The holidays can be a difficult time. Despite the fairy lights (yay!), great nosh & sense of magic, there’s also pressure from all sides, insane expectations & of course, constant, horrible Christmas music being piped in from the depths of hell. (My number one holiday tip is to wear headphones all month!)
It can be so hard to find presents for people because most people buy for themselves what they really need, meaning that you’re usually scrambling for a gift, & end up buying them crappy tsotchkes & miscellaneous rubbish which will probably disappear into a drawer, never to be seen again.
Well I say, no more! No more gift packs from The Body Shop (the ultimate I-don’t-know-you-at-all present)! No more economy packs of underpants! No more novelty socks & ties! If you have to buy someone something, why not make it something cute, fun or clever?
Here are a bunch of ideas, some of which are surely suitable for at least one or two people you know. It is all online stuff, & I did my best to find stores which shop worldwide. Also, feel free to tell us what you’ve bought (or even better, made!) for people! Your genius insights are always welcome!
So, I wrote about the Cambridge Satchel Company the other day, & lo & behold, I now have my own! I bought a 13″ purple satchel which is embossed in silver with MISS DARLING. It is seriously beautiful. The bags come in black, brown, navy blue, pink, red, yellow & purple, so you could get one in your friend’s favourite colour & have it embossed with their nickname or something sweet. It would make a really wonderful gift for anyone!
For your more liberated female friends, you cannot go past Jimmyjane as purveyors of pleasure. Their latest & greatest, the FORM 2, is the best, best, best sex toy I have ever encountered. It is shaped like a bunny head (!!!), oscillates in a variety of patterns, & — let’s be honest — almost made me pass out. Anyone you buy this for will seriously love you forever.
Heaven Help Us is an Etsy store specialising in faux-saints for the troubled. There is even St. Licky, the only dog allowed in heaven. I love it. They have a bunch of great stocking stuffer ideas. One of my favourite things is a mousepad with a picture of a nun on it, to remind you to keep on task at work. Fantastic!
Elizabeth Dilk’s kit to thwart writer’s block is genius. You can’t buy it (unfortunately, it was just a conceptual project) but you could certainly make something similar for a writer in need!
If your friends enjoy a good book, here are some I’ve been digging on recently: Textbook Romance, I Your Style, Decoding Love: Why It Takes Twelve Frogs to Find a Prince & Other Revelations from the Science of Attraction, The Magic of Thinking Big, Why Him? Why Her?: Finding Real Love By Understanding Your Personality Type, The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment, Chris Craymer’s Romance, Mystic Medusa’s Astroscape 2010 & Sun Signs & Soul Mating, Wood Nymph Seeks Centaur: A Mythological Dating Guide, Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro, & Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams by Mike Dooley.
ModCloth has a really wide assortment of things to please even the fussiest bestie. (Or should that be “beastie”?) Who could be upset about a chandelier?! This flask is ideal for tucking into a lacy garter belt. I love these unicorn keys & this 2010 cupcake calendar too. There’s a shower curtain with a Parisian view, a pink polka-dot espresso set & even What I Wore Today, a fun street-style book featuring me, Nubby Twiglet, my friends Eden & Amelia, & a bunch of other cuties! Plus, ModCloth has free shipping on orders over $75 for a limited time, so get crackin’!
Cosmetics are always a fantastic gift to give or receive. Sephora.com has sets to suit all kinds of people & MAC Cosmetics, old faithful, have released their beautiful holiday collection. If you’re not quite sure of your giftee’s tastes or needs, buy them a voucher. Pretty much every woman will be happy with this kind of thing!
You could make a DIY catalogue of love — though it seems to me this is more a gift a woman would appreciate. (Before you go bonkers at me, I know there are oodles of sensitive guys out there but honestly in my experience, most of ‘em prefer stuff they can use!)
If someone you know is getting a new laptop or phone for Christmas, you could always get them a GelaSkin featuring work by their favourite artist. Or you could create your own — the website has a little wizard where you can make one out of anything you like! It’s really easy to do — look at this iPhone cover! Hee.
I know I plug her all the time but I really do love this woman. Give your cool, quirky friend a gift subscription to Mystic Medusa & they’ll get all the astrological info they’ll ever need. Even better, Mystic has just created a little scheduler for each month, so you can see which days are best for business, lurve, yoga, parties, etc.! It is so good, & as I have said a billion times, hers are always the first emails I read in the morning.
More astro-yummies: buy your best friend a chart reading with my boy Christopher from Soulgarden! He gave me one last week & it was BRILLIANT. They go for an hour or 90 minutes, it happens over the phone or via Skype & you even get a recording of it emailed to you afterwards. I love love love him & I promise your friend will be delighted.
Fred Flare has a major assortment of gifts at different price points. TokyoMilk scented travel candles sound delicious — Let Them Eat Cake smells of sugar cane, coconut & vanilla, while Cherry Bomb is all roses & chocolate. Yum! They do perfumes, too. Cotton candy toothpicks would make for a rad stocking stuffer. These polaroid notes are ideal for your super-polite friend who worships Miss Manners & is obsessed with writing thank you notes. The sweet treats glitter postcard tin might do the trick too!
Urban Outfitters has so much cool stuff in their online store right now, such as these monogram pillowcases, marquee alphabet lights, wire frame 10″ letters, initial keyrings & necklaces (yes, I love anything with a letter on it), a set of three French notebooks (ahem, cahiers!), sun jars for the SAD-afflicted, Alice in Wonderland glasses set, damsel wallpaper (s to the woon), cardboard taxidermy for the squeamish, a snow globe frame (I had one of these years ago), fortune or moustache bandages, a violet fisheye camera, etc. I also really love this fainting sofa but it might be a tricky gift to give… Maybe you could just buy it for yourself for Christmas! Anyway, have a look around, they really do have some excellent stuff. I Urban Outfitters but I would caution, read the reviews on the items first. Sometimes their quality can be a little hit or miss. (Like for example these sequinned slips which would have been perfect for pretty much everything BUT have all been folded & thus ruined. Boo! Booooooo! I was going to wear them tucked into high-waisted skirts & now all my hopes & dreams have been RUINED! Okay, I’m done.)
I think pyjamas make a great present. Everyone needs something to sleep in (uh, except those people who sleep naked year-round). Wrap them nicely & maybe throw in a silk eye-mask for good measure. Why not make a cozy sleeping kit which includes brand new, 1000 threadcount pillowcases, pyjamas, a lavender candle (good for inducing snoozing) & a good bedtime book? Hello Kitty has pyjamas for DAYS, Victoria’s Secret has every kind of sleepwear you could possibly imagine, from slinky slips to candy-striped & polka-dotted PJs, Peter Alexander does super-cute slumber party duds (they even have sequinned knickers) & if you want to get really wacky, Sleepyheads does pyjamas with feet… (So does Target!) Plum Pretty Sugar on Etsy makes lovely robes, too.
For your friend with the sweet tooth, a let me eat cake t-shirt or a candy bar charm bracelet will make her smile so wide you’ll see every single one of her cavities. It’s a little too late for this, but maybe it will go on sale?! A girl can dream. How about Barbie edible lipstick, a 1950s Barbie chocolate bar, a piece of cake gift basket for the Marie Antoinette obsessed, some milk chocolate mittens (?!) or a horoscope chocolate bar? (If only the flavours matched the signs in some way. The Virgo bar could taste like cleaning products, while the Aries bar could taste like gasoline… Not that they would be very tasty.) Or you could just buy her a case of Wonka bars or the World’s largest candy cane & call it a day. (Maybe you should also book her an appointment to see the dentist.)
Other ideas: A Polaroid camera & a couple of packs of film will make pretty much anyone smile & definitely cement them as a hit at their new year’s eve party. The One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book is great for writers or people who love to document their lives. The 2010 Bubble Calendar, which has a bubble to pop every day, is truly excellent. These Photoshop fridge magnets make me smile. I LOVE this calendar tape. & finally, Gilt Groupe has THE BEST & most amazing sales all the time. If you’re looking for a party dress, it is the place to be. Yesterday they had Erin Fetherston dresses at a fraction of the price, & Gilt Fuse has Betsey Johnson party dresses for under $100. But they also have beautiful pens, spa vouchers, jewellery & homewares, so it is definitely a great source for fabulous Christmas gifts if you want to really impress someone!
P.S. If you are going the online shopping route — which is truly so much more sane than braving the crowds — be sure to order early! If you put it off, your gifts will not arrive in time! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
So… what are you buying your nearest & dearest this year? Are you giving big diamond baubles, unicorn soft toys, old pulp paperbacks or bubblegum tattoo collections? Or are you skipping out on the consumerism & going DIY? Let us know!