ISTPs are one of the hardest types to buy for. They aren’t normally the types who get really excited about the holidays (although there are always exceptions!). When I spoke to a variety of ISTPs I got a lot of mixed responses, but in general, they seemed to find the holiday season kind of frustrating and full of obligations and traditions that they didn’t feel a real connection with. This isn’t to say that no ISTPs can enjoy the holidays, but for the most part, they grow weary of huge lists of people to buy things for and big holiday parties where small talk is generally the norm. They preferred intimate gatherings with only their closest friends and no pressure to attend holiday parties or big family meals if they’d rather stay home and read a book or play a video game or rest.
The ISTPs Relationship with Gifts
When I asked ISTPs how they felt about receiving gifts, many of them said it was an awkward experience. They felt like they had to “conjure up” a surprised, happy expression, whether or not they liked the gift they were given. This kind of forced cordiality can be uncomfortable for them as they aren’t naturally the most expressive people out there! It’s best not to push them to seem excited, and it’s especially important not to mention the price or act passive-aggressive if their reaction doesn’t live up to your hopes. Out of the 40 ISTPs I spoke with, there were about 2 or 3 who enjoyed receiving gifts and had no issue acting happy and surprised no matter what they got so there are always exceptions to these kinds of guides about type.
As far as giving gifts, most of the ISTPs I knew enjoyed getting gifts for very close friends and family members. They didn’t like the obligation to give gifts to every single person in their extended family, people in their office, etc,. They’d rather carefully spend time on a few individuals then have to spend a huge amount of time shopping for a giant list of people, some of which are more acquaintances than friends.
The Top 7 Gift Ideas for ISTPs
#1 – Practical Tools
ISTPs enjoy practical gifts they can use right away. Some of the ISTPs I spoke with mentioned drills, pocket knives, crafting supplies, or other gadgets they need around the house. The important thing is to ask them explicitly what kinds of tools they need or like. They are usually particular about brands and quality and they may already have the tool that you’re looking at, so you don’t want to risk getting them something they already own!
#2 – Physical Affection (Only From Romantic Partners)
The top love language for ISTPs is physical touch, and that was easy to see when I got into conversations about gifts with ISTPs. Many of them mentioned intimacy with their partner as a preferred gift. Whether it’s a special massage or some extra fun in the bedroom, this type of “gift” was mentioned repeatedly (especially among male ISTPs).
#3 – An Experience
ISTPs love to get out and explore the world around them. Many mentioned preferring an experience to a material gift, but be sure to take an interest in what experiences they enjoy! Most of the ISTPs I spoke with mentioned recreational experiences; going skydiving, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, or camping.
#4 – Delicious Foods and Drinks
Satisfy your ISTP’s Extraverted Sensing side with delicious treats and delicacies they can enjoy. From indulgent chocolates to Omaha steaks, ISTPs enjoy fine foods or favorite snacks like beef jerky, candy, or homemade cookies. Do they have a favorite restaurant? Get a gift certificate for them to use at their leisure!
#5 – Socks (Really Nice Socks)
Surprisingly, quite a few ISTPs mentioned that they actually enjoy getting socks for Christmas. But we’re not talking an 8-pack from Wal-Mart. They like high-quality, extremely comfortable, luxurious socks. One ISTP mentioned Darn Tough’s socks. They may cost $21+ a pair, but they’re super cushiony, breathable, and they don’t slip, bunch, or blister, plus they pull moisture away from the skin right away. And no, I’m not an affiliate with this company and don’t get a kickback if you purchase from them 😉
#6 – Technological Gadgets
ISTPs tend to enjoy the newest tech gadgets and devices that come out. Are they hyped about the new iPhone model or a new videogame system? What about a vacuum cleaner robot? Ask the ISTP in your life what kind of technology they like or if they’re excited about any new gadgets, and this should give you some great gift ideas!
#7 – Cash
It may feel tacky giving someone cash for the holidays, but many ISTPs preferred this gift option. Usually, if they have the money ISTPs will just buy what they want, which can make them hard to shop for. If you feel like you’re having no luck coming up with a gift idea, cash is always a safe option. Just don’t overdo it! If you’re not that close and you give them a huge cash gift they will feel extremely uncomfortable most of the time.
What Do You Think?
Do you like these gift ideas? Share your thoughts with other readers in the comments!
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