Anti-Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guides are rampant this time of year, to the point of gift-guide exhaustion. Just look at all of Goop’s gift guides:

  • The Host Gift Guide
  • The Under 18 Gift Guide
  • The Dreamer Gift Guide
  • The Personalized Gift Guide
  • The Lover Gift Guide
  • The Health Nut Gift Guide
  • The Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide
  • The Cook Gift Guide
  • The Traveler Gift Guide
  • The Animal Lover Gift Guide
  • The Guy Gift Guide
  • The Ridiculous but Awesome Gift Guide

Are you exhausted yet? That’s just one lifestyle site – and it has twelve separate gift guides. Other sites like Refinery29, Bustle, Buzzfeed and more will also undoubtedly have their own dozen to contribute. Not to mention all of our favorite bloggers, celebs, and brands will all have a few to contribute to the ever-growing list of gift guides.

But do we need hundreds of lists and options and people telling us what to get for our loved ones? Yes and no.

For us, the gifting experience is about thought first. Putting together a well thought out, original gift idea is almost as satisfying as receiving  such a thoughtful gift. That doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired by gift guides…but if you’re only buying off gift guides that are curated by other people there seems to be a disconnect to what the Holiday season is all about.

Now, this is not to wax poetic about consumerism and advertisements and capitalism. In fact, I’m fine with those things being facets of our daily life. But the magic of gift-giving at any time is

So here is our Anti-Gift Guide, tips for curating and giving some special to everyone in your life that means something. It might not be as glittery and glamorous as other gift guides, but hey – we’re not Goop. (yet…)

  1. Use Gift Guides Wisely: The first tip in our anti-gift guide post is, well, about gift guides. Some people are hard to shop for – that’s a given. But instead of perusing the seemingly endless list of gift guides, look up one of their favorite celeb, blogger, or public figure. Whether its Oprah or the Everygirl…if they really enjoy the content of someone, being inspired by that particular gift guide can be very personal.
  2. Keep a List: Keep a running list on your phone of things people say. Okay, this does sound a little creepy – but trust me it could save you in a pinch – and it doesn’t have to be just for Christmas, either. Although people rarely point out a specific they may say they love a certain brand/item/color/store and it’s an easy and accessible way to remember all the things your friends & family like.
  3. Think About a Favorite Moment: One of the best things about getting a gift is feeling how much someone thought about you and how meaningful you are to them. It’s a little cheesy, but it’s true. Seriously – why do you think there is such a stigma about giving giftcards? So, if you’re stuck on an idea think about the last time you had a ton of fun with that person or laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe or took 10000 snaps because it was just that good of a day. Now make a gift out of that day or those feelings or that place. Whether it’s a family vacation to the Florida Keys where you and your mom couldn’t stop laughing (candle, pina colada mix, a bathing suit cover up, and some bronzer) or a cozy work from home day you spent with a friend (blanket, cozy sweatshirt, cookie mix, slipper socks, and book you know has been on their list) creating a gift that reminds them of that good feeling is the best kind of holiday cheer to give.
  4. Bring Back Cards: Make cards great again! We both love picking out the perfect cards, Salt & Sundry, Little Leaf, and Tabletop have some of our faves, and besides being something cute, they can also hold a lot of sappy sentiment that sometimes objects miss. For example, giving a gift-card alone is kind of…impersonal? But, giving a gift-card to someone’s favorite store/restaurant/gym/etc alongside a silly, personal card can make it feel just as good as any other gift.
  5. Go Local: Does your family/friend/significant other/co-worker/whatever love where they live? Then think about shopping local! DC has a ton of great stores (seriously, there’s even one called ShopMadeinDC), local food, and even local workshops and workspaces where you can get something that says a lot about the city they love.