gift guide 2015 smaller

Are you struggling to find a gift for an introverted, highly sensitive friend, spouse, co-worker, or family member? Then this list is for you. Featured here are presents for people who are overwhelmed by social and environment stimuli, are empathic, sensitive to beauty, and cherish privacy and peacefulness.

Presenting: the Highly Sensitive Person & Introvert Gift Guide for 2016! (Updated Aug 2016)

(Note: Introverts and HSPs are not the same thing. All introverts are not HSPs, and vice versa. But just for the sake of this list, we have lumped them together.)

Here we go!


Secret Sweater
secret sweater
This ladies’ sweater has made it onto my list for the third year in a row! 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.

Buddha Board
The Buddha Board allows you to feel like an artist even if you have no artistic talent (like me!) The brush makes beautiful strokes and allows you to express creativity with only water. The drawings fade away after a few minutes. (I have the mini version and find it to be too small—get the regular size.) Here’s me drawing on my board:
monoprice headphones


Monoprice Hi-Fi Active Noise Canceling Headphones
The ambient noise of the outside world can distract HSPs and introverts, sap their energy, and leave them grumpy. CNET called these the “poor man’s Bose QuietComfort 14”. This Monoprice set is 70% as good as the QuietComforts for a third of the price (around $100).



journalA beautiful journal
There is just something about a brand new journal. The crisp, pristine pages, the leather cover, and the promise of brilliant thoughts caught on paper. The Italian company Moleskine is a good bet; they have a cult-like following for their elegant rounded corners, ribbon bookmark, and elastic closure.

Aromatherapy Oil Gift Set
oil set

I adore certain scents and the way they make me feel. There are lots of great essential oil gift set options on Amazon. (Note: Before buying any “scented” gift for an HSP, first try to notice if they’ve shown that they like scented candles or use perfume or oils. Some HSPs find scents too overwhelming.)

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. There’s a teen version, too.

Bamboo Tea Infuser Tumbler

This bamboo insulated, stainless steel tumbler comes with a mesh tea strainer. Brew and at home, in the office, or anywhere in between, and keep it warm all day.

mandala beach throw

Mandala design tapestry wall hanging
or beach throw

Beauty is one of my themes this year! These designs are so gorgeous and make my eyes and brain happy. I just ordered one!
Mind & Body Whole Body Heat Wrapblanket

This is a soft pad filled with microbeads that can be microwaved to create a layer of warmth. It’s meant to deeply penetrate muscles and soothe and restore the body from pain and tension. Its large design covers a lot of the body–put it around your neck, lower back, or across your lap. It looks cozy as hell!


Bonsai Tree
I’ve always wanted one! They are so beautiful and intricate; I feel a peacefulness when I look at them. As a gift, I recommend buying from a local shop, but you can get them on Amazon, too. Here are some tips on which variety to buy, depending on the climate of where the tree will reside.

“You Are Loved” art print

“One of the most important things we can do in this world is help our friends and family feel loved and special,” says Elizabeth McDonnell, the artist of this lovely piece. The print is signed by the artist and made in Philadelphia. ($30-46)

Ostrich Pillowostrich pillow
The Ostrich is a wrap-around pillow can be worn over the eyes to block light and allow the head to rest comfortably against a wall or window. It’s a conversation piece, too. There are knock-off versions if you don’t wanna drop $90 for the original.


Trtl Pillowtrtl pillow
Another pillow! What I love about this is that it’s non-bulky—which is my biggest gripe with travel pillows. It has rigid supports inside the fabric that keep your head and neck upright. Great gift for a frequent flyer!


Adult Coloring Books
coloring book
Coloring is very popular right now. I even saw a coloring Meetup the other day! It’s meditative and relaxing. A set of colored pencils and a coloring book is a great gift. There are beautiful books in so many styles and patterns.

Leaf Mindfulness and Activity Tracker by Bellabeat

This beautiful “smart jewelry” is like a Fitbit, but for mindfulness! The Leaf tracks steps, calories burned, sleep patterns, menstrual cycle, and more. It monitors stress levels, helping to manage and relieve stress through breathing exercises. It can be worn as a bracelet, necklace, or a clip. And it’s so pretty!!


Gift an Experience!

Float/Sensory Deprivation Tank Experience
When floating in sensory deprivation tank, your senses melt away into weightlessness. Google or Yelp the nearest tank and buy a gift certificate for a meditative and relaxing experience–they’re great gifts for pregnant women, too. Here’s my float experience.

A massage or spa experience.

A gift certificate to a class: like a class for cooking, photography, painting, gardening, pottery, language, or jewelry making. HSPs (especially high sensation seekers) enjoy learning and creating things. Select an activity that they’ve previously shown interest in.

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 cause, or a charity that you know they care about.

Take care of something. Arrange for meals, have their apartment cleaned, babysit–you get the idea. Take something off their plate.

Treat Yourself!

Hullo buckwheat pillow 
I used to have neck pain when I woke up in the morning. So annoying! But I’ve been using the Hullo for several months now, and I love it. With a flick of my hand, I can adjust how much filling is under my head; I push the buckwheat to be flatter or make a raised area under my neck. I had tried SO many kinds of pillows and none of them stopped the pain until I tried this. True story!

homedics sound spaHoMedics Sound Spa Relaxation Machine with 6 Nature Sounds
Recently, I was staying at a hotel and this machine was on the nightstand. Serendipity! I couldn’t fall asleep, so I was happy to have this little gadget next to me, with its easy-to-use controls for sounds of the ocean, rain, white noise, as well as an “off” timer. I bought one when I got home.

A Year of Gratitude letter kit
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.


hsp book gifts

A Highly Sensitive Person’s Life: stories & tips for those who experience the world intensely by ME.

Of course I have to mention my own book! This blog-style collection of essays balances humor and sound advice in personal stories and honest reflections. You might see yourself 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!)

The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron

A must-read for those who are trying to understand high sensitivity in themselves or loved ones.

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman

I interviewed Oliver on my podcast after falling in love with this book. If there’s someone in your life who isn’t the most “positive” person this would be a good gift for them. This book helped me feel a lot more at peace about my “glass half empty” personality. It explains powerful concepts from Buddhism, Stoicism, Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts, and more, in Oliver’s entertaining, accessible, and lovely writing style.

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.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

According to Dr. Elaine Aron, all HSPs are creative—by definition. “Many have squashed their creativity because of their low self-esteem; many more had it squashed for them, before they could ever know about it.” In Big Magic, Gilbert encourages readers to pursue a creative life “that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” I can’t wait to read it—and what a great gift this would be for almost anyone!

What is your ideal gift? Leave a comment and I may include it in this list.

See last year’s list here.

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