Tag Archives: holiday gift guide

The Gift Guide For People Who Don’t Want Gifts – Part Three: Everything Else

Don’t look at me like that. I know it’s too late. Do you think I wanted to be finding a proctor for my stats final and then taking it while trying to figure out how to turn off push notifications AND silence my phone without silencing-silencing it because some random fact I tweeted about elephants went supernova mega viral? I will tell you what, dear reader, I did not want to be doing that, and having a viral tweet is a decidedly unpleasant experience when you are a deeply introverted introvert who has a lot of anxiety specifically centered around other human beings paying too much attention to you (ie: almost any attention, specifically for something you don’t feel you did anything to merit getting attention for) – though I’ve had a pretty pleasant go of it, as far as internet attention goes. Nor did I want Photoshop to decide to crash three times, meaning this is my second go-round on this post because after the first luckily I got smart, defeated my hubris, and started saving versions as I went.

On the other hand, getting gifts on Christmas morning is not something I know about, having never done it myself, but I do know from birthdays that the anticipation of a gift is much, much more fun than actually getting a gift. Once you get a gift it’s just – it’s there. And you have a whole 364 days until you’re going to get another gift, and oh dang it, you just thought of this one thing you really, really need. This is why I suggest doing what my mom does when it’s present time and something hasn’t arrived yet, which is the following:

  1. Print out a picture of the thing she bought
  2. Put it inside a box with a lot of tissue paper (so you can’t tell it’s just a printed out picture)
  3. Act like she has just done something terrible by not having your present right there that second when in fact she has given you two gifts: the present, and the gift of anticipating the mail

And boy, do I love waiting for the mail. I would bet other people would love it more if they were also waiting for presents, and not just a forest’s worth of charity solicitations, usually and ironically from environmental protection groups. I love waiting for the mail even when I know that all I’m getting is charity solicitations, because – and I hate to reveal my true identity – but while it is true that I have red hair and glasses, this is what I really look like, without Instagram filters:

I’m sorry. But I feel the holiday season is a time for honesty. So here are some honestly great gifts you can either go out and pick up last minute or tell people to wait for in the dead time betwixt ye olde Yule and New Year’s when they need something to look forward to besides the eventual murder they are plotting on the family members they have spent entirely too much time with. (If you’re missing them, here’s part one on food gifts and part two on book gifts.)

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The Gift Guide For People Who Don’t Want Gifts – Part One : Food

You have that person in your life. You know the one – you love them and they’re great until it’s their birthday, or the holidays, or your anniversary or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or any other time of year you’d want to get them a present, and you ask them what they want.

“Oh, I don’t know,” they say.  “I don’t really need anything.”

These people are the worst.

Well, not the worst, but I do have three of them in my life (both my parents and my brother-in-law) and they make gift-giving pretty difficult. All three of them have a mixture of a few qualities, which are the same qualities that almost every person who comes to me for gift-giving advice (my favorite advice to give) says their loved or mildly tolerated one also possesses:

  1. They genuinely don’t like having a lot of stuff around.
  2. They’re picky.
  3. When they see something they like, they just buy it for themselves.

Like I said, the worst. But also, not impossible.

There are a few tricks to gifting for difficult people. I personally use the time-honored approach of putting way too much effort in, which is to say that I never, ever, stop looking for presents or noting down when someone during any point in the year says “I wish I had a ____” or expresses interest in an object or event or literally anything. I email notes to myself constantly when I hear about a new product or someone mentions this new thing that changed their life. Every time I go shopping I take pictures of labels of things, and then when I go home I look them up and put them in neatly organized bookmarks folders. Around Halloween I fire up the spreadsheets and go through that subsectioned bookmarks folder and start making my cross-indexed lists so that when Black Friday comes, I will have that list down pat and I will be ready to order for maximum savings.

But this is just me, and most people are not me and do not have what is probably a diagnosable disorder of enjoying gift-giving way too much. So for everyone else who is normal and pays more attention to things that are actually good uses of their time, like balancing their checkbook or keeping living space in a condition that isn’t a constant health violation, there’s a much, much easier solution: treat them to something useful.

Everyone eats. Everyone sleeps. Everyone gets cold in the winter and warm in the summer (or vice-versa if they live in the southern hemisphere).  Everyone needs to wear clothes and not get wet when it rains and keep their cell phone battery from dying. Most people don’t even think about these stupid little things they do every day that are annoying or inconvenient, but they love it when some magnificent angel of a person comes in and helps make doing those things easier or better or more fun.

And I am here to help you be that magnificent angel. You’re welcome.

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