'Tis the season to be anxious! Fa la la la la, la la la la...
Holidays, whether Hannukah, Christams, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Diwali, etc., bring great joy into my life, but they can also bring stress and anxiety as I begin to think about the enormous gift giving tasks ahead. Not only do I fret about who should receive gifts, but also about what to buy in the first place. I may not be able to help you determine who should get gifts this year, but I am hoping this Finding Normal Gift Guide will equip you with some good ideas. And remember, it's the thought that counts, and a bigger budget does not always mean a better gift.
Before I jump into my suggestions, a few thoughts about my own gift giving tendencies. I consider myself a mediocre gift giver; I sometimes come up with great, and creative ideas; but other times struggle, and end up choosing something generic. I also don't believe gifts need to be big, flashy, or expensive. We all have rent, or mortgages to pay. Most importantly, I try to think about what the gift receiver will appreciate, whether I like the idea or not. For example, if someone spends time curating their Amazon Wish List, I will most likely buy something from it, even though it takes away the surprise, and creativity.
Now on the gifts!
For Your Coworker/Boss: Homemade Sweets
Struggling to say Thank You to everyone in the office without breaking the bank? Take this opportunity to try a new dessert recipe (I recommend this, this, this, and this). You can also find cute, and inexpensive holiday bags and boxes to make it a little extra-special.
For Your College-Aged Sibling: Uber Gift Card
Give the gift of a few rides (and safety) home for when they are just too lazy to take public transportation, or too broke to call a cab.
For Your Grandparent Who Has Everything: Make a Donation in Their Honor
It's tough to buy for grandparents, as they typically don't want to burden grandkids with spending money, plus, there may not be anything they really want this year. Instead of picking out a gift just for the sake of having them unwrap it, think about donating to a charity or cause they are passionate about.
For Your Other Grandparent Who Also Has Everything: Local/Artisinal Foods
When in doubt, give edible items. Artisinal is a little overused these days, but there is something nice about giving coffee, chocolate, pickles, etc., made in your town. This can be a great way to share your world with your family.
For Your Parents And/Or In-Laws (the most difficult people to shop for): Netflix
Stealing my own idea here. A few years ago, David and I purchased, and started paying for my mother-in-law's Netflix subscription after she mentioned how much she wanted to watch shows like The West Wing. Think about how much you love Netflix, Hulu, or HBO GO; now think about how awesome it would be if someone paid for it!
For Your Friends Who Just Got Married: Date Night
Your friends most likely are overwhelmed with the number of new things in their lives, so why not get them something to help relax? Send them a few bottles of wine, purchase a gift card at their favorite restaurant (wink, wink, for anyone wanting to show their love toward David and me), or send them to the movies.
For Your Fitness Crazy Friend: Group Fitness Class
I'm not sure about where you live, but prices for specialty fitness classes skyrocketed in DC. Think about purchasing a drop-in class, or month-long membership for your friend who is always wanting to try the latest fitness craze.
For the Creative Home Cook: Spice Blends
I find that people who love to cook already have what they need, so searching for the latest kitchen gadget could be frustarting. Instead, give a collection of interesting spices, or sauces for them to try.
And When You Really Have No Clue: Offer to take your friend/family member for a drink
Everyone has rough days, and everyone loves a free drink on those rough days. If you still can't come up with a good gift idea, your friend or family member will greatly appreciate a trip to their favorite bar, coffee shop, or dessert spot in a few weeks. I know I always appreciate these kinds of gifts.
The above showcase some of my favorite gift ideas for this holiday season, but remember, it really is the thought that counts. No gift is worth days of stress, and worrying, so just a few final thoughts on how to keep this gift giving season anxiety free:
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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