By Taylor Sicard
Christmas and birthdays are the most popular times to give gifts, followed by other major holidays. But you don’t need to wait for a particular occasion to give your friends gifts and show them that you care. Here are our favorite excuses to give friends presents “just because,” followed by six perfect gift ideas:
When To Give a “Just Because” Gift
Of course, you can give your friend a gift for no reason at all. However, if you’d like an excuse, there are plenty of smaller occasions that totally justify giving your friend a present:
- Starting a new job: The first days and weeks at a new job are stressful, and many new employees feel nervous about making a good impression and learning the ropes. Help your friend destress by sending them a little gift to show them how proud you are and that you believe they can do it. Items to decorate their desk or make their commute easier are especially appropriate. Or you can throw a simple party filled with balloons and food at their house to celebrate a new milestone.
- Having a busy week: If your friend is in the middle of crunch time at work or school, getting a sweet surprise gift can give them the burst of energy and affirmation they need to keep pushing through. You can also give them a large meal like lasagna that can be refrigerated or frozen so they can eat on the leftovers all week long.
- Entering a new life phase: It’s traditional to give people gifts at big transitions like weddings and baby showers, but there are so many other life milestones that are worth celebrating: getting promoted, sending their kids to college, moving across the country, etc. Even just the acknowledgement that your friend’s life is changing a lot can be really meaningful.
- Getting sick or injured: Coming down with the flu, breaking a bone and having other health issues seriously sucks. Your friend will probably be stuck at home and may have trouble cooking and shopping for themselves. Whether you give them a practical gift like a meal or a cheer-up gift like a silly movie, they will surely appreciate the gesture.
- Moving into a new place: Even if your friend isn’t hosting an official housewarming party, it’s a nice gesture to give them a little something for the new place. If they’re buying new decor to go along with the move, make sure to scope out the new look so your gift will match the aesthetic of the apartment.
- Losing a pet: If your friend was really close with their pet, they’re probably grieving right now. Giving them a nice card and a small gift can help them feel less alone and validate their feelings. Just be careful about gifts that can trigger memories of the pet (i.e., a paw print necklace). Some people find these incredibly thoughtful, while it can cause a wave of fresh grief for others.
- Giving thanks: Has your friend done something nice for you lately? If so, show them your gratitude with a gift! While you should definitely say thanks for big favors like taking you to the airport or helping you move, you can also do it for other “just because” reasons, like being a great listener or always being there for you.
- Showing encouragement: Maybe your friend tried something big—and failed. They got stage fright during a recital, bombed a presentation or got rejected from a program. Even if they don’t talk about it, your friend is undoubtedly feeling down, so encourage them by giving them a gift that shows them you’re proud of them for trying and believe that they will eventually succeed!
“Just Because” Gift Ideas
If you want to give your friend a “just because” gift, but aren’t sure what to get them, here are six ideas that won’t break the bank:
- Scented candles: Who doesn’t want a gift that makes your house smell nice and provides great ambient lighting? Give your friend a scented candle that reminds them of their hometown, a great memory or their favorite hobby. For instance, a candle that smells like books is a perfect gift for a dedicated reader.
- Low maintenance plants: Flower bouquets survive for a week or two at most. Give your friend a gift that will cheer them up for a long time to come by giving them a low maintenance potted plant like a succulent, cactus or money tree. With a little bit of care, they can survive for literally years.
- Food and beverages: Sending your friend some of their favorite drinks or snacks can help them power through a tough week. You can even pair it together with other food-related gifts for an extra treat. For example, give them a bag of their favorite local coffee alongside a cute mug or some of their favorite chocolates with a decorated ceramic snack dish.
- Self-care items: If you can’t afford to take your friend to the spa, help them pamper themselves at home with some self-care items. Think face masks, nail polish, nice lotions, beard oil and perfumed hand soap. You can also add a few more practical items, like hot packs for sore muscles.
- Handmade cards: If you don’t have a huge budget, a handmade, heartfelt card is a cheap gift with a lot of meaning. Even just a few kind words will give your friend a lot of encouragement. If you don’t want to wait for the mail to be delivered, you can also create your own digital greeting card and send it to your friend’s email instantaneously.
- Photo and frame: With the advent of smartphone cameras, we’re taking more photos than ever—and printing fewer and fewer. Take care of the hassle for your friend by printing out some cute photos of you all together and put them in a nice frame or collage they can put on their desk or hang on the wall.
If you’re tired of waiting for Christmas or a birthday, get your friend something “just because” you value their friendship. It’s always the right time to give a friend a present and show that you appreciate them!
Taylor Sicard serves as the Co-Founder and CMO of Homesick, a hand-poured candle company that offers specialized scents to invoke feelings of nostalgia. Taylor is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of all Homesick marketing and content initiatives. When he is not working or writing, Taylor enjoys spending time with his fiancé and exploring the great outdoors!