There's no worse feeling than when someone hands you a present and you have nothing to give because you've basically forgotten this person exists. I mean really, who would have thought your little brother's girlfriend-of-two-weeks would get you that Glossier set you've been dreaming of?! (Amber, if you're trying to impress me, IT'S WORKING.) Writer Kira Cook weighs in on the best things to buy people you almost forgot about. Turn that guilt into a GIFT!
Every year, there's a handful of random people that I forget to buy a gift for and I end up scrambling for something thoughtful at the last second. That something thoughtful usually turns into an unmemorable candle or a bottle of alcohol, you know, to help them forget the candle more quickly! There must be a better way. And there is. THERE IS!!!!
I'm here for you, and honestly for me too, with this handy-dandy guide to avoiding this disastrous holiday situation. Below, you'll find a list of people you've definitely already forgotten but realllllllly shouldn't skip getting a gift for this year. 'Tis the season of giving, but there's a silent aftermath to that phrase that is oft abandoned, to give thoughtfully!
YOUR RECEPTIONIST / YOUR ASSISTANT
Your receptionist tirelessly does all your dirty work day in, day out. They take your calls, they sort your mail, they keep your kitchen tidy, they pretend to not mind that they have to stay late when you need them. They deserve a dang HOLIDAY GIFT!!!
First thing's first: your receptionist needs caffeine before they can deal with the daily barrage of mumbo jumbo that you throw their way. Get 'em this sturdy metal travel mug that will get her from house to work with no spillage incident, and maybe a lil' smile too boot.
Get 'em a really cool-looking clock, so they can stare at it and count down how long you're going to keep them at work while daydreaming of other places they'd rather be (no offense). Get 'em a super soft throw blanket to throw around them when the office gets chilly, in a print that reminds them what your consistent balderdash does to their brain.
YOUR RANDO COUSIN
You've accounted for everyone you think will be at your family Christmas this year. It's a small group, and you've carefully stuffed your suitcase with an organic rosehip face mask for your aunt who recently complained of dry skin, and the Criterion version of the movie your uncle always quotes. Oh, shiiiiii. You forgot. Your random cousin who usually never flies home for Christmas is going to be there this year. Now what?! Hmm, what do you know about him? Well, he's in his 20's, he has no social media presence, and you guys talk once a year. So: not much, not much at all.
When you don't have much to go on, there are luckily still plenty of options to get him something thoughtful and rad. You know he's a creative, sensitive, and intelligent young dude. Why not a Magritte-inspired wall tapestry to adorn his no doubt ramshackle, blank-walled apartment? You also can't go wrong with a super comfy sweatshirt with a smartly designed compass engraved on the front. No matter what kind of taste you've got, you gotta get where you wanna go, yanno? See more gift ideas for this dude over here.
This is the toughie of all toughies. Of course, you want to stay within what's appropriate, but make it personal, but also not too personal. You want to show off your taste without being a braggart. You want to invest in a nice item to show him or her that you appreciate your position, but you don't want to go overboard, they know how much you make, after all.
Round out their office decor in a subtle, yet funny way with this UGH throw pillow. It'll make their clients laugh when they come in for a meeting and immediately put people at ease, even you, the next time you'e called in there. Get them a wall clock backed by a beautiful, inspiring nature print so they are reminded every time they check the time that there is, indeed, someplace that you can all be instead of at work. The key is in the subtle clues, people. Subtlety. You know, like in this Poison-themed Travel Mug. "Ha ha!" you'll laugh as they open it in front of you. "No need to wash before using!" you cajole, as they narrow their eyes in doubtless good cheer.
Maybe pair the above gifts with a super cool art book by a photographer he might not be acquainted with, despite a self-professed love of the genre.
YOUR DAD'S GIRLFRIEND WHO YOU ACTUALLY LIKE
She's sweet, she loves your dad and she's good to him. You've got no complaints! SO FAR. She's also obsessed with dogs, which you of course find exceedingly charming. Get her this fun Anatomy of a Dachshund mug for her morning coffee, and go ahead and make it a two-fer with the all-over print tee version of a dachshund obsession. Round it out with a soft throw blanket to wrap herself in when she and your dad Netflix and Chill. Ugh.
YOUR MOM'S BOYFRIEND WHO YOU DON'T ACTUALLY LIKE
This guy just can't do right by you, and that's okay. Sometimes, people just RUB YA THE WRONG WAY. That doesn't have to signal the end of holiday cheer, however! Invest in the gift of subversive comedy with
this t-shirt whose reference he won't get because he's never seen Mean Girls, and this mug which he'll think is funny but you know is only funny because it's real. All. Too. Real.
YOUR AGENT/PUBLISHER/MANAGER/PR PERSON
This person works HARD on your behalf. There's an insane amount of work that goes into representing both a person and a creative body of work, so get creative back with their gift this year. Since agents/publishers/managers/PR people are kind of always at work, it would help to get them a gift that's both creative and functional, like this super-rad laptop case that subtly showcases the depths of the sea.
If they're the sassier sort, go with this case instead: it'll keep 'em laughing while getting the point across for them. They'll need a sturdy travel mug to keep 'em going whilst they're on the go, hustling for you. Try this cool cactus print: classy and delightful, all at once.
If it's someone who self-identifies as a woman, pair it with a cool duet of lipstick shades that you know will arm them with a heretofore unknown fierceness.
YOUR CUTE, BRILLIANT NIECE
She's young, she's cool, she's wicked smart, and she's a feminist. The opportunities are endless, but you always wait til the last second and scramble for something for her because you never see her and she lives on the other side of the country. Get her a Nasty Woman notebook to write down all her budding feminist feelings, thoughts, essays, and homework notes.
While you're at it, get her an iPhone case in this Shooting Star print by Henn Kim so she can remind herself and everyone else what an interstellar badass she is. Just as cool? A canvas print reminding her of what a Vintage Swiss Forest QUEEN she is everyday when she wakes up, by collage artist Eugenia Loli.