21 November 2023

Mission Impossible: Shopping for the Hard to Shop For

There's no question that one of the most stressful parts of the holiday season is picking the right gift. Whether the recipient is new to the family, a neighbor, or someone you've known all your life, we place pressure on ourselves to make sure we're giving something that they'll enjoy, use, consume, and think of us fondly while they do. Some names on the gift list are easier to shop for than others, which lessens the pressure — but once those names are crossed out, you're left wondering: what do you give the ones who are simply impossible to shop for?

Been there. That's why we at Musubi Kiln wanted to create a gift guide you can reference as you go down the list. We firmly believe handmade Japanese home goods are perfect for anyone, so here's our list, with an idea of who to give it to.


  • For the mom who says, "You don't have to get me anything"
  • For your minimalist friend who loves dinner parties
  • For the new grad on your team
  • For your crafty, recycling-minded neighbor
  • For the ones who are just too hard

For the mom who says, "You don't have to get me anything"

Seikou Kiln Ginsai Kutani Kagami Mochi

Moms who say this may not have a specific gift in mind to add to your shopping list. So instead, give her something she doesn't even know she wants. Kagami mochi, or "mirror rice cake," is an offering to the Shinto god so that he will bestow fortune on the house. As you may realize from the name, the traditional one is made of edible goods, but this one is made of stunning, smooth ceramic with a silvery ginsai glaze that makes it shimmer. Tell her to set it out on December 28th and when the clock strikes midnight, she will welcome 2024 with lots of luck.

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For your minimalist friend who loves dinner parties

Ominato Bunkichi Hemp Leaf Wazen Kumiko Tray L

For minimalists, it's all about gifts that can be used in a multitude of ways, and look good doing it. This tray is made of Akita cedar, using a traditional woodworking technique called Kumiko, which does not involve nails or adhesive. With its acrylic plate, it works well as a food tray for parties, but can also be a tea tray, a decorative platform for lucky charms and figurines, or simply set out on its own. After all, they're minimalist.

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For the new grad on your team

Matsukan Sakura Breeze Wakasa Lacquerware Set of Two Pairs of Chopsticks 23 cm (9.1 in) / 21 cm (8.3 in) with Chopstick Rests (Set of Two)

They're fresh out of school and just starting their career and adult life, so why not treat them to a little holiday gift to say, "Keep up the good work!" One of our favorite gifts around the office is a set of really nice chopsticks—you can never have enough. The right set makes food taste even more delicious because they're full of the good intentions of the person who gave it to you. These chopsticks are especially thoughtful because they come with exclusive chopstick rests, completing the traditional setting in one unique gift. 

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For your crafty, recycling-minded neighbor

Red Plum Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth 27in

Every Musubi Kiln gift comes wrapped in a furoshiki, but you can also gift furoshiki to your eco-friendly friends. This furoshiki is vibrant red cotton with an iridescent plum flower in the center, an iconic Japanese symbol. Striking and easy to care for, this furoshiki can be used in myriad ways: gift wrap, bento wrap, shopping bag, scarf, decoration… Just to name a few. 

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For the ones who are just too hard

Musubi Kiln Gift Card

Give them the gift of choosing for themselves. Yes, a gift card can feel impersonal, but a gift card from Musubi Kiln, with all our traditional Japanese tableware, is truly special. Available in different denominations between 8000 JPY to 50000 JPY (don't worry, we'll do the conversion for you), you can let them make their own happy holiday.

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