The best part of the holiday season, aside from it being a blissful break from any real responsibility, is obviously getting showered with lavish gifts by friends and family. Personally, I don’t believe anyone should need to use a holiday as an excuse to buy me something shiny, but apparently society does. I used to run into the same problem year after year. I’d get duplicate gifts, or gifts I didn’t really love. Once I turned about sixteen, I realized there was a simple remedy to my gift-receiving woes: assigning each family member a gift to buy me.
I’m not kidding. I do this. Every year, a few months after my birthday, I start cataloguing items I would like to have purchased for me as presents. I bookmark them in my browser and I save the pages of the catalogues I find them in. Once mid-November (the worst month on the calendar) rolls around, I designate a gift for each family member to give to me. I’ve got it down to a science, really. For my older, technologically challenged relatives, I physically paste a picture of whichever gift I’m assigning them to the inside of a well thought out, well-worded greeting card. I also include instructions on where to purchase, and what type of gift-wrapping I’d prefer.
For all of my relatives below the age of 65, I simply send an e-mail with the link to whichever piece of jewelry/perfume/pair of shoes I’d like from them. It’s so simple, and it’s seriously the most convenient method of gift-receiving ever. I even write my thank you cards immediately after I send the assignments, and post mark them all December 26. This method has been absolutely foolproof and quite convenient. Some might think it too forward, but how the hell else would I get my 84-year-old great-uncle to buy me the new Speedy I so desperately needed?
I highly recommend this to anyone who wants their holiday to be perfect. Trust me, everyone loves it. By taking the guesswork out of gift giving, you’re allowing people to truly enjoy what the season means: spreading joy and love to the special people in their lives. While I’m obviously doing everyone around me a favor during this season, I’m well aware that most other people aren’t as courteous and thoughtful as I.
When it comes to buying gifts for others, I’m actually kind of helpless. I generally come up with amazing, thoughtful and well-received gifts, but it takes me forever to actually figure out what I’m getting someone. Unfortunately, while I am able to spend hundreds of dollars online shopping for myself, I just can’t sit in front of a computer and browse for gifts unless I know specifically what I’m looking for. I’m of the mindset that the perfect holiday gift should be thoughtful and personal, and I also think that the perfect gift should be something that the recipient wouldn’t think to buy him or herself. Basically, I can’t make a list of the best gifts to get everyone on your shopping list, because I don’t know any of them personally. I can, however, tell you exactly what NOT to get for people you consider your friends.
1. Anything From Bath & Body Works
Do not step foot into this store, unless you’re in 7th grade, and you’re doing a Secret Santa with a $25 limit, in which case, go for it. No, but really. This store is the ultimate haven for thoughtless, practical gifts that come pre-wrapped under the guise of being decent presents. I know it seems like a fairly easy option, especially when you’re drawing a blank when it comes to ideas for what to get someone, but I swear, this store is the absolute worst. If you can even stand to be in there for longer than like…four seconds without getting a brutal migraine, you know it’s full of cheap, over-powering scents. Also, if you’re shopping at a location that has ready-made gift baskets, I think that should be a pretty good indicator that you’re not putting enough effort into your gift.
2. Anything You Saw On Pinterest
Here’s the thing with Pinterest: while it’s a great waste of time, it’s also the reason some bored mommy blogger gets up in the morning. I know the “So simple! Great gift!” pins might seem like a viable option as gifts for people, but trust me, nothing you craft will ever look the way you saw it on Pinterest. I haven’t attempted to craft anything I’ve pinned myself, but I have seen pictures of crafts people tried to replicate. Trust me, some homemade gifts are better left to stay-at-home moms who blog about using lemonade pitchers as laundry detergent storage. Don’t do it.
3. Gift Cards
As useful as they are, gift cards should be reserved for distant cousins and family friends. Not only does it tell a person “I think you’re worth exactly $35” but it’s super annoying to carry around six gift cards to specific stores that you’ll undoubtedly forget about. Plus, you’ll either end up buying part of your present with your own money or walk around with $1.42 on a card for the next year and a half. If you know someone at all, you should be able to come up with something slightly more personal than $50 to Victoria’s Secret.
4. Taylor Swift’s New Album
Actually, anything related to Taylor Swift is a terrible gift, because it’s basically the passive aggressive, non-verbal way of saying, “I hate you and think you’re pathetic, but here’s a popular CD that talks about being dumped by every guy you look at. It made me think of you. Happy holidays!” Just don’t.
No. No. No. Cookies are cute, but they’re also something you bring to a bake sale. I understand that there are some people in this world with limited access to holiday gift funds, but baked goods are not an excuse for a Christmas gift. I don’t care what people have told you, making a million chocolate-covered pretzels and dipping them in holiday sprinkles does not give you a passing grade in gift-giving. Also, edible arrangements are off limits too. I don’t know which idiots got the idea to sell people perishable goods as a gift, but I’m sure they’re laughing all the way to the bank somewhere. If someone ever gave me a bouquet of fruit, I would be livid. Are you kidding me? You spent $50 on chocolate dipped pineapple, when that $50 could have very well gone to buying me that cute new Urchin bangle from Lilly? Amateur.
As long as you stay away from any of these items, I’m sure everyone will love the gifts you decide on. My best advice is to drink a couple martinis and then give yourself a few hours to aimlessly wander around the mall until something inspires you. And, in their cards, make sure you hint that you’d prefer they assign you a gift next year. It’s so much easier that way.