>>See the NEW 2016-17 list here<<
Whether it’s a holiday, birthday, anniversary, or just to say “Hi!”, this list can help you choose the perfect gift for your introverted, highly sensitive friend, spouse, co-worker, or family member. Featured here are presents for people who are overwhelmed by social and environment stimuli, are empathetic, sensitive to beauty, and cherish privacy and peacefulness.
Two Disclaimers: This list is a generalization, of course. Not every HSP or introvert likes to drink tea and read books voraciously. Please consider this list as simply potentially helpful ideas.
Also, please note that introverts and HSPs are not the same thing. All introverts are not HSPs, and vice versa. But just for the sake of this list, I have lumped them together.
Firstly, here is the best gift for an HSP: Something personal, personalized, well-thought out, or hand-made. HSPs are touched by details and care. An example: Around 7 years ago, a friend made me a little book full of photos of us, funny stories, and reminiscences. She gave it to me before I moved away. She made the entire thing by hand, and it was absolutely incredible, creative, and touching. I cried and laughed as I read it…I still cry and laugh as I read it years later. Gifts like this mean the world to an HSP. Putting time and effort into something shows real care and love. How many other gifts from 8 years ago do you think I remember?
Don’t be afraid to create something or select a gift that shows you truly pay attention to your HSP friend. They will be touched. Just remind yourself what gift-giving is all about: showing someone how much you care. And making them happy.
OKAY, HERE’S REAL STUFF YOU CAN BUY
The Ostrich pillow (light version)
The ultimate napping solution! This wrap-around pillow can be worn over the eyes to block light and allow the head to rest comfortably against a wall or window. Perfect for travelers or commuters. it’s comfort + privacy. Two of my favorite things.
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint Active Noise-Canceling On-Ear Headphones
The ambient noise of the outside world can distract HSPs and introverts, sap their energy, and leave them grumpy. These headphones are more affordable than the gold-standard Bose QuietComforts, and were ranked by CNET as one of the best noise-canceling headphones of 2014.
Aromatherapy: Essential Oil Gift Set
HSPs are sensitive to smells. I would dab these oils on my wrists, burn them in a diffuser, or just sniff them in the bottles and enjoy. It is nice to have beautiful scents around you. The set includes tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus lemongrass, peppermint, and sweet orange and comes in a lovely box for gifting.
Tea Sampler: Tea Forte Sampler Collection
This would be a nice gift for a co-worker who likes tea (don’t buy it for someone who hasn’t shown interest in tea!) The giftable tin contains fifteen Tea Forte silken tea infusers in black currant, chamomile citron, Earl Grey, jasmine green, and white ginger pear.
Tea Traveler Mug
Another gift for a tea drinker! This 3-piece travel mug is perfect for brewing loose leaf tea, keeping the leaves separate from drinkable tea. The double-walled, BPA-free plastic bottle keeps tea hot and hands cool and the clear mug shows off the floating tea leaves inside.
Rainbow Vision Sand Picture
Relaxing, mesmerizing, and soothing. Turn the picture, and the sand slowly moves to create a new picture. Watch the falling sand create mountains, valleys, and dunes. Soooo calming. Watch a video of it here.
Adult Coloring Books
Doesn’t grabbing a set of colored pencils, crayons, or markers, and settling down for some coloring sound soothing? Adult coloring books are having a moment right now. Buy a book and some crayons for a sometimes-stressed friend for a thoughtful gift. You can even color together.
Non-Ticking Silent Wall Clock
Do you know an HSP who is really bothered by noise? Get them a non-ticking clock!
Bucky 40 Blinks Ultralight Sleep Mask
This ain’t your grandma’s sleep mask. The Rolls Royce of eyeshades, its contoured cups conform to fit comfortably on most faces and it doesn’t put pressure on the eyes, allowing the wearer to blink freely in the delicious darkness. Lots of colors and patterns are available.
This one’s just for the ladies. The Secret Sweater can be hidden under jackets and blazers without adding bulk (secret sweater, get it?), but it’s cute enough to be worn over a lightweight top or dress. Made of cotton & modal blended interlock fabric, it’s easier to care for than a regular sweater and packs into a small pouch. Clever.
Headspace Meditation App Subscription
Give a gift subscription to Headspace, an app that can lighten stress, improve sleep, and give users a calmer, clearer, happier way of life through unique daily guided meditations. (My friends rave about it.)
Story of an HSP Print by Eamon Reilly
This lovely print can be ordered as a photo, on canvas, or as an art print, for $23 and up.
A Gift for Yourself: A Year of Gratitude
HSPs often enjoy expressing gratitude to people in their lives. This elegant box set contains 52 thank you cards—one for each week in the year—and tips for writing meaningful thank you notes, as well as a guided journal to record your experiences. Maybe over this year you will reconnect with someone from your past or brighten the day of someone who feels taken for granted. From Uncommon Goods.
A Gift for Your Highly Sensitive Child: Random Acts Of Kindness Kits (Family version)
This stocking-stuffer kit includes cards with acts of kindness to be performed by your child or the entire family. You may find yourself writing a letter to someone who inspired you, picking up the trash on your street, giving genuine compliments and more. You can keep track of your good deeds online and see other deeds across the globe.
The Family version includes an interactive activity board to keep track of your family’s progress, discussion cards to inspire meaningful family conversation, and do-it-yourself cards so kids can make their own. There’s a teen version, too. From Uncommon Goods.
A gift certificate to a class: like a class for cooking, photography, gardening, pottery, language, drawing, or sewing. HSPs (especially high sensation seekers) enjoy learning and creating things. Select an activity that they’ve previously shown interest in. Be cautious about giving a gym membership or a certificate for dancing classes.
Tickets to a museum, concert, play, or festival in which they’ve shown interest: Along the same lines, this gift shows you pay attention to what they like.
Donate to a cause that’s near their heart. Give money to an animal rescue, a medical foundation, environmental causes, or a charity that you know they care about.
And of course…Books
If you are nervous about selecting a specific book, just include the gift receipt so it can be exchanged if needed.
The Highly Sensitive Person and The Highly Sensitive Person in Love by Elaine Aron
These books are must-reads for those who are trying to understand high sensitivity in themselves or loved ones.
A Highly Sensitive Person’s Life: stories & tips for those who experience the world intensely by ME!
This blog-style collection of essays balances humor and sound advice in personal stories and honest reflections. Readers may see themselves described in these pages and think: “I didn’t know anyone else felt this way!” (Note: the book contains a lot of content from this blog!)
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Susan Cain’s best-selling 2012 book took the world by (quiet) storm and kickstarted the current worldwide interest in introversion. It’s beautifully written and researched.
The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney Psy.D.
This is the second book about introverts that I would recommend reading–after Quiet.
Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield
A fantastic introduction for people who’ve always wanted to try meditation but didn’t know how to start. This book helps you stick with a daily meditation practice and create tranquility in your everyday life.
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
I wrote a blog post about this enlightening book that felt like it was written exactly about me! It made me realize–when a problem is disturbing me, I shouldn’t ask, “What should I do about it?” I should ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?” And so much more. Good stuff.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
A very giftable book for anyone looking to make a change in their life, the four agreements are these: Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.
The bottom line: if you get your highly sensitive friend a gift that shows you pay attention to them and their interests and desires, you’re golden.
The gift does not have to be expensive. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost a thing. It just needs to show thoughtfulness and care. That means everything.
What is your ideal gift? Leave a comment and I may include it in this post.
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Like this article? Check out the Highly Sensitive Person podcast!
I actually like gift cards because:
1. I can buy what I really want
2. It tells me the person honestly didn’t know what to get me so they cared enough not to give me something I would probably not like …like aromatherapy or candles which give me migraines
However that’s not to say I don’t enjoy personalized gifts that have meaning…because I like those best of all.
I love giftcards as well. I’m an hsp….maybe I don’t fit the mold when it comes to gift giving .
A lot of people like gift cards, Dani! You aren’t weird. 🙂
Hey I’m an introverted HSP and I love the idea of a secret sweater, the sand art and the HSP poster to put on the wall. I actually would love a gift card as long as it’s for a place I actually like to go.
I’m an HSP, and I also like giftcards. Mostly because I’m picky about what I want (specific color, sizing, specific details, certain obscure book, etc.), and most people would not (understandably) know what very specific item I would want. I would much much rather receive a gift card than a random sweater I would never wear. To me, that random sweater is a waste of a gift. If I try to return it (with no gift receipt), I get the lowest price it ever sold for which isn’t much :(. To me a giftcard is a free license to spend something on myself without guilt. I get to go and pick out anything I want! And on someone else’s dime. This way, I get to buy things that I might normally not allow myself the luxury to buy, even if I can afford it. Giftcards are great for the picky, detail-oriented person! 🙂
Hi Linda! Since doing my podcast episode on gift giving and this post about gift cards, I have really questioned my stance on gift cards. I think, in theory, they don’t seem like the most “thoughtful” cards, but in a practical sense….they really do make sense! Thanks for weighing in!!
I’m HSP, and I like gift cards as well.
Even gift cards can be tailored to the recipient by vendor or, for a generic vendor like Amazon, enclose a note about their interest, “have fun picking out some new fishing lures.” I have also asked small shop owners to make a gift certificate.
I’m a subscription person. Magazines, Birch Box, Beauty Tube, you name it! I get to try little samples of things (nail polish, make up, hair product, etc). Sometimes I get a winner, sometimes I don’t. Whatever I don’t use, or dont want (smells too strong, not my color, etc), I give to the nieces, they LOVE it! None of it goes to waste or takes up a lot of space. It’s like Cousin Eddie said in Christmas Vacation “thats the gift that keeps giving the whole year”. So true!
Good point, I should have included some subscription boxes!! I love them too! 🙂
I have been planning to go shopping for gifts for a while now, but I haven’t gone yet. I worry too much about choosing the right gift. I really appreciate the suggestion in your article, I think some of these are really helpful, and I haven’t thought of a lot of them before. I think I’ll get my girlfriend one of those “secret sweaters”! Thanks.
My favorite things about gifts isn’t really receiving them, but shopping for them. I try to think about what someone has said or I think about what means a lot to them. I often buy birthday gifts or Christmas presents months ahead of time because the right thing will show up. Usually the things I find that have the best response aren’t very expensive, but just hit a chord with someone. I don’t get it right sometimes, but when I do really get it right, I feel like I’ve won the lottery! 🙂 I like gift cards if they are for someplace I would use them, but they aren’t my favorite thing to get. If someone knows I’d like a certain book, I love getting books…and always gift cards for Amazon…to buy a book.
Is there anything else besides gift cards and the above gifts I can get to give a good friend for his birthday thankyou
Hi iris, here is an updated list with a few more items: http://highlysensitiveperson.net/gift-guide-highly-sensitive-people-introverts-2016-17/