Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gift Guide for People who hate the mall, and think this entire holiday is created to make them miserable

Uninspired? Frugal? Fed up with the bullshit? Listen, I feel you. I really do. I am overwhelmed and exhausted and drained from the emotional and financial stress of the holidays. But I did it. The last boxes go out tomorrow. I have one gift left to pick up for a neighbor, and I need to order New Years cards (because Christmas cards just never happen in time around here).

I survived the holidays, and you can too. If you are freaking out because the store shelves are emptying, and the clock is running out, and it looks like everyone is getting a scented candle and a Starbucks card again, well.... FEAR NOT! Because A. Those are two totally fantastic gifts and people like getting them. And B. I have a few gift ideas for folks that want to try something different, and give a thoughtful gift even if they didn't think about it until the weekend before Christmas. These gifts will work for people who are very high or very low tech. Young and old. People you know well, or casually, or are meeting for the first time this holiday season. And I tried to think of a few things for every budget.

For Kids
A magical Dress Up box: Go to your local thrift/resale store and find some wacky, bright, fun nutty clothes. It doesn't matter what size, as long as it isn't too small - too big is no problem. Party dresses, snap front shirts, scarfs, suit jacket, funny hat, overalls, purses..... anything can become a fun costume.

A board game - remember Operation? My kids love board games, and puzzles too.

A pogo stick. Or a swing. Or a jump rope.

A microscope, or even just a magnifying glass and a mason jar with some holes punched in the top.

Art supplies. Is there anything better than a new box of crayons or a fresh pack of (washable) markers? I don't think so. Don't forget the paper! Also fun - PlayDo and Mad Libs and puzzle books.

Big, cool gift if you order today or tomorrow - We bought the kids a slack line for Christmas. It's like a tight rope, they used one in Thailand a few years ago and I know they are going to love it. These slack lines are great for gymnasts, ballerinas, ninjas and surfers. Really, everyone.

For Adults

I like to give things people will actually use. I *hate* giving "things" that will add to clutter, or may not be useful, or simply don't match the decor. Taste is such a personal thing. But sometimes, gift cards feel impersonal. I have found a few solutions:

To the gym, to Costco, to Netflix, to AAA (the auto club that provides roadside assistance). (Costco and AAA memberships start at around $50.)

Gift certificates:
To their favorite breakfast spot, to their hair salon (and buy a bottle of their favorite shampoo to go with it!) to their tattoo parlor, to a pizza joint for take-out one night....the list goes on and on - and doesn't have to include a box store or chain restaurant. Make a phone call, and shop local, folks.

Tools or materials needed to complete a honey do project:
Found a used window at our local Habitat for Humanity reStore that will work in our shed :) No excuses now!

The gift of reading:
Share e-books, or books you have already read.

New towels:
Kitchen or bath - towels need replacing, and they aren't as personal as sheets. Go with a neutral beige, or white, or try these fast-drying organic ones that don't take up a lot of space.

Paper goods (great hostess gift!)
fun cocktail napkins, pretty paper plates, or the cool plates made out of recycled materials like the ones from Eco-gecko

For Everyone (even your weird neighbor)

Magazine subscriptions
A jar of homemade tomato sauce with a box of pasta, or soup with a loaf of good bread
A fun sprayer for the hose
A birdhouse
A cool clock
A certificate for a weekend of pet-feeding the next time they go away. Allergic? Offer to babysit the fish.

That's all for now - but if I think of more, I'll update :)

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