Americans plan to spend generously this holiday season — an average of $932 on gifts, according to a Gallup poll. Unfortunately, many of the presents consumers spend their hard-earned cash on will go unopened.
In 2021, the National Retail Federation found that retailers expected roughly 17.8% of all merchandise sold to be returned — totaling $158 billion worth of goods.
Though there’s no way to ensure that your gift won’t be returned (and you should always include a gift receipt when possible, just in case), you can help safeguard against the odds of rejection by buying your loved ones presents that will stand the test of time. Here’s a look at nine gifts that will last forever — or a very long time, at least.
Cast Iron Cookware
“If you take care of cast iron cookware it’ll last for absolute decades, and is pretty versatile — it’s not just standard pans anymore,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “Shop brands like Lodge for cast iron pans of all sizes, but also bakeware, enameled cast iron, accessories and more.
“Prices are much more reasonable than other brands like Le Creuset, but I can speak from personal experience that as long as you take care of the items, Lodge is a quality product you can use for years to come.”
Dec. 6 price: $25 off $100; $50 off $175; $75 off $250.
“These things have a loyal following because of their absolute resilience that other brands just can’t compete with,” Ramhold said. “There’s a variety of designs to choose from, and if you shop direct, you’ll find the biggest variety. I’d be cautious about shopping third-party sites, though; make sure you’re actually getting Sheertex and not a knockoff.”
Dec. 6 price: Start at $29
Note: Generic image.
“If you picture a metal thermos from the [1980s], then odds are good you’re picturing something similar to the Stanley classic legendary bottle — and with good reason,” Ramhold said. “These things have been around for years and will last for years, but they won’t cost you a fortune. Whether you prefer to use it for coffee, tea, hot toddies or another warm beverage to ward off winter’s chill, this thermos is a solid pick for outdoor types who love camping as well as sport fans that’ll be packing stadiums and tailgating during the cooler months of the year.”
Dec. 6 price: On sale for $29.05, marked down from $41.50.
“There are people who received LEGO kits as children and 30 years later, they have those same sets,” Ramhold said. “LEGO toys will absolutely last forever if you take care of them. … They also make excellent gifts for almost all ages, and you can find various sets at stores like Target and Best Buy, as well as bookstores like Barnes & Noble.
“Obviously if you shop directly from LEGO, you’ll have the biggest selection, but other stores may have better sales especially around this time of year.”
Dec. 6 price: At Target, you can get LEGO sets for up to 30% off.
Glass Nail Files
“The standard nail file/emery boards can only be used for so long before you have to toss them out, but glass nail files can be used practically forever,” Ramhold said. “They do an amazing job in general, including filing nails more smoothly and without the grating noise and feeling that some emery boards or rough nail files have. They’re easy to care for, too: Typically give them a quick rinse under tap water and dry it off and it’s good to go.
“Even better, these can be found in a variety of stores and are generally pretty cheap — around $10 or even less. Look to stores like Ulta, Amazon, Sally Beauty, and more for these items. If you aren’t having any luck finding glass nail files, they may also be called crystal nail files.”
The Frieling French Press
“The Frieling French Press is one of the most durable pieces of equipment you will find,” said Alex Williams, CFP, an ecommerce business owner and the CFO of FindThisBest. “Coffee is an essential part of the day for everyone. And if you have something so many times of the day, it only makes sense to get a good French press. The Frieling French press is made entirely of stainless steel and will last a lifetime. Now your friends and family can enjoy great coffee without doing much at all.”
Dec. 6 price: $139 on Amazon.
Note: Generic image.
The Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 Bike Lock
“If you have someone in your life who loves cycling, I can’t stress just what an amazing present a reliable bike lock would be,” said Christine Beswick, the co-founder and CEO of Cycle Baron. “Bike locks are an important piece of equipment we should all have, but they can be quite expensive. I recommend the Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 Lock that’s both durable and lightweight to carry, something all cyclists will tell you is all they’re looking for in a reliable lock. This lock resists bolt cutters and leverage attacks, so you can be sure the person will be using it for many years.”
Dec. 6 price: $79 on Amazon.
A Painted Portrait
Jon Callahan, the founder and CEO of Fish Baron, explains how much a portrait gift can mean.
“Last year I won one of the biggest fighting contests. I held my trophy high, and I was so proud of my achievement I felt like I was at the top of the world,” Callahan said. “One friend, without telling me, hired a painter to come and paint [me in] my moment. It’s one of those professionals that are able to do it in little time if they’re at the scene. He stood a little bit apart from the main crowd but paid close attention to the scene to capture it in his mind.
“At the afterparty, my friend told me he had a surprise for me. He led me to the painter’s little working space. There, a gorgeous, handmade painting was waiting for me. It was me smiling and holding my trophy up, my friends were all beside me, enjoying the moment with me, and a crowd in front of me applauded. I’d seen photos of that moment, but having it in a painting made me much more special. I had it framed, and it now hangs in my office.”
Note: Image is a generic digital portrait.
“Plant a Tree In Honor of a Loved One,” said Noura Al-Rajhi with the National Forest Foundation (NFF). “Giving a tree is a gift that will give back for generations; and, for just $1 per tree, it’s a great deal for any budget.
“Your gift helps ensure a sustainable future for the many resources our National Forests and Grasslands provide to us all — fresh air and clean water, outdoor recreation experiences, diverse wildlife and wild places to roam.”
More From GOBankingRates