It’s that time of the year again: You’re prepping to spend way too much time with the kin, maybe traveling across country to see them, and stressing the hell out about getting non-repulsive gifts for your loved ones. And if you have a special lady friend in your life, you may also be doubting every swipe of your credit card (or cricket sound coming from your bank account).
The supreme principle of gift giving is finding something specific to your relationship that makes your loved one feel happy and loved. Because there’s already way too much pressure on you, here are some tips on gifts to definitely avoid, along with some gift ideas that will surely induce hugs and, “You’re so sweet(s)!”
Any kitchen-esque gear
This category includes not only waffle makers and Day-Glo colored mixers, but also Fruit of the Month Clubs and bottles of liquor. (Unless you’re 16, a pint of liquor is not too thrilling, sorry.) Even if she’s a total foodie, anything falling into this realm is the opposite of personal. We may also interpret it as you telling us that you want cupcakes and quiches and we should be enthusiastic about making said snacks because the As Seen On TV-cupcake/quiche-making contraption is pink.
Exception: A couples cooking class or out-of-the-ordinary fancy-schmancy dinner. We’ll also eat our faces off and get liquored up, it’ll just be not douche-y.
This one’s kind of a duh, as it’s an annual sitcom-husband screw up during every Christmas special. She’ll take it as a hint she’s fat, blah blah blah. No matter how much she talks about wanting those Shape Up shoes, don’t give in (they’re garbage, anyway).
Exception: A super cute yoga mat if she’s a Pilates or yoga enthusiast. The ones at the gym are gross.
There is a reason why January is a prime-time for overpopulated shelters. Animals are not gifts. They are like mini, furry family members who we can’t necessarily return for store credit when we figure out we don’t have the time for ‘em.
Exception: An awesome plant coupled with a personalized gift like a book we’ve been thinking about getting. Perhaps we’re just hippies around these parts. We’re not familiar with a girl that doesn’t like a green thing, though. Hey, they’re alive, they brighten a room, and we won’t feel like we’re going to off ourselves when we accidentally kill them.
On that note: stuffed animals
Yack! Leave the Teddy Bears and cushy otters for your six year-old niece. Sure, we were jealous of that chick who got that Build-a-Bear donning a stupid felt Santa hat (but was made with so much adolescent love) when we were in eighth grade. Now? They just confuse us. They collect dust.
Exception: The Best Pillow Ever. Seriously. A big, down pillow. She will cuddle with that damn thing every night. It’s like a stuffed animal, minus the creepiness.
You’ll risk picking the wrong size, which could be detrimental in so many ways. If it’s not her style it’ll just be awkward for her to wear it. (Remember, some of us are wary of picking out frocks for our friends of ten years, that’s how fickle we can be about fashion). Plus, that is all our mom gets us.
Exception: Awesome lingerie, after checking our bra and panties drawer for sizes. That — our mom will not be getting us.
Yes, we will probably use them. Gift certificates are the ultimate sign you gave up completely. Not swoon-worthy.
Exception: A spa certificate for a massage. Most likely something we wouldn’t get ourselves but that we totally, totally want. It says, “I care about you feeling good,” rather than, “I don’t know what the f*ck I’m doing.”
You, naked, with a bow on your package (or a dick in the box)
Har, har. We get it. You’re broke. You want to do it, per usual, but with a red-and-glitter-clad twist. This will just not cut it. It is very obvious you scrambled around clueless and just stuck a ribbon on your dong at midnight on December 24th.
Exception: An “experience date,” like a concert ticket. The gift is still spending time and creating a memory with you (aww). And if you really are broke: at least make us a damn mix CD.
P.S. Protect yourself from the coming data-powered panopticon by getting a VPN.