The holidays are coming up, and you are running out of time to buy those perfect gifts. I know, I know, you probably forgot that the holidays had anything to do with gift-giving because you were so focused on the theology this year. Plus, you probably didn’t even remember it was the holiday season because there were barely any commercials or public reminders.
Family is forever, which means they will never forget or forgive your minorest transgressions. Gosh the holidays are a swell time!
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday come and gone, you are stuck square in the middle of the period I’ve dubbed, “Fuck! I Lost out on 40 percent Off and Now You Get 40 percent Less Gift” Weeks.
Luckily you’ve procrastinated your way over to The Prompt and stumbled upon this guide to being a better gift-giver.
Everything you could possibly need is on Amazon. I’m not really thrilled to be making this the first tip, let alone any tip, but this is the way the world works. What Amazon lacks in paying taxes and basic human decency, they more than make up for in convenience and selection. And while I know they don’t stock LITERALLY everything, they pretty much do. Plus, their return policy is looser than the U.S. corporate tax policy, in case you don’t get it right.
Experiences are very in right now, so use it to your advantage! Don’t have time to get to the store? Morally-opposed to funding the next Jeff Bezos divorce? Do a thing! Take a loved one to a nice meal or create a personalized explorative activity based on a thing they like. Whatever you pick will be a hit, so long as you don’t do an escape room. Some fun quick ideas that you can riff on: a food crawl (pizza!), a scavenger hunt (steal the Declaration of Independence!), a class (improv!), or anything that isn’t locking yourself in a room with only logic games or a safeword as a way out.
This is a nice little trick to keep kicking the can down the road. If you get someone the ____ of the month club (think coffee, wine, cookie) you buy yourself another month to find the gift. The obvious downside is that you now need to have a deliverable every month, but at least you didn’t miss the big day.
This won’t exactly help you out of a bind in the next few weeks, but for the future, this is my best piece of advice. On your phone, in a notes app, or in an email draft, keep a list of gift ideas for all your loved ones. That’s part 1.
Part 2 of this is to listen closely when your loved ones speak. People are always talking about things they like and want (I am assuming you spend time with Americans). When you hear something, make a note of it. I know it’s bad manners to take your phone out during a conversation, but you are spending time with Americans, so they’ve seen worse.
Speaking of Americans… have you heard of capitalism? Yes, it’s very tacky to give money to friends or family. It’s horribly tasteless and uncouth. But once the gaudy moment of handing money over is complete, I promise that person will be happy to have money. No one will think less of you later, as they are using that money.
This one is a bit devious, but I’m not the idiot who waited until the last minute. Pick something that you know your giftee already has, something that they use or wear often, but not something that is their signature thing (that is important!). Buy them another one. Then pick which explanation you want to go with. Either A) “I know you have this already but it seems important to you and in case you ever need a new one, here ya go!”
Or B) (playing dumb like you do not know that they already own this) “I saw this and really made me think of you.” Then you put the onus on them to call you out on your bullshit, which no one really wants to do.
We all know the holidays are a stressful time, but with these easy tools, you should be able to stay above the fray for another year. And remember, never give your Netflix password as a gift. That’s not a gift. That’s a basic act of friendship.