Hey there starship troopers! It's the holiday season and we're here to help you get your shit together in a variety of ways: recipes, kits, gift guides, holiday how-tos and so very much more. Come along with us, won't you, to Autostraddle Holigays 2011! FYI, if you follow the amazon links from our website when making holiday purchases, Autostraddle gets a little percentage of that money via our Amazon affiliates account, so we encourage you to do that All Season Long!! Thank you!
Welcome to another edition of Autostraddle's Holiday Shopping Guide. Sometimes it's particularly hard to shop for a gift right on the line between intimate and impersonal. You know, not lingerie, but also not a gift basket from Bath and Body Works. Like for your mom or when you've been dating someone for three months. Just kidding, by then you'll be moved in. Let's say three weeks.
In this level of closeness, I usually feel compelled to buy a woman something to wear. This, unfortunately, can begin to drown you in the insecurity of "ohmigod but they just have cuter style than me." Amirite? Everyone has a friend, girlfriend, mom, sister or cousin whose fashion sense trumps their own by leagues (or at least we feel that way). That person who always seems vaguely unimpressed with the gift you've bought them while simultaneously presenting you with the best fitting pair of jeans you've ever owned. I know at least six people like this. So here are some fool proof ideas for stylish little gifts that are pretty hard to mess up (and you can easily snag for under $50). And no, this is Definitely Not just a list of things I want for Chanukah.
Designer Costume Earrings
Now I know you're about to yell at me that there's no way you can afford jewelry, let alone designer jewelry. But this isn't fine gold jewelry designer jewelry, I'm talking about costume jewelry designed by non-jewelry designer designers. You got that? So while anyone would love a prasiolite David Yurman ring, you can also find cool jewelry from the likes of Marc by Marc Jacobs, kate spade new york or Tory Burch that any trendy chick will appreciate. My suggestion for jewelry gifts is to stick to earrings because there's generally less room for error. Plus, with earrings you can think more about what's cute and fun and less about what's serious and expensive. This is an I-like-you-but-omigod-I'm-not-ready-for-anything-serious gift. (Protip: As Crystal suggested earlier this week, make sure they have pierced ears first.)
I don't think a year goes by when I don't give new yoga stuff to my mom for either Chanukah or her birthday. This is because yoga stuff is incredibly straightforward. Unless your friend/mother (okay, let's get real, this is a total mom gift) is super double extra black belt in yoga and buys the $100 pants from lululemon athletica, there's a good chance she doesn't give a shit where her yoga stuff comes from. Also, if your gift-receiver is anything like me, she probably constantly needs more yoga pants due to a lack of laundry-doing and due to yoga pants being the best pants of all the pants.
I think a funky watch is a particularly good gift if you have a girlfriend whose style you can't even begin to approximate. Those girls who wear seemingly random stuff and effortlessly make it look perfect. Maybe this is also the perfect gift for your cute hairdresser or that girl at the sandwich shop. I dunno, just saying. A goofy watch has just the right amount of nostalgia and playfulness that even the most seriously fashionable women can't help but smile. Much like earrings, go for playful and fun over trying to pick a super serious fancy watch. Fancy-pants watches can be insanely expensive and rather a matter of personal taste so you sooo don't want to walk down that path. Also, slap bracelet watches rule.
PJ bottoms are the ultimate easy gift. You can't really mess these up. Everyone loves them and lots of folks can fit in to a medium or large without questions ask. Buy 'em for your sister, buy 'em for your bother, buy 'em for your little cousin and your older cousin. Win.
Makeup Gift Set
The great thing about makeup is that lots 'mos can have fun with it. Just ask Rachel. I would never ever suggest you buy someone a face powder or mascara for the same reason I don't suggest you buy anyone a purse. Some things are just too personal a choice. A lot of makeup is like that. If you try to guess my brand and color of foundation without reading it off the bottle there is a 99.93% chance you will be wrong. (The .07% is just because you know me so well.) On the other hand, a fun makeup kit with lots of different colors and choices makes a great gift. This is especially true of a pack of nail polish or lipstick. This is a particularly good gift for someone you're very close with but in a friendy type way; like your roommate or your sister. Like, um, anyone who might be willing to later loan you the stuff you gave her. There is one condition. It absolutely must be high quality makeup. No one wants to receive crappy makeup they wouldn't have ever bought for themselves. Sephora is a gold mine for good makeup, but in lieu of that, Laura Mercier, smashbox, Stila and O.P.I. all put out great giftsets.
So there you have it! Go forth and shop. Just try to remember that shopping for gifts is supposed to be fun for you too! If you decide to hit up Bloomingdale's tell the cute girl at the M.A.C counter that I say hi. If you decide to do your online shopping remember, nothing says "I love you" like "I bought this through Autostraddle to help support the site/community."