Undoubtedly the coffee drinker in your life already has many mugs. They may even have too many mugs. This is why you should not try to pick out the “perfect” mug for them based on what you think you know of their design and/or pop culture preferences (shout-out to the well-meaning friend who once got me a Yoda mug that I should’ve loved—I like Star Wars! I like coffee!—but couldn’t stand the sight of).
What you should do instead is order them a custom mug based on an in-joke or incorporating something from their personal lives. The trick here is that even if they don’t like it aesthetically, they will have warm feelings* about it because it is personal, and therefore any perceived faults it may have are rendered moot. Take, for instance, the mug you see above. Normally I would not choose such a plain mug for myself, but it was a Secret Santa gift from Claire Lower, Lifehacker’s senior food editor, and she chose to emblazon it with a random quote from my son I’d posted to Instagram: “I would probably be dead right now if I was a snail. You too. Everyone.” (He makes a good point, no?) It is therefore invaluable to me and I use it constantly.
*Or at least a feeling of guilt/general obligation, which is often all I can muster these days. (But I really am fond of Claire’s mug.)
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