It’s some­how Decem­ber, which means we are mere weeks from the most mag­i­cal time of the year: my birth­day. Have you been cursed blessed with some­one sim­i­larly dif­fi­cult picky for your upcom­ing hol­i­day of choice? I am sorry. Despite being a PITA on the receiv­ing end, an infor­mal sur­vey says that I am awe­some at the giv­ing. This is not because I am super­rich and give peo­ple piles of cash (which would be nice) or because I shop all year long at killer sales. My ears perk up when some­one says “I’ve always wanted that” or “I wish I could find that.” So, some ideas:

Things they can eat. I adore candy from Hammond’s. They make some­thing called a filled straw and it is quite pos­si­bly the most deli­cious thing on earth. If let near a bag, a wild ani­mal takes over my being and destroys it within min­utes. There­fore, I point you towards the world’s cutest (and most deli­cious) candy canes. The more, the merrier.…

Image of candy canesPer­haps your beloved doesn’t like candy. They do not sound like some­one I would enjoy. How­ever, fig­ure out what they like to con­sume and then step it up. A bag of jerky from the gas sta­tion: lame. A bag of hand­crafted Korean BBQ jerky: magical.

Things that add a bit of lux­ury to exis­tence. Cash­mere socks have been a big hit with my dad in the past. My hus­band is fond of his non-disposable col­lar stays. I abhor bath mats and think a teak one might keep me from want­ing to change the mat daily.

Things they talk about. When Ryan and I first started dat­ing, he told me about this semi-obscure brass band that he loved. He had a few of their records on vinyl, but couldn’t find all of them. I saw this as a chal­lenge. For Christ­mas, I man­aged to deliver the com­plete discog­ra­phy. Some of them were a lit­tle shady-looking, burned copies with slightly wonky art, but he still men­tions it. I’m con­vinced it was one of the rea­sons he decided to marry me. I keep bring­ing up Alexan­der Girard, so I’d prob­a­bly love this print at Design Pub­lic. (Lately I also can’t stop talk­ing about Larry King, but please don’t use that as a start­ing point for a gift.)

Image of Love printed on plywood by Alexander GirardThings they’d use every­day. A gift card to their favorite cof­fee shop. A func­tion­ing tea ket­tle. We cook a lot and drink smooth­ies. Wouldn’t a fancy blender make these tasks a lit­tle nicer?

Image of Vita Mix blenderIn the Not $500 cat­e­gory, I think this nail brush is lovely. Maybe check that the per­son you’re buy­ing for would geek out on these as much as I do.

Image of wooden nail brush

Lastly, things they’d never buy for them­selves. Admit­tedly this is a tricky cat­e­gory and one of the hard­est to pull off. It also can be expen­sive. I am embar­rassed to say how often I think about these nest­ing strain­ers by Sori Yanagi. They’re beau­ti­ful, they’re func­tional, I’d use them weekly if not daily. And yet, I can­not bring myself to pur­chase them. Sun­glasses are the same story. Even when I cal­cu­late the cost per wear, I hes­i­tate.
Image of sunglasses(These are from Oliver Peo­ples.)

I was going to wrap this up with a list of don’t-gives, but thought it might come off as neg­a­tive. So I’ll turn it over to you: what gift, in your eyes, sucks?