For the Girl Who Has Everything
I love stuff as much as the next girl, but in the wake of the woman who pepper sprayed her fellow shoppers on Black Friday in order to get to the Xbox consoles first, it never hurts to step back and reflect on our rampant consumerism, how that affects us, the planet, and our own peace of mind. To that end, here are five ideas for gifts that aren’t stuff, and consequently won’t end up in a shoe box in your loved one’s closet after the thrill has worn off.
1. Create something. This kind of constitutes “stuff,” but I want to say that taking 10-20 minutes and making a card/poem/letter/adorable stick figure drawing goes a long way in showing someone how important they are to you. This is especially true if you aren’t the crafty type. It shows you’re willing to try something you’re not naturally good at in order to express your adoration. Some of my most cherished gifts fit easily in a folder, and I look at them fondly whenever I need a boost. In that spirit, here’s a limerick for you all. (Free)
Happiest holidays, friends!
I wish I had presents to send.
But I spent all my cash
getting rid of this rash.
Now I’m spreading good cheer instead.
(Just kidding about the rash.)
2. Donate to Heifer International. Heifer has been working with communities for 65 years all around the world to end hunger and poverty. They provide livestock, seeds, training and food to poor communities in places like Haiti, Rwanda, Honduras, and the U.S. to help people become self-sufficient. For just $20, you can give a flock of chicks, ducks, or geese to a family in need, and the offspring from that family will help go to another family in need, thus perpetuating a cycle of unending awesomeness. That’s less than a movie date, and Heifer allows you to donate gifts in someone else’s name, making them feel philanthropic and loved at the same time. Give the gift that mooooves people. ($20+)
3. Have some class(es). Since the holidays encourage us to eat like bloated manatees, this also makes it the perfect time of year to get back in shape. Give your sweetie a class package to their favorite yoga or pilates studio, kick boxing gym, boot camp, ballet or hip-hop class, etc. If you already have a gym membership, lots of places allow you to add a plus one for not much of an additional cost. Plus, joining a gym in December is when you’ll get the best deals, since most fitness clubs rely on the holiday rush to meet year-long quotas. We all know that having an exercise partner is one of the best motivations. So what are you waiting for? Get hot and bothered. It’s good for your health, good company, and good times all around ($20-80)
4. Tattoos or piercings. Contrary to popular commercials, diamonds aren’t forever. But tattoos are. If your special gal has been wanting to up her Lisbeth Salander badassery quotient, think of presenting her with a gift certificate at your local body art shop. Most tattoo parlors offer certificates that don’t expire for a year, so the recipient can take as much time as needed to plan her perfect inking. For a little extra dose of gayness, suggest matching tats. Hey, it worked for Carmen and Shane, right? Before they broke up, that is. Also, did you know that nautical star tattoos used to be a way lesbians identified each other back when being out could get your beat up, fired, or worse? For the slightly less permanent arrangement, piercings are also a unique present, and well, do I even need to extol on the merits of tongue rings? ($20-$200)
5. Give an experience. It’s been scientifically proven that new experiences bond people together. If you’re trying to make someone fall in love with you, consider planning a trip or adventure for the two of you to share. For nature lovers, $80 gets you admission to any national park for a year. If you’re trying to impress the daredevil in your life, present them with a skydiving gift certificate (around $200 — $300 if you want it to be filmed). For a more grounded experience, you can also hit up your local zoo, botanical garden, quirky museum, or my favorite, kitschy tourist traps. Getting someone a stick-free pan is meh. Getting to take a picture with the world’s largest frying pan in Long Beach, Washington is an experience you won’t soon forget, especially if you’re my ex-girlfriend whom I made drive three extra hours out of our way to take said picture. Ahem. Speaking of foodies, you could also think about giving your loved one a monthly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) food box ($20) and offer to make the first meal as a special treat. For lots of other ideas in your city, such as sushi making or “shootin’ and drinkin’,” check out Living Social adventures. ($20-$165)