I don't really need to introduce this post with the typical "it's that time of year again!" do I? You know you're behind the eight ball on gift purchasing this year, you've done some preliminary searching online and haven't found what you're looking for AND you've gone to your local holiday markets and gotten bogged down by monogramming and polka dots. So here you are; and I am here to help.
Last year when the recession hit us all big-time, I suggested to my family that we do not buy each other anything. The rule for gift giving was anything repurposed, recycled or hand made was an allowable gift.
I've made it abundantly clear that I like to shop. Sometimes I buy things that really aren't right for me, and I hang onto them for a loooong time. Also, I make it a point to rotate my wardrobe throughout the year to make room for newer, trendier things (I realize as I get older, this statement is more ironic than actually true. Sigh.). So usually around the end of the year I have a big bag of new and slightly-used clothing to either take to Revente for consignment, share at a Bitch n' Swap, or ultimately give away to the Salvation Army. Well not last year! My sister is 27 and only a few inches taller than I am, so we tend to be the same size. Anything that was slightly used or still had the tags on it was wrapped up and put in a box for her. If she's a faithful reader of my blog, CC, here's a spoiler alert: I'll be doing the same thing this year with a few things.
My sister got slightly more creative: she made me a CD (part of a collection of music she's been sharing with me over the years called, "What the young people/cool kids are listening to") and she made me a collage that she framed with my favorite quotation. How'd she know what my favorite quotation is? Simple: it's on my Facebook profile. My point to you, dear reader, is this: creativity and resourcefulness isn't JUST about decoupage, smocking and hot glue guns...although the gifts that result from that stuff can be way cool too.
Last year for my Dad was great. He got a bunch of Tshirts both Ethan and I got at various events last year (he's also very tall, it's where my sister and I get it from, so he's the only one who can rock the size L and XL). Since he's not at all on the digital music train, he also received a bunch of our old or already downloaded CDs.
But this year we've planned to spend up to $50 on each other, so there's some shopping to be done. Here's a collection of great online gift resources:
Fred Flare - this has been and always will be the best resource for affordable gifts. EJ, if you're reading this, the iKaraoke is perfect for me, dontcha think?
MXYPLYZYK - this is like a more mature version of Fred Flare, but not by much. I love going to this store when I'm in NYC and was so happy to learn they sell online too. The pronunciation of the name is online, so you'll have to visit to learn the Superman reference. I got this "Lucky Beggar Purse" for my sis one year because I love it so.
Another great idea for family is to tap into your friends who are artists and buy them a piece of art. For EJ's birthday a while ago I framed some art that I was generously given by a friend who did drawings of surfers. This can often be affordable when it's a matter of buying photo prints. I am thinking about doing this again with a friend who does surfer photography.
Friends are just like family, so there's not really a point to me listing the following tips and sites separately except that I've committed to giving you advice about what to get for the different kind of people in your life and dang it, I am sticking with that commitment!
I've gotten all of my nearest and dearest a bag from Nana by Sally and y'all know my obsession with her and the bags. So if you've haven't already gotten your BFF a Nana bag I guess it's because your BFF is a guy? Well guess what, Sally made EJ a wallet so she can make your guy friend one too.
Another designer I've fallen in love with is The Small Object. I got KH this tiny mustache stick at last year's Crafty Feast which is a total classic and I think she loved it because we laughed about it for a while. Speaking of Crafty Feast, if you're a resident of Columbia, SC like I am, I can safely guarantee that the best place to find great gifts for your friends this holiday will be at the Winter Crafty Feast which will be on December 12 at the Tapp's building on Main Street. I will definitely be there because The Small Object will be back and I heart these wine stoppers.
The online version of Crafty Feast is a website KH recently introduced me to which is called Rare Bird Finds -- this is a great resource for finding unusual gifts for your friends.
Bosses and colleagues
The other day I was doing some very preliminary searching for gift ideas for bosses. It totally illed me out that everything I clicked on was some stupid collection of Cigar-of-the-Month clubs, golf balls and dark liquor tumblers. You know what I'm about to say, but please allow me this rant. WHAT ABOUT THE BOSSES OF THE WORLD WHO ARE WOMEN?!! The dumbest thing about these "guides" is that they are mainly written by women. Here's a tip, my dear freelance writers: even if your assignment is to write about good gifts for men, maybe you can suggest some gifts for women just for the hell of it?
All of my bosses are women (ok there's a man or two in there, but the big cheeses are the ladies). Last year, for my boss in NYC, I sent her a "care package" of all-South Carolina non-perishable delicacies: things like benne wafers and grits. You can give that to a male boss too, ya know. This year she's getting a Nana bag. That's a serious spoiler, I know, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she's not a close reader.
My colleagues are all getting Craque this year. Those of you may know this as "puppy chow," a southern delicacy, but craque is a bit of a twist on that and it's just what the name says it is - crazy wackadoo addictive. Another great idea for colleagues is to hit the sale racks at Target. You can find funky shirts for $4.00 and popular novels at a deep discount. This is a great resource for those last-minute white elephant or "secret santa" things some offices like to spring on you.
And there you have it, dollfaces. A redux/review of what I've done in the past and what my plans are for this year. I hope this will inspire and help you as you cruise into the final stretch before the holiday madness is officially upon us.