11 December 2012

Christmas gifts for the easy-to-please

Confession: I haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet. Well, I suppose there are lots of people who haven’t finished yet, with two weeks still to go. But there have been enough triumphant (dare I say... smug?) friends exclaiming that they’ve reached the end of their shopping list that I’m starting to feel awfully behind.

I could attribute my delay to the general holiday malaise I’m currently experiencing, but honestly, this happens every year. When it comes to Christmas gift shopping, I barely get started before it’s too late for free Amazon shipping, but not so late that I’m standing in line at the Mart of Wals on Christmas Eve, slowly dying inside. Because, really, is there any other way to stand in that particular checkout line?

No, the reason I’m slow is that I’m a horrible gift giver. Seriously, I am. If you receive gifts from me, you don’t need to pretend otherwise. I have a really hard time coming up with a good idea and executing it correctly. If you got a good gift from me, it was probably chosen by Mr. P, or you straight-up told me what to buy you. And perhaps the most shameful part of being a bad gift-giver is that I’m a super good gift-receiver. The most generic, end-of-the-aisle special-winter-edition item you’d find in a store is something I’d probably love. A candle? A scarf? A Starbucks gift card? Genuinely perfect for me.

So I can’t really help you with that ridiculously hard-to-buy-for uncle... if he doesn’t like candles or scarves or Starbucks, that is. But I can tell you what to buy that easy-to-please cousin, because that person is probably like me! Here are just a few reasonably-priced items currently on my list that would make a pretty great gifts! (And no worries, I’m a lowly blogger with zero compensation or affiliate links, so all items are things I found and endorse all on my own. I share because I love!)

1: Korres Guava body butter

Every lady has scents they like and scents they hate. Admit it: perhaps you embrace vanilla but cringe at musk, or adore citrus but can’t stand roses. The aforementioned scented candles can be a dicey gift if you’re not sure of your recipient’s tastes, and lotion is the same way... except for this stuff. The guava scent is so light and easy and blends in with whatever else your recipient might wear, plus this stuff moisturizes winter skin like nearly nothing else. This is the only item on my list that I own, so I can safely say it’s a good bet that your recipient will like this!

2: Mercury glass owls benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

For our wedding, Mr. P and I suggested that in lieu of gifts, our wedding guests that wanted to give us a present could instead make a donation to the American Cancer Society or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. We got a few squinty-eyed frowns at that, but really, the good vibes from charity were an awesome wedding gift, you know?

If you have a recipient who also gets warm fuzzies from that sort of thing, these owls are perfect! Five bucks per owl (that’s over half of the $9 sale price for the small price) goes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Most people love owls nowadays but everyone loves helping sick kids and their families!

3: Young House Love book (autographed, even!)

Yes yes, you and I and all your online buddies know that Sherry and John Petersik wrote a book. And they are darling and even without reading it you know the book is full of good ideas and it’s surely a good buy. Yes. You know that.

But what about your cousin who’s never heard of Young House Love? Can you imagine giving them this book and being the one to introduce them to the inspirational phenoms? And getting to tell them that they have a blog that’s updated twice daily too? Wouldn’t that be incredible ? Best gift giver ever, you!

4: Urban Outfitters Cable-Knit Beret

Let’s be honest here. I have a big head. Not figuratively, physically. And lots of hair. And cold ears! This hat resolves all those problems that your potential recipient might face. You get to give them clothes, wintry clothes no less, and you don’t even have to guess their size. Plus, it’s super trendy, and trendy items always make for perfect gifts – after all, they’re those things you refrain from buying for yourself because it’ll only last a few years, right?

5: West Elm Throw

In the interest of giving you a complete mental picture of Casa P, you should probably know that throughout the winter, Mr. P and I will be sprawled out on opposite ends of our huge sectional and sharing a king-sized fuzzy beige blanket. It’s cozy but... not stylish. The ginormous blanket gets (barely) stuffed into our ottoman when company comes over because it is not pretty.

And I’d be willing to bet that ugly blankets is a universal problem. Your recipient would probably like a blanket that could be stylishly tossed on the sofa arm when company comes, right? Give them a nice new pretty one from a store, for under twenty bucks! It comes in every color, plus striped varieties, guaranteeing that you can make them happy this holiday.

6: Modern city map print

Granted, this gift isn’t for everyone – it’s a bold décor statement, and it requires knowing that your recipient lives in and/or loves a particular city. But the variety of maps at this Etsy shop is extensive, meaning you have a chance of finding their home city in the US or choosing an international destination that may have their heart. I picked the STL map for my wish list, but wouldn’t the Rome one be fun for our honeymoon? Or get this – if you’re gifting a habitual city-dweller, pick a set of three (on sale!) of your recipient’s past city AND current city AND honeymoon city! Or you can up your gift-giving game as needed by getting a frame as well – either professional (if ya swanky) or one from Tar-zhay. You’d be the hippest gift-giver ever.

So there you have it, some ideas to finish up – or jump start – your Christmas shopping! Granted, these gifts are probably suited to the easiest-to-buy-for people on your list, but if you think creatively, maybe your grandma needs some good hand lotion? Or maybe that aforementioned uncle would like a blanket in the color of his favorite sports team? Then again, maybe that’s just the bad gift-giver in me talking. Instead, perhaps... Perhaps you’ll have a bit of extra Christmas dough, in which case, you are the recipient, dear reader. Enjoy!