I’ll admit that its not really easy to work retail during the holidays. I have a romantic approach to traditional holidays, and even if I don’t usually follow the rules, I love the idea of spending the cold months with people that I love and showering them with gifts and affection, eating yummy food and feeling cozy. Unfortunately, what I see everyday resembles a troupe of headless chickens trying to fulfill some consumer bucket list and trying to get as much crap for as many people possible so that no one begrudges them something. ITS DEPRESSING.
That being said, I do love presents. I love giving them, and receiving. I put together a little gift guide of tried and true gifts that are usually thought as “boring” but with the right touch, can be amazing.
From the top.. a magazine subscription… can be as stimulating as a gift card, BUT, have you thought about getting a stack of old magazines? Old playboys are amazing, Easy Rider magazine has some of the best photos and trashiest articles, Nat Geo has some of the most beautiful kodachrome photos ever and so on.. They can be found on Ebay for nothing, I bought 20 issues of National Geographic from the 60s for $8 and the photos have since become framed, inspiration for paintings… and so on.
An old book…. okay, sure, old books are certainly more beautiful than the format literature holds today (I will never get used to hearing “my book ran out of batteries”) but most old novels aren’t that fabulous.Penguin Books has been re-issuing the classics in these beautiful clothbound editions and the collection is beautiful. We’ve all read these books, and we all will again, but isn’t it nice to read the one that doesn’t have the movie poster as the cover?
The whole Penguin series here.
A plant. sigh. yes, I love plants, but the gifted plant usually lives a short neglected life. Have you thought of giving someone a little terrarium? They are self contained and actually take zero effort since most of their sustenance is also self contained? Not to mention that they are beautiful. Paxton Gates in SF actually has a terrarium workshop that you can take for $65 where you can create your own to take home. you can also buy them online, or in most plant stores.
Check out Paxton Gate here.
A Journal…. One year I received 6 journals from different people. I guess always writing and drawing IN one meant everyone thought to invest in my pile of reveries, but not every journal is made the same and I ended up only using one of them. Yes, the pretty glittery collage diaries are sure cute, but they are also kind of annoying to write in after a while (sorry papyrus press, but I don’t need to see inspirational feathery quotes every time I plan on writing something about confused I am about whatever) Leather bound journals are so classic (in that tireless way) and the smoother and richer the paper, the more the ink flows on them. Some paper just seems to seduce words out of a pen..
Speaking of writing… the same goes for pencils, whether a wordsmith or pictorial, the perfect pencil can be the perfect gift. Brandon only used ONE type of pencil and they’ve been discontinued and finding their replacement hasn’t happened yet.
Drugs. Not the one that comes in a plastic baggy that may or may not have come out of someone’s bottom, but rather, good shaving/ body products. Buying your dad a razor can seem as thoughtless as buying a tie, but the right product….can make the right gift. Baxters of California makes a whole body/facial range that is just beyond perfect. They are super elegant and only contain the best natural products. Put down the gillette, this is the crème de la crème.
Visit Baxters here.
Candles. Does anyone remember in that 70’s show when its Eric’s birthday and Jackie tells Donna to give him a scented candle? It was so awkward and ridiculous (and huge)However, theres some candles that are just too good to not wrap up in a pretty package and give.. Lafco has the most amazing scents in a colored glass vase that will make anyone glow happily. We’ve been selling a ton of them at Prize and everyone comes back to get one for themselves!
Weekend bags.. Have a nomadic friend in your life? I don’t even need to talk about the pendleton weekend bags. Theres nothing to say. Maybe you don’t have $600 laying around (who does?) but a little digging around in flea markets can leave you with a similar treasure.
All that to say, yes, you can totally get away with buying someone a candle and a plant, just make sure that they are exceptional ones..