A Christmas Gift Guide for Dummies

(foreward: this was an article I wrote for a Greek newspaper at my college, The Odyssey. I couldn't help but share it on my blog too. sorry about the weird formatting)


It happens once a year, whether you like it or not: Christmas and everything that comes with it. For most people, this means fun times filled with hot chocolate, Frank Sinatra Christmas carols, and lifelong memories. For others, it is also filled with lifelong memories, except those consist of squeaky Beiber Christmas tunes, awkward distant family member encounters, and mystery meatloaves from your great great grandma (a recipe she has sworn by since the Great Depression, yet the thought of her cooking gives you a great depression). Ahh, the sweet season of the holidays!

As hard as it is lying to your great great grandma about how wonderful her meatloaf tastes, there are still more complicated tasks at hand: gift shopping. Although there is a rare breed of stay-at-home moms, very akin to the blonde lady in the Target commercial, that no doubt have their Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, the rest of us are usually not as prepared. This results in regifting and procrastinated gift shopping, or “procras-ift-opping”, if you will.

This article should help you as you and your mom procrasiftop that last week of Christmas before the family gatherings commence.

·      The workaholic dad:
o   An ugly tie.
·      The dad that is going through his mid-life Harley Davidson phase:
o   A pleather jacket, fake tattoos, and life insurance.
·      The superwoman “Target” mom:
o    A sedative induced batch of muffins.
·      The mom that still thinks she’s 17:
o    Clothes that fit her, and meet the finger-length rule requirements.
·      The mom that thinks she sings good:
o   A video of herself singing at Christmas last year. As a back up plan, buy yourself earplugs.
·      The Uncle that still asks what grade in high school you’re in:
o   A shirt with your college mascot on it.
·      The perpetually drunk uncle
o   Don’t bother getting a gift for this one. Or if you do, Advil will suffice.
·      His ever-seeking-employment loser son
o   Newspapers and highlighters
·      The uncle you’re not sure how you’re related to
o   An old framed family picture
·      Your great aunt that still talks to you like you’re a baby
o   Nothing. That’s annoying.
·      You’re Beverly Hills aunt that’s been nipped and tucked more than a quilt
o   All the seasons of Nip Tuck. And a quilt.
·      The grandpa that doesn’t know who you are
o   An 8 x 10 picture of you with your signature.
·      The grandma that still gives you kitten cards with a $5 dollar bill
o   A kitten calender.
·      Your awkward phase puberty brother
o   Just download a voice changer app on his iPhone. He should appreciate that.
·      Your awkward phase puberty sister
o   Just get this PMSing demon some midol and an Avril CD.
·      That cousin who always tries to one up you
o   A picture of the two of you. One in which you are significantly better looking in.
·      Your twi-hard cousin that only wants to talk about Breaking Dawn
o   A picture of Rob Pattinson with your best “Edward” signature.
·      Your hung over cousin coming back from their freshman year in college
o   Just introduce them to the drunk uncle. Or buy them Ramen noodles.
·      That family member who tries to force feed you
o   Nothing. Introduce him/her to the family member that still talks to you like you’re a baby.

·      You’re jealous frenemy
o   A used Starbucks gift card. Ooopssiieee.
·      The roommate you have that you secretly wish would move out
o   A card signed saying you had a great time living with him/her, and you’re sad they’re leaving, darn.
·      The roommate you have that you hope still wants to live with you
o   A card with blackmail material, and a hint. Oh, and a Christmas scented candle. Because ultimately, you will benefit from that as well.
·      Your best friend
o   The Bridesmaid DVD.
·      Your best friend’s mom, who is practically your second mom
o   Include her name on the tag for the previously stated gift.
·      Your ridiculously smart friend
o   A 2011 edition encyclopedia.
·      Your ridiculously stupid friend
o   Just get them a copy of this gift guide.
·      Your big
o   The paddle you’ve been meaning to give them since you pledged.
·      Your little
o   A list of what you want for Christmas. And a gift pack from Paddle Tramps.
·      Your other little
o   A note saying to contact her twin sister and split the previously mentioned gift.
·      Your house advisor
o   Bless this person. Pitch in with some other sisters/brothers and get them something nice. They deserve it for putting up with you.
·      Your favorite sorority sister/fraternity brother
o   A scrapbook of your favorite picture memories of the semester. Let the photo shopping commence.
·      The friend who is moving to Europe in January, and you’re trying not to be jealous of
o   A card saying you can’t wait to visit them, a print out of plane ticket prices, and finally, a Thank You card.
·      Your boyfriend
o   The new x-box game that he can’t stop talking about.
·      Your ex boyfriend
o   Nothing. That’s weird.
·      Your girlfriend
o   Buy her David Yurman jewelry. If that’s too much, too soon, then just get her the classic cliché Christmas perfume gift set. Or David Yurman jewelry.
·      Your ex girlfriend
o   Um nothing, unless it’s a restraining order.
·      Your significant other’s mom
o   A large Woodwick candle. It screams classy.

·      The roommate you kicked out a year ago
o   A picture of you two in happier times.
·      That high school friend you don’t care to keep in touch with, but feel like you owe them a gift for old times sake
o   Again, a picture of you two in happier times.
·      That high school friend who got you forgot to give a gift to last year
o   You have to make up for last year, so go ahead and give them two pictures of you both in happier times.
·      Your old favorite high school teacher
o   A thank you note for lying in your college recommendation.
·      Your hair dresser
o   It may seem random, but you’re going to need a squeezed in root-touch up appt before picture season starts, and no better way than a brown nose gift. I recommend candy for the receptionist bowl.
·      The professor whose class you will probably fail
o   A gift basket with wine, premium dark chocolate, a key chain pertaining to their subject, and red pens.
·      The professor who gave you that A- when you probably deserved a C+
o   An iPad. If that is too much, a gift card to Chimys should suffice.
·      The professor who gave you that C+ when you probably deserved an A-
o   Your great great grandma’s mystery meatloaf.

Others not important enough for a category
·      The creepy neighbor
o   A pair of binoculars, and as they open it say, “OH WAIT, you already own these!”
·      Your favorite coworker
o   Something your other coworkers won’t know about.
·      Your boss
o   A good bottle of wine. And a massage gift card, depending on how bad you want that raise.
·      Your classmate that you secretly have a crush on (coincidentally, who also doesn’t know you exist)
o   A paper you think belongs to them but doesn’t, followed by a story of how they remind you of someone else. Classic icebreaker.
·      The person who always makes your drinks at Starbucks 
                       Nothing. That’s creepy.

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