Darling, our favorite time of year! Shopping for others! After which we feel so virtuous that we have a small spiced coffee and a petite slice of bûche de Noël, then we listen to Toby Keith’s “Hot Rod Sleigh” at full volume. Joy!
Let’s review the basics: before you start shopping 1) decide on your budget, 2) figure out your morals, 3) forget yourself and think of the person you are shopping for
If you have a petite fille on your list who loves dolls, then you buy a doll. I have no time or sympathy for those trolls who stomp around and bellow “I won’t buy Barbies.” With plenty of eco-friendly, sparkle gifts out there, there is no need for high horses or holier-than-thou. Find someone who hand makes Barbie-clothes, buy wooden Barbie-furniture or some fun dress-up clothes from a charity shop (make sure you clean them before gifting). Use brown paper bags on which you have drawn pine trees… there are plenty of ways to stay true to yourself without making a fuss.
For others on your list (especially students and those on a budget) consider a first aid fiesta. I know, I know – you are sighing in exasperation but it’s flu season, plus covid (still!) and medicine can get expensive. For people who are struggling financially, your running through a pharmacy can bring a lot of happiness. Get some basics (aspirin, pain relief, sore throat drops, flu medicine), multi-vitamins, zinc/ vitamin C, then some chocolate, perhaps a niche magazine, socks, Dr. Bach drops, instant soup, perhaps a cute mug, good lip balm – toss into festive paper bag with some tissue paper and voila, rapture.
Nota bene: if you try to sneak in any of YOUR issues (like adding anything connected to weight loss, weight gain, stopping smoking, make-up for a person who doesn’t wear cosmetics, etc.), I will make sure Santa NEVER stops by your house again! Christmas is for giving, not for indulging in schemes to improve others.
- Tarte make-up (we are swooning over their ‘quick stick’)
- Table-top pine trees (heavenly scent for those in small apartments)
- New Moon Beginnings for fabulous candles
- Burdicks for fabulous chocolates
- National Trust for those in UK
- LL Bean for those is USA
- travel books [see: Reading in Autumn: Amusing Travel Adventures and Reading in Autumn: Classic Travel Books ]
- For those who have everything – donate to causes in their names (ballet companies always need help and zoos let you sponsor an animal)
Remember you can give another person an appliance (shop vac, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, mixer, etc.) if and only if it is accompanied by tickets to their favorite musical on Broadway, their favorite tropical island, Alaska for bear-watching or Paris for a week at the George V.
Et moi? Like any sensible person, all I want for Christmas is World Peace. And England to win the World Cup. And to have the on-line shopping CEO for IKEA and Fortnum & Mason sitting at a computer terminal under my supervision. I will give them each a list of 5 things to buy and if they can complete their mission in under an hour without cussing, crying or screaming, I will kiss them on the cheek and hand them a cup of egg nog. And if they can’t (trust me – they will not be able to) then they will have to make a 5-minute self-recrimination video in which they list their (manifold) faults in not creating an easy-to-use website and vow to do better next year. They will also donate ALL their presents to charity and buy me a new Range Rover.
Holding Onto Your Christmas Joy in the Face of Legions of Trolls
Yes, Virginia – Proper Behavior at Christmas Time
Christmas in the Middle East – STRÅLA and Sardine-flavored Candy Canes