I could not be more dead serious when I tell you this:
Gift Giving is one of my all time favorite things in life.
It’s like a drug for me – I get a total high from thinking of the absolutely perfect gift for someone, and watching them open it is truly as exciting as getting my own presents. (Or close to at least…)
As much as I adore shopping and gift giving, I also know how incredibly stressful, expensive and nuts it can be. So, seeing as how this is the season for giving, I am here to give you all my top secrets for easier and fun gift giving!
I have years worth of websites, projects and ideas all crammed in here to make your holiday gift shopping as fun as it is meant to be!
The Internet is a gift-giver’s Best Friend
Once you know what you’re gonna get someone, the hard part is done. My two first stops if I’m looking for something specific:
Between the two of these you can find everything from video games to vintage, new or used, silly to serious.
However – If you’re not totally sure what you want to get someone, and you don’t want to aimlessly browse, there are a ton of great sites that can help generate ideas. Even if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, these sites have really cool personality profiler tools that can be fantastic jumping off points:
(Gifts.com is Effing incredible. Narrow your search by price, occasion, recipient, and so so much more. They also have great gift and holiday guides.)
Stockings are potentially one of my ultimate favorite parts of the holidays!
My key ingredients to the perfect stocking: Pretty, Kitschy, Candy, Useful, and lots of little things people would love but never buy themselves!
Some great places to look:
~ Urban Outfitters (So much fun stuff!)
~ Moleskin Journals
~ Bath and Body products – Most department store beauty sections have wonderful special holiday bath and body and cosmetic packages. Khiels has great gifts and minis (and is really good about giving a bunch of free samples – and great men’s stuff!)
~ The Dollar Store!
~ Buffalo Exchange
~ Sees Candy
Useful Things: Gas station gift cards are bomb, so are coffee shop gift cards. I also really appreciate stuff like fun hair ties, post-its and pens, swiss army knives, Chapstick (Burt’s Bees!), I even love toothbrushes, razors and socks & underwear!
Anything stocking size! Mini booze bottles, Minis from Sephora or Ulta, Disposable cameras, movie tickets, buttons, hand lotion, nail polish, phone cases, magnets, cigars, travel perfume bottles, candles, beanies, ipod speakers!
And some fun sites that have countless neat/kitschy/unique presents are: Uncommon Goods, Incredible Things, Perpetual Kid, Fred Flare!
The mall gives me complete and total panic attacks and I try to avoid it at all costs. However, sometimes you’re completely swamped and running behind and you gotta do what you gotta do. Places like H&M and Gap have lots of great little stocking stuffers and basics that are always nice to get.
If I’m shopping in the real world, my favorite spots are Antique Malls, Swap Meets, and Thrift Shops. They can lead to one-of-a-kind amazing presents and are perfect for everything from gag gifts to beautiful vintage jewelry to kitschy home decor and knick knacks. They also usually run pretty low on prices depending on where you’re at and can help find the perfect present for the perfect price.
Gifts that keep on giving
It is wonderful to receive a gift that keeps coming year round. Something you can look forward to getting in the mail, or an internet subscription for something you’ll use all the time! Here are some ideas for gifts that last for months!
– Magazine Subscriptions
– Spotify and Pandora subscriptions (SO good!)
– A couple months of Netflix or Hulu
– Harry and David baskets (I thought this one was weird until I tried one of their pears and O M effing G those things are amazing)
– Wine or Beer clubs (These are just examples, there’s tons of different ones of these!)
– Mistobox gourmet coffee for your caffeinated loved ones
– Birch Box (A rad monthly beauty product delivery box that’s so neat! – They have it for men too!)
– Curator And Mule Groovy Men’s Accessories sent right to him! You can also check out Manpacks for guys present needs!
– Handmade surprises from Umba Box
– Whimseybox – A monthly DIY craft subscription for crafty friends
– Here is a list of a ton of super cool clubs!
Make Your Own!
Strapped on cash? Want to do something sentimental? Want a fun project to do by the fire? There are always homemade gifts which are some of my favorite kinds!!! I’m lucky to have a bunch of people in my life who totally rock at making gifts, and I love every one of them ranging from a painting of me with a pirate beard to a typed poem about me and whiskey.
When making gifts, it’s important to walk the line veering away from useless (*cough* felt coffee cozys *cough*) and more towards sentimental (Framed recipe/photo) or fun (tie-dye stockings).
You can find a bunch of ideas here, here, here, here, annnddd about a cagillion here.
And never underestimate the appeal of a Party in a Box, a Mix Cd, or a Homemade Coupon book.
Another fool-proof home-made-y type of present I love to give are photo related presents. Finding fun ways to display and share pictures is a great present. (I’ve given my parents so many different kinds they’ve finally put the kabash on picture giving… We’ll see how that goes…)
Even if you just wander around the frame section of Michaels, you can find everything from photo coasters (which my mom loved) to photo ornaments to cool shadow box kits. And nothing beats a large glossy and nicely framed 8×10 of a great picture.
For more ideas you can check out Shutterfly (they have everything from calendars to canvases to coffee table books) or Snapfish (phone cases and coasters and puzzles, oh my!)
I actually don’t really know many children, so I’m basically useless here. Get them something that A) their parents wouldn’t get them but B) their parents wouldn’t get mad at you for getting them. And no clothes. And teenagers just want gift cards. HERE are a ton of fun creative ways to give cash and gift cards so it’s not just a boring old envelope.
Maybe it’s because I have an eccentric name, and as a kid nothing ever had the right spelling on it, but whatever the reason is – I effing LOVE personalized gifts! Anything is made sweeter with an engraving or personal touch. Even books are better gifts when there’s a thoughtful inscription in the front.
These days you can get basically anything engraved, and it’s so much fun! For him you can engrave watches, flasks, zippos, golf balls, wallets, hats, and more! And for her, jewelry is just the beginning. You can even get any kind of iPod engraved now!!!
Giving the gift of an experience is truly priceless. Spa treatments to glass blowing to hot air balloon rides, the options are endless! I’m not assuming anyone has the money to get plane tickets to Fiji, but there are lots of great adventures to be had and lots of cheap deals to snag! Great places to look for these (aside from Gift websites like this) are Groupon and Living Social. I’ve done so many cool things from these like horseback riding to wine tastings, and its always so fun to try something new!
Alcohol always has, and always will be, a perfect present.
Whether they’re your cousin or you don’t know the person very well, you need a host gift, you’re traveling, you’re in a bind – a nice bottle of booze is perfect. Amp it up with some accompanying accessories like whiskey stones, glasses, wine markers, or a decent cork screw and you’ve got a gift!
Sidenote: Gift Baskets are also fucking Bomb.
Traditions are SO important always, but especially around the holidays. And one of my favorite things to do as I grow up is start new traditions. Jake and I each get a fancy new ornament every year which I love (this year I got a sparkly porcelain camera) and we also give each other a banana on Christmas morning (long story). Another gift tradition I absolutely adore is getting special PJs on Christmas Eve and wearing them Christmas morning! Bring back old gift traditions or start new ones!
AND for you:
Shopping for loved ones is fantastic, but don’t forget about yourself! If you need a great and easy way to tell the people in your life what you’re hoping to see under the tree, there are fantastic tools out there like Amazon’s Wish List! Create an easy and accessible list that people in your life can check out!
Whew! Hopefully there’s something in here that’s helpful!! Happy gift hunting to all! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!