The holidays can be hard, even if you have a great chosen family, great friends, and are generally happy. They’re even harder if you’re a sad person because when everyone is happy around you and there’s happy music playing and every commercial on Hulu also so fucking happy, not being happy feels like shit! And being sad already feels like shit! Just feeling bad on top of feeling sad on top of feeling mad at yourself for being sad — I wouldn’t know anything about that, but I hear it sucks.
Okay, just kidding this is about me. I’m your chronically sad friend. And I get it, you can’t make me feel better, it’s not your “job” to make me feel better, but the thing about sadness — at least my sadness — is that it is extremely isolating.
Sorry. We’re gonna get to the gift guide, I swear. Sometimes all I need when I’m feeling sad is to know that someone is thinking about me; really thinking about me. Not just “oh, I’ve got some free time and some work to do, maybe I’ll co-work with them” thinking about me, but “Al said it makes them feel good when people go on walks with them, so maybe I’ll make them an old school coupon for two free afternoons where we go on a walk,” thinking about me. The specificity is the thing. When we’re specific, we remind our friends — happy friends, sad friends, overworked friends — that we care about them.
So here are some gifts to show your sad friends you’re thinking about them. Remember, these are just guides, be specific, they’ll appreciate the thought you put behind it so much.
When you’re sad, it’s super easy to wear the same thing every day for weeks on end and just kinda be okay with it. These gifts are cozy, easy to wear, and will make the wearer look good. Yes I would go run errands in this entire outfit (plus maybe a cute tee from the Autostraddle merch store, you know?) three different days of the week. Okay, honestly I’d wear it every day. I’m wearing the same shirt going on four days right now and I plan to keep wearing it until I have an outside influence to change it. Everyone deserves a cute outfit to wear a week in a row.
You know what people don’t say enough? Being depressed literally stinks. Smells awful. I walked downstairs a few days ago and my first floor smelled like a literal trash can. Help your pal breathe in something good, instead of the smell of their sadness with these gifts. Plus, the Michelle Obama incense smells exactly like you’d hope Michelle Obama would smell, and if you live in NYC, you can probably find it at your favorite bodega.
Feel Good (Physically)
We need physical touch! And when your friends are sad, they’re probably a little lonely, and probably self-isolating, and sometimes they just need a blanket that weighs 20 lbs to lay on top of them and remind them that they have a body and that body deserves to feel things. And sometimes they need to smoke some weed to get taken outside of that body a little bit and just… vibe.
Feel Good (Emotionally)
Here are the gifts for when you’re feeling all “listen I know this isn’t my job, but I need to try and get inside of that sweet little heart and remind you that you are loved.” Here we’ve got the homemade gifts, the book gift cards, the journals, the quiet activities to keep their little troubled brains busy, a kitten, even (Thank you Molly Adams for the suggestion)! The possibilities are endless.
Maybe your friend is working through “deserve” language with their therapist and you know won’t do well with receiving any gifts this year. Do something in their honor! Give some money to The Okra Project, or your other favorite mutual aid project. Make them a coupon like you did for your parents when you were seven. Name a star after them so that when they talk to their girlfriend, the moon, they feel a little closer to her.
Yo, I’ve been eating ramen and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day with an occasional chicken sandwich peppered in there about twice a week. It’s… not cute. I know, I know, I will feel better if I eat better, but like, who has the time? Who has the energy? Give your pals some good food to put in their house and I guarantee they’ll eat it. And what’s better, Harry and David has a basket that literally says “Thinking of you!” So they’ll know you’re thinking of them! Amazing!
I hope something in here made you go, “Yes! I could customize this for my sad friend perfectly!” Also! In a recently deleted tweet thread, so many of my friends helped me come up with these suggestions. Thank you. Y’all are perfect. You might not be able to cure your buddy’s sadness, but you can definitely bring some holiday cheer into heart this season.