Business Supporter
For those with an aversion to big box retailers and faceless corporations, small businesses represent a chance to support family-owned companies and small-time ventures. Present this person with a gift from an area shop or artisan and watch his or her eyes light up with delight.
10. The Seasonal Fanatic
Everyone knows at least one person who’s obsessed with getting the right décor, food, and clothes for each season. These people yearn for special times when they can indulge in their favorite seasonal treats and dress up their homes according to tradition. You can’t go wrong with a gift that celebrates winter holidays, the fall season, or summer delights, whether it’s a treat that calls to mind the changing weather or a plant that blooms in a certain month.
11. The Beer Snob
True beer snobs care about the vessels from which they consume their preferred brew. Spice up their ho-hum stein collection with engraved glassware featuring maps and other locally focused designs.
12. The Baseball Cap Wearer
You know the type: always hiding underneath the bill of a baseball cap. For your friends who can never seem to separate from their trusty hats, a ball cap with their favorite local sports team, small town, or university icon is always a winner.
13. The Gift Card Fanatic
There are two types of people in the world: those who loathe receiving gift cards and those who absolutely love it. While many wouldn’t get overly excited about a gift card for, say, a national retailer or restaurant, a voucher for a local gift shop is something most people can get behind. Help your recipient support a small business that celebrates the community and brings its members together.
14. The Coffee Addict
What’s the perfect gift for the one who’s always on the go, cup of joe in hand? Try a portable mug or thermos imprinted with the logo of their hometown or university. Better yet, a craft coffee from a local coffee roaster will thrill the coffee lover in your life.
15. The T-Shirt Collector
This person has a t-shirt for everything. Favorite shows, quirky sayings, beloved sports teams —and the collection just keeps growing. A t-shirt that shouts out this person’s stomping grounds is the perfect gift to support their no-frills fashion choices.
16. The Diehard Sweets Lover
Anyone with a perpetual sweet tooth can tell you that sugar cravings are real. For a gift that’s sure to please this person, just head to your town’s gift shop to grab a few candied nuts, chocolates, or baked goods made by a local vendor.
17. The Health Nut
Natural products are always a hit with the health nuts in your social circle who eschew junk food in favor of whole foods and minimally processed products. Focus on locally grown fruit and nuts for these types. You can’t go wrong with jams, pickled vegetables, or organic sauces, either.
18. The Shopaholic
There’s nothing as big as the thrill of browsing to shopaholics. Send them into a local gift shop and watch as they move from display to display, inspecting and adoring every little thing and sampling any treats available. For those who truly love to shop, the joy is in finding the right gift vs. simply receiving it. A gift card to a local shop is the perfect gift for the shopaholic in your life.
19. The Happy Couple
It’s not always easy to know what to get recently engaged or married couples, since each pair of lovebirds has unique tastes. Why not spring for a gift that commemorates the college or town where they met or are building their new life together?
20. The Barbecue Pro
Don’t presume to tell a barbecue pro how to make his or her masterpieces. After so many hours spent in front of a hot grill, chances are he or she has it down to an art. Still, any barbecue enthusiast is sure to appreciate the unique sauces and marinades found in local gift shops and farmers’ markets. Get the grilling fanatic in your life something they can slather on their creations to take them to the next level.
When you want to take your gift-giving game to the next level, hometown gifts are a perfect choice. Who doesn’t love supporting local merchants and hometown entrepreneurs? And you’re more likely to find a gift with that extra personal touch that way. Get to know the merchants in your hometown now so you’ll be ready with that perfect hometown gift idea when the time comes.