-- Everyone knows a loved one who feels they have too much "stuff" or are too busy to for their own good.
Here are some unconventional holiday gift ideas that should, in theory, help make their life a little easier.
1. "Hassle-Free" Car Rental
Silvercar calls itself the first "hassle-free car rental company" by removing what some people think are the most annoying aspects of renting a vehicle at the airport. First, the company only offers one choice of car, a silver Audi A4, so you know exactly what kind of car you'll be getting. Second, Silvercar staff will meet you at a designated location at the airport, with the goal of getting you your Audi at your convenience. At some airports, Silvercar can drop off your car with you at the curb, allowing you to avoid waiting for a shuttle bus to drive you to an off-site car rental location. Third, reserving and completing a car rental is relatively quick through Silvercar.com or the app for iPhone or Android.
2. Storing Stuff
On-demand self-storage startup Clutter makes storing your things loads easier -- by packing and picking up your stuff, creating an online inventory of it, and delivering specific items back within 48 hours of a request. Clutter returns four small items per month to you for free and charges if you want more back. Based in Culver City, California, the company started in 2013 and now provides services around Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, New York, New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. Monthly plans range from $7 to $495 a month, plus custom plans for small businesses or large estates, with a four-month commitment. The first month is free.
3. Cleaning and Handyman Services
Gifting a cleaning service is easier with a plethora of online options. One company, Handy, offers cleaning services in 33 locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. In addition to cleaning services, the company offers services such as furniture assembly, interior painting and moving help. Like most things, you get what you pay for with Handy, as users get assigned a service provider from the on-demand website. And the level of service will vary from person to person. Don't necessarily expect a uniformed Molly Maid to come with mop and broom in hand ready to clean your house from top to bottom.
Amazon Services also offers "background-checked, insured, licensed if applicable" home service providers in 25 cities. Amazon makes it easy to add installation for many products on its site, by simply clicking a box next to a product you're buying online. If you buy a bathroom sink faucet through Amazon's website in New York City, you can request a plumber to install it for about $99 after they schedule a time with you.
Doctor on Demand, backed by psychologist and TV personality Phil McGraw -- known as "Dr. Phil" -- is a video-based app that provides virtual doctor visits. While many health professionals believe tele-health shouldn't completely replace an in-person relationship with health providers, the app touts that it provides patients with convenience. The Doctor on Demand website lists conditions that the service doesn't treat, including cancer and chronic conditions.
5. Caring for Fido
The first tele-health app for pets launched in October with the name, Vet on Demand. Using a subscription-based model, customers can pay $14.95 a month for two 10-minute video consultations with a licensed veterinarian.
Like tele-health for humans, these virtual "appointments" may not fully replace in-person interactions. Gilt.com, which ran a promotion for Vet on Demand in October, said the service can help "new pet parents" and answer their questions. Users can rate vets after their first appointment.
6. For Rainy Days
Just for kicks because wintry conditions are upon many of us, the Handbag Raincoat is included in this gift guide, because frankly, who knew there was such a thing as a raincoat for your purse? For $25, it's not a cheap piece of plastic for just any bag, but for people who are serious about their handbags. The waterproof covers come in various sizes and can be tucked away in your purse when not in use.