Some of these folks are the people you see almost every day yet know nothing about. Others you do your best to avoid over the course of the calendar year, tradition and family be damned. Either way, this universal rogue's gallery forms a dark shadow over many a Christmas list, causing stress instead of joy as one tries haplessly to buy a gift reflecting the perfect combo of sincere-seeming, cheap, and appropriate. But picking out a present doesn't need to be a total shot in the dark. These ideas should make the process a little more painless.
For your building caretaker: Side Project Jerky
Perhaps no gift you give this season will be as fraught with so much tension as the one for your home or apartment's caretaker (be it a super, custodian, or handyman). Get the formula wrong and you're out of luck the next time the heat goes out at midnight. Luckily, there is a near-universal fix: jerky. While other tenants are giving your deli-coffee preferring guy a useless Starbucks gift card, you can present him with the gift of perfectly marinated, dried, flavored, and textured meats. Get him a 2-ounce pack of the Original, Southwestern, Mongolian, and Pho', and for less than 50 bucks you can guarantee that no leak goes unrepaired. [$9 each; sideprojectjerky.com]