by Alysha Blaze
I try not to brag TOO much but....I'm kind of a gift-giving guru.
Take a cup of analytic thought process, two cups of gift-giving love language to show appreciation, a spoonful of thrifty and a major dollop of organizational method and you get my gift-giving process. I plan months in advance for Christmas and try to plan ahead with birthdays too, because I pride myself on thoughtful gifts that will actually get used. A few friends have actually gotten into gift wars of sorts with me, as they tell me they are trying to keep up to me. Oops?
So for those of you struggling to find a gift for the artsy folk in your life, you've come to the right place. I have a gift idea for your Mom who loves to write in her spare time, your Dad who is a costume designer for a theatre company, and your on again, off again girlfriend who dreams of being an actress but works at the Cheesecake Factory. I got you covered, and some of these things may cost mere pennies (okay, okay I'll stop with the Big Bang Theory references....)
For starters, I recommend getting items they can really use. Food always goes well or gift cards for food places particularly near them for convenience. To my experience in acting and those I know in it, productions can take up a LOT of time and nobody has time to make a lunch. I know too many who either forget to eat (particularly college students) or order in. The busier a person is, the more overjoyed they will be to get a useful gift. I can tell you now they have people in their lives that will get them ornaments, cards, knick-knacks and the like, and they will politely smile as they wait for the first opportunity to donate those things to good will, or drop it in a drawer and forget about it for years. You don't want that to be your gift. You want your gift to make them feel special, right? Otherwise you'll have, like, five seasons of pining (okay I had one more reference SUE ME).
What I recommend? A work gift basket. These are filled with things you can get at the corner store even. I once gave my boyfriend a care package with tissue, an Eat More bar, hand sanitizer and a Mountain Dew. It was winter, he needed these things and wouldn't buy them for himself, so I just went and did it on my way to meet him spontaneously one day. This was a year ago and he STILL talks about it! So for your workaholic buddy, get some non perishable snacks for when they inevitably pull overtime on their project and can't have a decent meal. Throw an energy drink in there, or maybe a small sampler of alcohol if they have a good sense of humor (and are legally old enough to drink it!) Go for things they use a lot, and then throw in something fun. I once gave a gift basket to a friend who was in a car accident, and along with pain meds and easy to make foods I threw in a plushie because she freaking LOVES plushies. Throw in something they aren't expecting.
The point of the gift basket is to not only show them you know them so well, you know they get a random craving for a Mars bar every time they stay up late. It also shows you support them and the hard work they are doing.
For your writer friends, don't bother with notebooks unless you know for a fact they need one. Trust me. Every writer I know has a MILLION notebooks because the cover art was cute and then boom, there's a big ol' pile of books unused. Y'know what they don't get? Pens. I go through pens like candy and never buy any until the last drop of ink is used.
Know a friend who loves Japanese anime and manga - and you think that's some kind of fruit? Some good gifts include a subscription to Crunchyroll (the Netflix of anime) or tickets to Winterfest if they are in Winnipeg. It's a one day anime convention with a HUGE amount of vendors, panels, games and screenings. Best of all? Tickets are $24.00. First kid under 12 gets in free if they have a rugrat they want to bring.
My last tip? When all else fails, get something you can do together. A board game or card game, tickets to an event (The Good Will and Park Theatre Cafe have a wide variety of events for pretty cheap if you are in Winnipeg) or maybe a DVD with a bag of popcorn and candy for a movie night inside. Give them an experience for the holidays.
The best gifts are ones that show you thought of them and know a little about them. It makes them feel valued and that you are paying attention. I can't tell you how touched I am when someone remembers some seemingly insignificant detail about me, like my adoration of Garfield comics or the fact I like listening to Michael Buble to relax. The best gift you can give someone is actually a feeling. P.S: even a gift card can give such a thing. I have a friend who likes to shop at this obscure little book store no one really knows about so a gift card there would make her face look this:
I hope these tips help! May your holidays be memorable in the best way.
Thanks for reading!
Alysha Blaze is a masked vigilante who spends her nights defending her city of Winnipeg, Manitoba from the evil villains Captain Misspell and Mr. Incorrect Grammar. With her side-kick Spell Check at her side, no misuse of words will escape justice. She spends her down time writing short stories and poetry. Some of this might not be true.