Everyone has someone on their Christmas list that’s impossible to shop for. You know the ones – the ones who have everything, the ones who buy themselves anything they want, that one sort of distant relative you don’t know well enough to get something personal. But before you resign yourself to falling back on one of the traditional go-to’s – toiletries, food baskets, or alcohol – you might want to consider one other fool-proof gift-giving option: blankets.
Why Gift A Blanket?
Buying any kind of household decor can be a little hit-and-miss, especially if you’re buying for someone whose taste you don’t know well. But while bedding like sheets, towels, and pillows might be over-reaching (and requires a bit of guesswork when it comes to personal preferences), pretty much everyone can find a use for a warm, snuggly spare blanket. Especially in winter, a little extra warmth is more than welcome, and more than that, blankets hit on a few big musts for awkward gift giving: they aren’t bulky or clutter-catchers, and you won’t accidentally trip over scent or food dislikes or aversions that can make something like a snack basket or toiletry or candle set wasted.
Where To Start
Of course, not all blankets are created equal. You’ve got a world of options out there when it comes to size, shape, color, style, and fabric – from hand-knit throws to fleece blankets printed with the logo of a favorite sports team or grandchild’s smiling face. And in this case there is no “right” answer – one type of blanket will be a better option for some than others. That said, there are a few pros and cons to each that can help you decide.
Fleece blankets are probably the most “giftable” of any kind of blanket. They’re warm, snuggly, and soft, but also relatively affordable and available in a huge variety of styles. They can be custom printed with images or easily made from a few yards of hand-selected fabric, on top of a pretty impressively wide selection of pre-printed styles. They’re also squishy and easy to stow away, especially in smaller sizes. If you want to spend a little time finding a blanket that reminds you of someone (but that you won’t be hurt if they don’t keep out year round), fleece is a good way to go. On the flip side, a basic fleece blanket can feel a little impersonal. You can get really simple ones for as little as a few dollars, but the quality of the blanket will vary widely and proportional with the cost. Fleece blankets can also be a little finicky to care for (they don’t like high heat, which means they can easily be ruined if they aren’t washed and dried with care). Fleece blankets are definitely meant to be used, but don’t have the longevity or sentimental quality of a knit or quilted blanket.
Handmade quilts are a tried-and-true traditional gift, but if you’re reading this list, chances are you aren’t also hand-sewing some fabric squares. That said, there are lots of commercially-available quilts, both of the traditional colorful square variety and the more general three-layers-of-fabric variety. Quilts are typically large and weighty but smooth-surfaced and a little rigid, which makes them perfect for bedding but less great for snuggling. Their colorful designs are also good for showcasing your giftee’s personality, and while quilts can be a bit on the loud side, they’re sort of supposed to be, which means they won’t look “off” except maybe paired with a really modern decor. Nicer quilts can also be a bit on the pricey side, which can make a bright, colorful patchwork quilt a something of a gamble if you’re uncertain about the taste of the person you’re buying for, but if you’re confident of a color scheme or pattern, quilts are high quality bedding that’s thin enough to stow away well when it’s not in use, which makes them great statement pieces that won’t hog a lot of storage space.
As with quilts, hand-knit or crochet blankets and afghans are a time-tested go-to of grandmothers and the craftily inclined, but while it’s probably a little late to pick up some yarn and struggle through a youtube knitting tutorial, it’s definitely not too late to pick up a cozy knit blanket (store bought or hand-made by someone else, your choice!). Knit blankets are often lighter and less bulky than fleece and more flexible than quilts, which makes them easier to stow and nice to curl up with. They don’t have the same intensely soft, snuggly touch that fleece does, but they’re also much more durable, able to stand up to a little more use and abuse without showing their age. The main drawback of knit blankets is that there’s something of a lack of variety in the designs (there’s a practical limit to the colors and patterns/textures you can get), and genuine hand made blankets take a long time to make – which means they’re accordingly pricey. Machine-knit blankets are much less expensive, but tend to be single color and not particularly complex in their designs.
Still feeling a little iffy about whether or not you can pass off a blanket as a thoughtful gift? Well, you can always bundle it with a few other seasonal add-ons. A pair of mugs and coffee or cocoa (homemade or gourmet, of course), a nice set of candles, bubble bath or bath bombs and slippers, a teapot or teacup and tea, seasonally-scented wax melts or a diffuser, chocolates or other sweet treats, or just a nice bottle of The Good Stuff can all help round out a blanket-based gift basket. Word to the wise, though, if you’re going to go the gift basket route, assemble it yourself. After all, the point is to let your giftee know that you’re thinking of them, and that you want them warm, safe, happy, and pampered this holiday season!