Every year publications put together holiday gift guides because it’s a proven fact that people 1. Like Lists and 2. Like Gifts. Although these gift guides can be useful, they often read like a trending now list. These products are so hot right now, but will they emotionally and physically meet the needs of the intended giftee? Wouldn’t a list offering universal, timeless guidelines on how to pick a gift be more useful?
If you said ‘Yes!’ then this holiday gift guide is the answer to your [religious_affiliation] prayers. The Universal Gift Guide (UGG) was inspired by CNN’s holiday list, “The best fitness and health gifts for starting the new year off stronger than ever”. I scrolled through several interesting (read: expensive) items, then came across an affordable suggestion: a $50 HydroFlask bottle. But, really, this is an appropriate for anyone in your life who drinks water, not just fitness buffs. And is still a bit more than I’d spend on a my friend Becky with the good hair. Further down, the list got more reasonable and on topic with a $40 set of dry shampoo.
The fitness gift list also had some fun surprises I wouldn’t ever have thought of for my fitness friends, but thankfully this list alerted me to the leopard-print exercise dress that also can double as a sexy nightie or a Spice Girls costume (CNN didn’t suggest these other uses, but if you look at the dress, you’ll clearly see this present’s potential). While I appreciated the good will behind CNN’s suggestions, I found the list lacking a bit. So starting writing my own fitness gift guide but then quickly realized the need for something broader.
1. For the CrossFitter in your life, buy a callous shaver, medical tape, and a foam roller. Also, give them a coupon for one free, uninterrupted session of listening to them talk about CrossFit and five free ‘Likes’ on the social media outlet of their choosing.
2. For the Keto person in your life, buy them a large brick of cheese and a 3-lb sausage from Costco. Skip the crackers. Also, tell them they definitely look like they lost weight while you munch on a bagel.
3. For the runner in your life, buy them the giant box of crackers and 12-pack of croissants from Costco. Also, quit telling them running will ruin their knees. This is truly the gift that will keep on giving.
4. For that single person in your life, quit asking said person about his/her dating life. This is, again, truly the gift that keeps on giving. Also, get this person the new iPhone so he/she can take better-looking selfies and post them on the Tinder.
5. For the married peeps in yo life, for the love of the [dear_sweet_God_entity_you_worship], stop asking them if they are having kids already. They are enjoying domestic bliss and sleeping in while it lasts. This is the gift they really want. Later, when they have kids, they will need all the gifts for all the kids, so just save your money now and not buy them anything. Or get them a gift card for brunch.
6. For your parents, just don’t even try. They gave you the gift of LIFE. Everything you do from here on out is really inadequate. The best you can do is not be a complete failure: don’t live in their house forever and be sure to call them often, not just when you need money or someone to fix your car. If you don’t like showing up empty-handed to their house, a bottle of alcohol and silently listening to their political rants during the holidays could work, too.
7. I lied. You can give your parents a gift they’ll love and cherish forever: grand babies. This isn’t for all parents, but it works *100% of 70% of the time (*please note, I have an English degree). But you may be asking, “How can I be sure my parents want grand babies?” Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, you’ll know. They’ll let you know. If they haven’t already “hinted” 1000x by now.
8. Your siblings. Make up for years of sibling oppression and hair pulling and name calling by buying a very thoughtful gift – something that shows you’re an adult now, and you realize your siblings’ value as human beings, and you really appreciate them, and this gift is specifically targeted for each of them. That’s right. Buy Nerf guns with extra ammo, put on some safety glasses, and stand there, letting them barrage you with foam bullets. Now, you’re even. Sort of. You could also be an adult and just buy them an Apple Watch. It’s such a generous gift. So generous of you. So generous to give them a gift that goes on their phone bill. Making your siblings pay for something they didn’t want month after month because of you is truly the most satisfying (and sibling-appropriate) gift.
9. Your fur babies. Buy them toys. Wait, you already did that. Let them sleep on the bed or lie on the couch with you just this once. Oh wait, you already did that too. And it was just that one time…and one more time…and well, 5 years later, here we are with Sparky still on the bed and your significant other wondering if they’ll ever be the little spoon again. Ok, so buy your fur babies some treats. Ummm…nope, you’ve definitely done that, and the vet noted this very adamantly at your last visit and said something about more walks. So, yeah, take Sparky for a walk. But then Sparky pulls incessantly on his leash and barks at EVERYTHING because the SQUIRRELS WILL KILL US ALL DON’T YOU KNOW and then he poops on everything and pees on everything, and some neighbor just yelled at you because she doesn’t appreciate Sparky marking her Mustang, and now you have to explain to Sparky that peeing on things doesn’t automatically make them yours but nice try with the Mustang, and then Sparky suddenly darts and almost rips your arm off and now you remember why we don’t go for walks. Relax. You already got your fur baby the greatest gift of all: You. That’s all they need. Also, maybe ask your parents for a dog walking service for Christmas.
10. Your nieces and nephews. If their parents didn’t create an Amazon wish list, or it’s way too late for 2-day Prime shipping to save you now, then you probably will have to wing it. Here are some pretty fail-safe toys that are proven time and time again to delight children of all ages: 1000-piece Lego sets (but NO storage container – this is crucial), toys in denial that they are actually weapons, and anything that makes noise, preferably short song loops. These are the kinds of presents the kids will never forget and their parents will never forgive you for.
11. Other people in your life. Think about their favorite hobbies. Try to remember their shirt or shoe size. Maybe visualize their day and imagine a gift that could improve their routine. After considering all these factors long and hard, buy them a gift card. Nothing says I know you know what you want like a gift card.
You’re welcome. Happy Holidays!