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9 gift ideas for people who have everything

When it comes to holiday shopping, sometimes you've got to be innovative.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 11, 2011 2:04PM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


When it comes to great gift ideas, I always struggle.Len Penzo on MSN Money


At my house we draw names each year for the annual Christmas gift exchange.


The drawing is usually done each Christmas, long after all the presents from the current holiday have been opened and everybody has stuffed themselves on the traditional "chickadel" dinner – actually a homemade doughy Italian pasta, better known as cavatelli.


Everybody's names are put into a Santa hat and then we all take turns to see who we’re going to buy presents for on the following Christmas.


This Christmas I drew Uncle Paul’s name -- which really put me in a bit of a spot.  I get intimidated when I draw somebody's name like Uncle Paul out of the hat.


What do you get an octogenarian who has all the money he'll ever need, and already has everything he'd ever want? Let’s face it, when the guy wants something he's going to buy it.


I asked for some great gift ideas from his wife, but according to Aunt Mary Jane, "Paul’s had everything he’s ever wanted since 1979."


See what I mean? The guy already has everything. Yes, I realize I could make some homemade Christmas gifts, but that's just not me.


Then again, after a bit more thinking, I realized Uncle Paul really couldn't have everything. That’s impossible.


So to prove it, I recently came up with nine great gift ideas that I am certain Uncle Paul can’t say he already has.


In fact, upon further reflection, I think this list is so good that it basically applies to anybody else who seemingly has everything too. See if you don’t agree …


1. Car washes or detailing

Why it's a great gift idea: Almost everybody has a car, but how many people have their own car wash? No matter what the season or occasion, what could be a nicer present for the guy or gal that has everything than a nice shiny clean vehicle? Get a gift certificate to a specific car wash. If you want to spend a little more, contact a mobile auto detailer that will come to the gift recipient’s home or place of employment.


OK, So What’s It Gonna Cost Me: That depends. The cheapest hand-dry car washes will usually run you at least $10 a pop. Car detailing prices will run from between $60 and $180, depending on the size of the vehicle, interior style, type of services selected, and even geographical location.


2. Car repairs

Why it’s a great gift idea: Those who have everything may have a butler, but it is very doubtful they have their own car mechanic. Most car dealerships and many other auto repair houses offer gift certificates that can be used when it's time to bring the car in for repairs or routine maintenance like oil changes.


OK, so what's it gonna cost me: That depends on what needs to be repaired, of course. A gift certificate for $100 will certainly cover the cost of a couple of routine oil changes -- or at least defray the cost of larger repair expenses.


3. Hot air balloon rides

Why it's a great gift idea: If you are looking to give a gift that offers a truly beautiful and unforgettable experience, then this is it! I have gone on two hot air balloon rides in my lifetime -- a sunrise trip over southern California's Temecula wine country, and a sunset journey that started on the San Diego coastline. Both trips were absolutely magnificent and ended with post-flight champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Everybody should do this at least once in their lifetime! You can check out the Web for a list of companies in your area with FAA-licensed balloon pilots.


OK, so what’s it gonna cost me: As a point of reference, for balloon rides in southern California, one-hour rides on a weekday in a shared basket can be found for as low as $125 per person; weekend ride prices are about 15% higher. Private two-person rides usually start in the neighborhood of $400 per person.


4. Art, cooking, or dance lessons

Why it's a great gift idea: Dad might have everything, but he certainly can't do everything. If he can't make a piece of toast without burning it, try buying him a few cooking lessons. If he has two left feet, then dancing lessons would be a good bet. Art lessons are another idea. The possibilities are endless.


OK, so what’s it gonna cost me: As an example, a four-hour in-house private cooking lesson for two from Chef Professor begins at $400. The tuition cost includes all food products needed for the class. Private dance lessons usually start around $50 per hour; group lessons are considerably cheaper. Private art lessons usually start at around $20 per hour.


5. The gift of charity

Why it's a great gift idea: Perhaps Aunt Edna feels passionately about a particular cause -- or several. If so, give them the gift of charity. For example, by giving them a TisBest Charity Gift Card for a predetermined amount, they can choose from over 200 charities to contribute to!


OK. so what’s it gonna cost me: TisBest gift cards come in increments of $10, $20, $30, $50, $75, $100, and $200. You can also set your own amount.


6. Membership in a gift of the month club

Why it's a great gift idea: Gift of the month clubs are a great gift for folks who have everything. Wine clubs such as the original Wine of the Month Club offer a great way for wine connoisseurs and newbies alike to sample and learn about new wines and offer a fun and interesting way to build wine collections. But for those who prefer something other than wine, Amazing Clubs offers -- get this -- 32 different monthly clubs to choose from. In order, Amazing Clubs' top five Clubs of the Month are: Wine, Beer, Chocolate, Flower and Hot Sauce -- but they also offer monthly clubs as varied as cheese, neckties, tea, salsa, cigars, pasta, and even dog treats. There are also companies that offer great gift baskets and online flowers specials every month.


OK, so what's it gonna cost me: Again, it depends. Amazing Clubs offers options for three-, four-, six- and twelve-month memberships. The cost varies depending on which club you choose. Obviously the cheese club is going to run more than, say, the doggie treats. To give you an idea, here is a partial list of Amazing Clubs’ three-month membership prices as of the date this article was written (there is a slight per-month discount for longer memberships): Beer ($102); Chocolate ($90); Hot Sauce ($57); Cheese ($135); Necktie ($72); Pasta ($87); Salsa ($60); Dog Treats ($60); Cigars ($90).


7. Spa services

Why it's a great gift idea: Very few people take the time to indulge themselves in luxurious activities, so why not offer that hard-to-buy-for person a weekend at the spa or maybe even a series of monthly spa treatments? Almost all day spas now offer specials and package deals -- such as a massage and facial -- that can be mixed and matched to customize your gift for the recipient. Longer spa treatments may also include lunch.


OK, so what's it gonna cost me: Generally speaking, prices at luxury day resorts and hotels will cost more than other day spas. A one-hour Swedish massage in smaller markets will typically run you between $80 and $130. The same massage at a luxury resort can run upwards of $200. If you are on a tighter budget, spa manicures -- which the Honeybee tells me are more thorough than strip-mall manicures -- typically start around $40. Spa pedicures usually run in the neighborhood of $50. Again, these prices will usually run higher at a luxury resort.


8. Something personal

Why it's a great gift idea: Everybody has their talents, so put them to good use! For example, if you are a skilled painter, why not utilize your skills and create a special painting the person would love. If you are in to scrap booking, put together a great collage. The more personalized you make it, the bigger the "wow" factor, so don’t hold back and really let those creative juices flow!


OK, so what's it gonna cost me:  Material prices will vary depending on the project, but the labor is free.


9. Groceries

Why it's a great gift idea: Grandparents on a very tight budget will always appreciate a gift certificate for groceries. You can give them a gift certificate to their local grocery store, or you can arrange for them to have groceries delivered direct to their home through services such as Amazon or WeGoShop.


OK, so what's it gonna cost me: That's up to you. How much do good old Grandma and Grandpa wolf down in groceries each week? Keep in mind the home delivery option will be a little less cost efficient, but hey -- aren't Nana and Papa worth it?


What ideas do you have for the guy or gal who has everything? As for me, I just hope Uncle Paul enjoys his pedicure this year.


More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:

Nov 11, 2011 4:15PM
The majority of those ideas were way too expensive.  If I had that kind of budget of spend on the "person who has everything" then I wouldn't be at a loss as to what to get them.  I would really like to see more $50 and under ideas.
Nov 12, 2011 12:05PM
Gift cards/certificates.  Really?  Sounds rather impersonal - why don't you just recommend handing them over some cash.  These sound like gifts you give to someone you know very little about - and want to woo them with your big bucks spending.  Stupid, in my opinion.
Dec 2, 2011 10:18PM
Great article. I would like to add a website that actually has over 30 different gourmet gift clubs ranging from salsa, tea, olive oil and BBQ sauce of the month clubs to clubs like soda of the month and Ketchup of the Month. Take a look at our website ofTheMonthShop to get a true look at a of the Month club website.
Nov 23, 2011 4:28AM
When I shop for a relative who has everything;  instead I give the amount  I would have spent on a gift to the local Food Bank or the hospital foundation in that relative's name, and we let him know what charity we have helped.
Dec 20, 2013 4:39PM
what i did was buy gifts from and all the gifts we've gotten are really cool. It's just $10 and you get random Surprise gifts.  On their Facebook page you can see some of the gifts they've sent. 

Dec 12, 2012 4:03AM
Dec 12, 2012 4:02AM

Or try a Gift Membership Soaps 6 Month Soap of the Month Club DEC15 gets 15% off of any order at

Nov 12, 2011 1:32PM
Most of these gift ideas are way too expensive. If I had that kind of money hanging around, let me tell you, I wouldn't be spending it on gifts for other people.
Nov 11, 2011 5:07PM
I think "of the month" clubs are a great gift idea.  But when I was thinking about getting one as a gift, I thought about those big sites that offer dozens of different products like "tie of the month" and "cookie of the month" and it made me wonder: who is picking the sauces, and how will I know if they'll be any good?  That's why I started - we focus on gourmet sauces only.  We do kitchen tests, reviews, and recipes, so you know exactly the kind of quality that will get sent to you.  And it's not that expensive, IcyBlueRose: it's around $13 a month.
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