Holiday Shopping Stress: Difficult Gifts

The season to give has arrived, and while most people are overjoyed, some of you are overwhelmed, wondering what the hell to give in the first place. Now, I know it can be difficult trying to find the perfect gift for the perfect person. Trust me I understand. And at a time where new products […]

The season to give has arrived,

and while most people are overjoyed, some of you are overwhelmed, wondering

what the hell to give in the first place. Now, I know it can be difficult

trying to find the perfect gift for the perfect person. Trust me I understand.

And at a time where new products pop up almost instantaneously, writing your

gift list can be very stressful.


Well, don’t worry it’s not that

serious – or at least it doesn’t have to be. The holidays are meant to create

good spirits, happiness, and togetherness – not to produce worry, stress, and

embarrassment. So take note, because when it comes to shopping for loved ones,

family, friends, or even colleagues, ya girl got you. I will let you know what

gifts are appropriate for that special someone on your list. 


Starting with your better half,

I have a few ideas for gift giving from you to him/her. Now, when it comes to

your sweetheart, remember: price point, uniqueness and “the thought that

counts” theory depend on how long you’ve been in your relationship and how

serious it is.


Do not think that because this

is your first holiday together you have to go all out and spend a bunch of

money on a gift as a means of impressing your boo, because number one: he/she

may not be your boo for long – and number two: if you start out feeding him/her

filet mignon, please do not think that down the road you can feed him/her

chicken. It doesn’t work like that.


You have to start from the

bottom and work your way up not the other way around. That’s called hustling

backwards. If you want to impress, there is a better way to do so than

concentrating on price point—get something unique. A one-of-a-kind or a classic

is bound to make that special person actually feel special.


As far as the “thought that

counts” theory, please keep in mind that one is liable to ask, “What the hell

were you thinking?” Some of you do not take this season seriously, and wait

until the last minute to go gift shopping then when there’s nothing good left

to buy. You pick up something simple and meaningless and convince yourself that

the recipient will be grateful, because at least you thought of them. Wrong!


People anticipate getting gifts,

especially when it’s their first holiday with a mate. So, do not stress, but do

not disappoint either. And the way to avoid both is to simply plan ahead. This

person should be very close to the top of your list, so work on his/her gift

early. This accounts for time needed to possibly get something engraved or

custom. Extra time also allows you to choose a gift under serene circumstances

rather than buying impulsively under pressure.


Now, just in case no ideas have

sparked yet, I’ve included some more specific gift ideas for that special

person in your life. They are as follows:


For him, I’d say technology.

Depending on what he’s into and how much is in your budget, anything from a

portable DVD player to the new iPhone. Men love gadgets and more often than

not, people in their lives won’t get them any for the holidays. Instead they

tend to get pajamas, slippers, and underclothes. He’ll be pleasantly surprised

to get something he will enjoy, rather than just something he can wear.


For her, I’d say a gift card.

Let’s be real, women love to shop! And every woman is different with different

styles and interests. You see, you can know that your woman wants lingerie from

Victoria’s Secret, but once you get inside the store you will be lost,

wondering what color, what style, what size! Or, let’s say that she hinted at a

coat or a pair of shoes, unless she was specific down to the store and price of

the desired item, you will find yourself baffled trying to figure out what she

will like.


You will walk around the store

asking other women for their opinions, but the problem with that is – like I

mentioned before – every woman is different with different styles and interests.

So just get her a gift card – one that she can use anywhere or at her favorite

mall. She’ll be happier than she would if you walk in with a sweater that her

grandmother would love.


Okay, so we covered gift giving

between mates. Now, it’s time to address special circumstances that may come

into play. Are you dating someone with children and don’t know what you should

get the child, if anything at all? This can be a hard decision to make only if

you let it.


The key here is to go straight

to the source – no, not the kids – their mother or father (whichever one you’re

dating). Just simply ask your mate if he/she can recommend a gift for you to

give their child. They should be able to provide you with a list of options.

But in case they don’t, or if you want to feel like you’ve done something on

your own, below are some ideas specifically for you.


Giving a gift to your mate’s

child depends on the number of children and the number of baby mommas/daddies

that are involved. If your mate has one child, fine – get him/her a cute outfit

or a pair of shoes/sneakers. Don’t stress yourself trying to find the perfect

toy for the child. That’s a job for the parents.


You will go crazy in a toy store

during the holidays unless you have children yourself – and if that’s the case,

then you can kill two birds with one stone by picking up your mate’s child’s

gift in the same shopping session as for your own child. And many times, if

your child and your mate’s child are in the same age and/or gender category,

then you could get valuable gift ideas from your own child. That may be the one

time you would want to listen to your child.


Now, let’s talk about if your

boyfriend/girlfriend has two or more children. I’d say give them each something

small like a $10-$20 gift card to a store of their choice. And, ladies, if your

man has children by various mothers then focus on the child(ren) you see and

hear about most often. If you are not likely to see the child(ren) during the

holidays, you don’t have to worry about buying them a gift.


Men, if your girlfriend’s

child(ren) will be with their father(s) for the holidays then you too do not

have to worry about buying them a gift. They won’t look forward to it, trust

me. But if they see you on Christmas day, then they probably will, so know

what’s what ahead of time and be prepared. Since a gift card is so easy to get,

I’d say you might as well just get it. The child will be thrilled to see that

you’ve thought about him/her. You’ll get plenty of cool points.


What about those other people

who are in your life, but don’t have a close personal relationship with you? You

know, like your boss. When choosing a gift for the person who signs your

paycheck, it is understandable why some people get bent out of shape. This is a

person you don’t want to offend in any way, shape or form. So, you figure you

want to play it safe and get a coffee mug or a mouse pad – but then again you

don’t want to give something so trivial either.


Here’s how to solve this dilemma:

find out what his/her interests are outside of work – don’t focus so much on

what they could use while at work. That’s what the supplies closet is for.

Really treat your boss to something he/she would enjoy when away from the

office. Try a gift card to his/her favorite restaurant, or a subscription to a

few of their favorite magazines. Customized golf balls if they like to golf, a

gift certificate to a spa if they like to be pampered, a nice vase if they love

flowers, or a bottle of perfume or cologne that they may have complimented you on.

Get where I’m going? Get a gift that speaks to their direct desires. Not only

will they get good use out of the gift, but they’ll appreciate the fact that

you knew what they liked.


That pretty much takes care of

the important people who you would usually get stumped on trying to figure out

the perfect gift for, but there are so many other people who could cause you to

pull your hair out this season. Here is a brief rundown of gift ideas for

different people in your life:


Mate’s Parents – Something for

the house that they both can enjoy, like bedding.

Mate’s Siblings – A card will do

just fine.

Mate’s Pet – I know this is a

no-brainer… a bone for a dog and perhaps a scratching post for a cat. My point

here is, do not forget the pet!

Co-worker – This is where the

coffee mug or mouse pad will come in handy.

Your Hairdresser – A gift

certificate to his/her own salon so he/she can actually be treated like a

customer for once.

Your Ride to Work – Of course a

gas card, and maybe even throw in some car fresheners.

Your Assistant – An unexpected

day off with pay.

Your Neighbor – Some lottery

scratch-offs, or just a card.


With all that said, I hope you

have your pen and paper handy creating your list as we speak. Now you can

breathe easy when you thrust into your holiday shopping, and give gifts that

you can be proud of.


Happy Holidays!


Miasha is a journalist and the author of several books,

including Secret Society, Mommy’s Angel and Diary of a Mistress. Find out more

about her work at