Great White Snark: Brown paper packages tied up with strings...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Brown paper packages tied up with strings...

I decided to write something about gift-giving, because it's the most materialistic wonderful time of the year.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what to buy men. This is such a failing in my life, because I always feel like I have three things which I always buy the gentlemen in my life: books, t-shirts, and food of some sort. Omg, Guys, WHAT DO YOU WANT??

I was thinking about this this morning and thought, "I wish there was some awesome guy blog out there loaded with ideas FROM MEN about what they want."

Then I was like, "I'm a girl. With a girl blog. And lots of Gentleman readers. I WILL DO THE SAME THING."

So whether you're male, female, or somewhere in between, here's a little list of things you can get that special lady in your life, straight from a real live girl who might know a thing or two about ladies want.

(Granted, this is all very much full of crass generalizations. Besides, I'm not sure I'm the best representative of my sex. So basically, this is incredibly biased and probably totally inaccurate, but hey, it's the thought that counts and maybe you'll get an idea from it.)

So the first item on my list is ideal for that girl in your life that you sort of know and like but don't want to pull out all the stops for-- roomates, acquaintances, neighbors, an addition to a sister's gift. Something like that.

It's a little bag full of essential makeup stuff for on-the-go girls! All products are from ELF, and the entire thing, bag included, cost $21 even (they often have free shipping...just use the Google button on the internet machine). It has cool things like a transluscent pressed powder (takes the guess-work out of guessing the right shade and works to touch up makeup), a minty lipgloss, a two-in-one eyeshadow and eyeliner stick and oil-blotting sheets to keep shine at bay. Like I said, it's a nice thing to get (and have!). It's not too terribly generic and doesn't break the bank (To see the detailed list of above items Click here.).

On that note. Women are extremely sensitive to generic presents. By which, I mean don't go into Bath and Body Works and grab a pre-packaged gift set and expect her to be bowled over. It's not gonna happen. This is the stuff that women buy for people they either don't know or don't care about. Unless there's a scent with some kind of deeper meaning (for example: BB&W has this one, "Twilight Woods," which I gave and got aplenty between friends who like Twilight. Appropriate.), avoid the bath stuff (addendum: a body spray, perfume or lotion makes a nice addition to a gift. Or, as mentioned, if it's something she really wants, by all means GO FOR IT. Just don't default to bath stuff). Also candles. Unless she wants a really specific scent or candle, they're an utterly lame gift.

On that note, if you have absolutely no idea what to get a woman, Victoria's Secret has a line of bath products called the Secret Garden Collection, and the massive bottles of body spray start at $9.00. Here's a little secret: every single woman, no matter how anti-big brand or tomboyish she might seem, loves Victoria's Secret. I don't know why. I don't know if it's the fact that it comes in a pink striped bag with all your stuff wrapped carefully in hot pink tissue paper. I don't know if it's because women on all ends of the financial spectrum wear VS stuff. Maybe because it's so celeb-endorsed. I have no idea. But you really can't go wrong with it. And if you're uncomfortable going in there, recruit a woman friend to go in and get it for you. And don't be surprised when she comes out with her own stuff.

All of the above are under $25. Not too shabby, right?? Also. If you're looking for something saucy and more...lingerie-ish. All I have to say is: Pink by VS 5 for $25!

So another really good gift idea is a magazine subscription. Even in the age of iPads and e-readers, magazine sales are still just as high as ever. There's just something about glossy paper pages and being able to tear them out and fold them up that you can't replace. For your everyday girl, Glamour is a pretty solid choice. It couples fashion advice and trend watching with health news, real-world issues and relationship advice (that goes beyond Cosmo's "HOW TO BE AN AWESOME SLUT IN BED!"). It's a relatively good choice. If your girl's more artsy and into music and off-the-radar news, you absolutely cannot beat Nylon. Nylon offers offbeat fashion with stellar music/movie reviews, well-written articles and 80'stastic graphic design (**BONUS!** There's also Nylon for Guys. Nice!). It's just pretty to look at. If you know a brainy feminist creative type, BUST might be a good choice. I'd flip through an issue first (it tends to be unmerciful in its treatment of social/sexual issues. Not for the squeamish or blissfully ignorant!) to see if it's right for the lady in question, but it does have some unusual and insightful articles and ideas. Perfect for your riot-grrrl. If you know a hippie-chic girl who's into sustainability and living green, you could try Mother Earth News, which features developments in green technology, self-sufficiency, home farming, organics, and the like. Stargazer/techie/sci-fi fan? Try Popular Science or Astronomy! Both are really interesting (surprisingly), but I especially enjoy Astronomy because a) I like astronomy and enjoy hearing about new discoveries and stuff, and b) even I can understand it. I think you've done pretty well for yourself if you've made a science magazine relatable to someone who pretty strictly reads Victorian societal novels. And of course, for the fashionista in your life, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the fashion Bible, Vogue, which surprisingly, for being on the world's most shallow topic, has some pretty well-written and occasionally (dare I say it?) deep articles.

As much as you might cringe to do so, indulge her fandoms. Even if that means supporting her penchant for sparkly impossible vampires. Whatever she digs, you could trick her out in that thing. If you're a geek for something, you never fail to get hyped up about it. Maybe it's a movie, TV show, book series, band...whatever. Just google some merch and run wild (good sites: Far Out Shirts, Hot Topic,, and Etsy.).

You really need to familiarize yourself with Google Shopping if you've not done so already. AMAZING.

Another nice, but cliched, gift is jewelry. It's always nice to get something sparkly, but to me at least, something with significance is more desirable than a costly stone (but those are nice, too!). Over the summer I bought a necklace from Best Name Necklace on Etsy. They were fantastic! You can pick what script and color you want the necklace, and they'll do any word or name you want. This would be especially cool if you had a certain significant word or nickname (that she wouldn't be mortified to wear in public!) that you could make up for her. Or, if she's a Sex and the City fan, since Carrie sort of infamously wore (and lost) hers.

If you like the above idea, but want a different/non-traditional take on it (or have a friend who's a history/Egyptology buff), you could get her the same thing but in hieroglyphics. HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?!

I would avoid buying her purses. I mean, as much as I LOVE purses, here's the deal with women and purses (or shoes, or clothes, or whatever she's obsessed with): we're so darn picky. Sometimes we don't even know what we want. Unless you are intimately acquainted with your friend and know exactly what she likes (or if she's not picky at all--you are blessed!), I'd skip this. If you want a classy gift though, wallets and watches are timeless. As long as they're decent. You can go to a place like TJ Maxx and find some pretty high-quality stuff for relatively cheap (last time I was in the Oviedo one, they had Fossil watches for like $25-$35. NOT BAD!). Anyway, these are more personal items that are best left up to her own discretion. The thought is incredibly sweet though! Same as before: if she's specifically pointed out one of the above items that she wants and it's well within your price range, please, for God's sake, just ignore me and get it for her!

All that being said, I am well aware that we're in a recession and stuff. Money is really tight for everyone and if the girl in question is worth her salt, she gets that, too. Don't feel like you need to sell your Gibson in order to get her a Christmas present. Girls are sensitive--we know it's the thought that really counts. If you're low on cash, here are just a few ideas:
♥ : framed picture of the two of you. Bonus points for customizing it.
♥ : a picnic! Especially when the weather's so fair! You could pack it in a cute basket, take her to a park, and set out a nice festive spread. She'll appreciate the time spent and the thought that went into it.
♥ : On that note, guys aren't the only ones who's stomachs lead right to their hearts. Baked cookies (decorated, perhaps, with inside jokes or a favorite thing of hers), brownies, dinner, etc. will never fail to impress us. It melts our hearts. Or, if you're absolutely hopeless in the kitchen like me, it raises you to a god-like status that you can maneuver your way around a kitchen successfully and I can't.
♥ : This is cheesy and probably really subjective, but flowers. If she's not your typical roses girl, the Season has a lot of cool plants. Poinsettias and Christmas cacti (they ONLY bloom in the weeks leading up to cool!) come to mind. This, coupled with a card or letter detailing why she means so much to you, is always a safe bet. And as aforementioned, if she doesn't appreciate the effort you went to, drop her like she's hot (which she probably isn't.).

Need more ideas? Check out the following:
♥ : Fred Flare: quirky, fun, unique gifts at every price range.
♥ : College Fashion's 45 Gifts Under $50 list.
♥ : Glamour's whole page on Gift Ideas.

Most websites have some kind of gift guide this time of year. And use your CREATIVITY!
Spongebob Imagination


Happy Shopping!

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