My dad once told me that the best gifts are always the ones you’d want to receive yourself. This advice stuck with me like a canker sore but never actually held true (my brother did not care at all for the knit crop top I gave him last year) until I realized I’ve been taking the advice all wrong. As a matter of fact, the principle can only be true if you’re not literal about it.
Example: Just because you might want a black satin evening clutch (good choice!) that could be a toiletry kit does not mean that someone else does. What it could mean, however, is that someone you love might enjoy a dual-purpose gift. Like a pocket knife! I requested a very expensive hair comb from the power that be my mother but that doesn’t mean I should up and give one back to her. It means she might enjoy an intimate and small luxury, which brings me to the notion that “it’s the thought that counts.” I’ve always believed this to mean that thinking about giving a gift, point blank, is precisely the “thought” in question, but guess what? It is actually the thoughtfulness that counts! Oh!
I need a pair of gloves badly, but I don’t want anyone to get them for me by my prompting. I want them to see my purple fingers in the flesh, recognize I could use a pair and by an accord of their choosing, present me with warmth. A hug for my hands and heart. So now the floodgates are open and I have all these great ideas for genuinely good gifts that won’t cost more than $50 each. Except in one instance, which I will start with because ripping off the Band-Aid is better than letting it hang loose.
A set of wine glasses to accompany a bottle of substance to pour into said glasses, and an hour blocked off on your busiest friend’s schedule, $88+
The glasses (by Tory Burch) are $88, and a bottle of wine could cost you anything (or nothing if you have one unopened at home), but the real gift here is getting under the skin of your pal’s schedule and forcing them to engage in free time. How thoughtful! How genuine. The reason the glasses are important is because they offer a residual reminder, every time your friend opens their glassware cabinet, that if and when they need some space, you’re either a phone call away, or there’s a bottle of something in the cooler.
One time, my friend Sophie framed the last page of David Foster Wallace’s now-famous “This is Water” commencement speech and it is to date one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve received. I’ll probably put pictures of my kids in frames to give to my mom and mother-in-law, but I’d recommend using any sort of personal bond, whether by way of book or saying or visual cue that you share with anyone for you. This immortalizes it by literally freezing and framing it. Whoa!
In theme with suggestion no.1, you may also want to buy a dozen eggs for whomever you give the AggCoddler to, but I recommend this fucker for the friend you have who is eager to grow up, but struggling to find a way. I knew I could wield the power of adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it the first time I successfully cooked an egg. Had I known there was a small-scale machine to facilitate the vast ways to make an egg: boiling, poaching, steaming, deviling, I’d have found comfort in the metaphor: It doesn’t have to be so hard! There are devices built that make it easier! Bonus: it comes in various lid colors that are super in line with millennial color theory. So that’s chic.
I have nothing mushy to say about this suggestion. Only that a lot of the adult women I know love jewelry. This does not mean we want to be jewelry designers. It does mean the pure creative pursuit of making your own has been relegated to the status of Applicable Only For the Youth and I wonder why the fuck that is! Also, it glows in the dark, so you can brush your teeth at 6 a.m. mid-winter without having to switch the lights on. Cool!
I have come to love both storing ready-made food in my refrigerator and bringing said food to work for lunch. I have also come to want every part of my life to feel intentional and branded and intentionally branded so here is a fusion of those two pursuits.
See intro paragraph for context.
Sorry if it sounds like I’m shilling, but last week I encountered the most delightful interaction when I walked into a coffee shop, saw someone wearing two Flagpoles affixed to the right side of their hair only to find a fellow comrade wearing a similar two on the left side of hers. They complimented each other’s clips, hugged (yes, hugged!), and proceeded to order their warm beverages. If you’re a fan of this clubhouse, it is possible that is because you know the people you meet here are salt of the earth. Wearing the Flagpole serves as an indicator that one of your kind is close by. You can unclench your butt cheeks now.
I judged a book by its cover in choosing this one, but do appreciate the prompt: to answer a prosaic question, daily, for five years. It would work for me because nothing is ever actually prosaic, but maybe your friend would be better suited receiving a journal dedicated to list-making that culminates as more of a bucket list. The Five Minute Journal is great for peeps who need a reminder of what they deserve to feel grateful for (I got this as a gift last holiday season and it filled me up like a balloon full of glitter), and this seems like a solid resource if you know someone in need of productivity planning help. Cheaper than therapy! Right?
Okay, that’s all I’ve got for you. Happy giving season! And btw, if you are inclined to get me a pair of gloves, I rly like The Elder Statesmen.
I have one more actually! Until Thursday (December 13th), we’re doing this cool thing with Man Repeller’s Holiday Buffet site where you can buy one pair of our Unibrow Sunglasses and get another pair to give to someone you love with the code ONEBROW. Why? Because ’tis the damn season. And also, more than serving to surprise and delight you, we’d love to contribute to your surprise and delighting someone you care about. So go-4-it.
Feature photo by Heidi’s Bridge.