Generic? No Way. Thoughtful? Heck yeah.
Credit: Nikole Mock / EyeEm/Getty Images

Gift-giving is truly an art. Some people love it, and some people dread it more than anything in the world. If you fall in the latter category, I’m here to offer you a solution that I firmly stand behind. It requires just a little bit of time and thought (like any good gift should), and it costs no more than $20. It’s personal and highly customizable, and whoever receives it is going to absolutely love it. This is going to be the year that you finally crush holiday gifts.

Watch Now: Food Gifts Under $1

I have a theory that there a two characteristics an item must possess in order for it to be a great gift. The first, is that the item should be somewhat relevant to you and the person you are giving it to. While it’s nice to give your friend a bar of soap or a new cookbook, if it’s not something that you and said friend have discussed or feel strongly about, then it won’t be a memorable gift. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being that friend who is notorious for swinging by Bath & Body Works or Barnes & Noble for some last minute gift (it’s the thought that counts and you’re doing your best!), but we’re going for gold this year. The second characteristic of an A+ gift is that it’s something that the person wants, but wouldn’t go out of their way to buy for himself/herself. Sure, gifting life’s essentials is an efficient and effective way of spending money, but sometimes splurging for those superfluous items that you don’t necessarily need makes for a fun gift-giving experience.

All of this to say, the best gift that meets both of these criteria without absolutely robbing your wallet or your busy schedule, is a personalized mug. Littered with hilarious pictures of your friendship and cute phrases that you two (or three! Or four! You so popular!) might share, a customized mug does all the talking for you. Not only is it sure to become their favorite vessel to sip their morning coffee out of, it’s sure to spark conversation when they have guests over. Knowing that I am giving my friends a beverage-sipping experience that forces them to reminisce on all the special times we’ve shared is a great source of pride for me (it’s also a huge reason while I feel extremely confident about spending my hard-earned dollars on this particular gift). The best part? Visiting said friends and seeing that glorious mug boasting a one-of-a-kind friendship at the very front of their cupboard. Now that’s love.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane