Friday, December 19, 2014

Gift Giving Guide


I can haz dis?
Gift giving is really an art, and can be really rewarding. I love giving gifts (because it makes people so surprised and happy). Some people really struggle with ideas of what to get. Have no fear—I am here to help!

I have two words for anyone out there who is struggling with gift giving ideas and is reading this: pay attention. It’s that simple. Know what someone likes (be it a sport, hobby, show, video game, type of clothing, etc. Not sure? Just ask!), and it becomes soooo incredibly easy to buy for them. I also live by the philosophy that if I love it so much, you might love it so much too. At least, that has mostly worked on my friends thus far! Oh, and don’t forget those gift receipts!

*Get crafty. A homemade gift is always from the heart, and there are so many things you can make (just take a gander on Pinterest for TONS of ideas!) In the past I have made a memory jar, glass etched mugs, mix CDs (and tapes, back in the day) and Russian tea. Also, instead of one big expensive gift, get a few little meaningful ones. And finally, take the time to write out a nice message in a Christmas card. Like, who seriously does that anymore (besides me)? Hell, even attach post-it notes to gifts to make it extra fun (especially when sending to long-distance friends and family to give them explanations).

*Go unique. I am all about buying things that people can’t just get anywhere—personalized or just hard to find. Like traveling to another country and grabbing some souvenirs, and hanging on to them until Christmas!

*Food is always good, but be mindful of allergies. I would never buy orange juice for my friend Kelly, for example, because that would kill him, and that’s not really the message I want to send (especially at Christmas time). Oh and fruitcake—don’t do it. Just...no.  Candy is good though—chocolate especially. And there is definitely no shortage of that around the holidays!!!

*If you are going to buy someone underwear, don’t do it unless either you are either related and it’s a necessity or you are romantically linked. I mean, how would you feel if a casual acquaintance or co-worker bought you a thong? (Think Buddy the Elf and that sexy teddy he got for his dad—HA!)

*Go practical. Some people really need things. As an example, every single year, my mom always wishes for a kitchen timer, measuring cups, and slippers. She goes through these like crazy somehow. There’s also the gifts that you think someone might need also (like hint, hint kind of a thing). Have a friend who is always late? Get them a watch. Or a boyfriend who never remembers a birthday? Birthday calendar, FTW (and write in all his family member’s birthdays on it).

*Clothes are generally safe, but sizing might be tough. Also, only buy if you know it’s their unique style or something they really dig. Always get a gift receipt! Socks and winter gear like hats, gloves, and scarves are a no-brainer.

*Be wise, accessorize: You can never buy enough bling! It doesn’t even have to be pricey to look cute. I buy 90% of my baubles from Tar-jay (Target). Fashion scarves, purses, wallets, backpacks, etc. require no sizing, so go bananas!

*Gift cards are pretty safe and universal, if you don’t have time to shop or don’t know someone well enough to get them a more personal gift.  Secret Santa, anyone?

*Perfumes, colognes, and body sprays and body washes are great gifts, but be careful. You may unintentionally send someone the wrong message (that they are stinky). So, unless that is your intention, just proceed with caution. Some people (like myself) are also very picky about the scents they will or will not wear.

*Have some feels and go sentimental. I LOVE anything from UW-La Crosse, as that’s where I went for undergrad. Get me UW-L gear or ANYTHING alumni and I will love it. Pictures are good too for friends, and family. Print a good one out, buy a nice frame, and boom—instant keepsake.

*Alcohol: good for the bestie, not so much for the boss.

*Gag gifts are fun, but make sure they aren’t too offensive. Avoid religious and politically themed gifts, if at all possible. I bought the oldest co-worker I have a funny picture book called All My Friends Are Dead. He loved it, and thought it was hilarious.

I am a BIG online shopper, but that only really works out if you have time to ship things. Here are some of my favorite websites to buy nifty giftys:
Everything: Urbanoutfitters.com, Amazon.com
Artsy Crafty: Etsy.com
Beauty: Sephora.com, Birchbox.com
D├ęcor: Westelm.com
Clothes: Anthropologie.com
Shoes: Zappos.com
Nerd: Thinkgeek.com
Tea: Davidstea.com
Fave in-store shopping: Target, Kohl’s, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy

So now that you’ve got the gift part down, time to wrap. Hate wrapping? Enlist a friend to help or take your gifts to a wrapping station in a department store (or Barnes and Noble!) Or get a gift bag and tissue paper. No wrapping paper? Get creative and use a paper grocery bag or newspaper for wrapping paper (especially the comics section). Bonne chance, mes amis!