Giving and receiving

I haven't started my holiday shopping yet. I haven't even considered what I'm going to buy for a single person. Over the past few days I noticed a few other bloggers stating that they had finished holiday shopping. Upon reading those words my lips parted and my eyes scrunched up into their thoughtful-yet-accusatory position. At first I was jealous, but then I realized they must obviously be lying. How could anyone get gifts for all the people they need to buy for before December first?

Ohh Presents!

Gift buying can be a treacherous task. There are a few people on my list who will be easy. Those who I'm close with, who I talk with, shop with -- I know their style, or what they are currently lusting for. I will look forward to exchanging gifts with them, confident in the knowledge that they will be delighted with what they receive.

But that group represents only 10% of the people who I'm shopping for this season. The rest will be hard, and include:

Friends who I have given gifts too for the last three years but not received anything from them
While I don't mind one sided giving, we live in a society where people might feel awkward or even offended if they are given something and don't have anything to offer in return. Should I assume lack of receiving gifts means they want to cut off the exchange and are hoping I'll take the hint? Or do I just contuine buying for them because they are my friends and I can if I want?

Extended family who I see at holidays but otherwise aren't especially close with
It doesn't matter that we are friends on facebook or that we are related -- I know very little about these people and what they might like to receive for Christmas. There are only so many years you can gift a scarf before it starts to appear obvious what you are doing.

People who are engaged/newly married
One gift? Two gifts? Something substantial for "my main person" and something small for their newly chosen mate? Equally good gifts? If they are gifting me as one person, than should I do the same?

Okay, this is easy. Individual gifts are a total waste, home baked goodies left for public consumption in the kitchenette are the only way to go.

My Father
I recently noticed the gift I gave him last year sitting in a dark corner with the cellophane still intact. What do you get someone who clearly dislikes everything you've ever given?
I'm thinking cash in a plain white envelope. Buying a pretty card would be a waste.

And when you once you've managed to find and purchase, thoughtful, budget-conscious, creative gifts for all these people, you've still got to wrap them all. So really, I wont be done until December 26th (if I'm lucky!)

Much Better Cookie Photo

I of course, aim to please. I'm more than happy to share the things I'd enjoy receiving, and make shopping much easier for others. (See, totally selfless list of stuff I want.)

Faux Fur Muff, $24 at Urban Outfitters
Wonda Studded Oxford, $39 at G by Guess
Sparrow Cinch Belt, $24 at Urban Outfitters
Dolman Sleeve Sweater, $50 at The Limited
Snow Fox Ornament, $16 at Anthropologie
Kate Spade Twirl Perfume, $65 at Amazon

When will you be finished holiday shopping?


  1. Ahhh, I know, right?! I haven't bought any presents yet. Or made anything. I need to get to that. I wanted to get my close friends and some of my favorite teachers through highschool (since I'll be graduating!) presents.. but but.. I just can't think of anything! I'm sucha poop. Hopefully we will both get to that. :)

  2. One year I bought my dad a movie that he'd been hinting at wanting to see. We watched it Christmas day and a few days later we were discussing it and my dad states, "that movie was awful. good thing we rented it." Uh, yeah, thanks Dad for remembering that was MY GIFT to you!

  3. You sound like you are too generous on the gift giving! I find the older I get, the less stuff I really want - don't we have enough stuff already? Baked goods and cash are always good :)

    That said, the only person I have bought gifts for so far this year is my baby nephew. He's the only one who really needs anything anyway!

    Happy December to you!

  4. I know what you mean. Luckily I don't buy for many people. I do my parents, grandparents, then we do secret santa for my brothers, sister and I and then I have a secret santa at work...its so hard though :/
    Normally I'm done by now but I've only gotten my mom's present

  5. I think the newly married/engaged who live together can get 1 gift for both of them. Something for the home, maybe? I think they'd appreciate that more. Extended family and friends who never give you anything - maybe just mail them a card? ahahahah

  6. It's definitely not easy! My family was never a big gift giving one though it happens randomly through the year. I already told my husband what I'm getting him and he won't get it until we go back to NYC anyway (Since it's being delivered there).
    Homemade gifts is a nice touch and yeah I am increasingly getting gift cards for baby showers and things like that. Food and money are usually winners :)

  7. Heh, my dad is the same way with gifts. There's all kinds of "World's Greatest Dad" stuff from the 80's still wrapped in its original packaging at my parents house. Anymore, my mom and I will just buy him new clothes for work, and he actually does wear them.

    You are a lot more generous at the holidays than I am! I just buy gifts for a few family members and my boyfriend. He and I get the gifts for our parents together. My family has a long-standing rule that we don't do presents after you turn 18, which I've gone by for the most part. Friend-wise, we used to do exchanges, but most friends have said in years past that they just don't have the money, so instead, we have a cookie-baking party. And right, co-workers just get a plate of treats from me.

    I do send out a ton of cards with personal notes every year though.

    I guess I think the holidays shouldn't be such a big hassle. The important part is seeing the people you care about - why not treat them to lunch someday instead of trying to figure out a gift?

  8. Don't worry you're not alone.

    I'm not done- and I only buy for one person. My sister. It's just us a family of two- and Mario and I don't exchange gifts for x-mas we try to go away for a weekend or do a trip rather than gifts.

    That being said I still haven't found just the right gift for my sis. It's got to knock her socks off. That's my goal every year : )

    Good luck with your shopping !

  9. I was tired of everyone always giving me stuff that was so whatever after putting lots of thought into their presents - I forced my sisters to buy me a flip cam last year. I'm glad I did.

    I have some siblings who refuse to get people presents out of ? reason...I'm not getting them presents this year sadly.

    I'm thinking about getting magazine subscriptions for the rest. I work at a library so when people get books as presents it's not unexpected.

    My dad is absolutely the same thing as you've described, he has everything he wants. Cash in an envelope sounds just about right

  10. i am a major last minute xmas shopper...this year i haven't started buying gifts yet and i have absolutely no idea what to buy for sc

  11. First, you have to trim the giving list to those who truly matter & who truly need "stuff" to show your connection to them. Why exchange gifts with people you don't see often? Won't cards w/a thoughtful letter do? A tin of homemade cookies at most.

    For family & close friends, consider agreeing to one gift per household or only homemade or charitable gifts. My family & my in-laws did this years ago, & it's cut down on clutter & added to fun & creativity. We don't have little kids in our circle, but if we did, they'd be exempt. Adults certainly don't need lots of junk & love personalized & meaningful gifts.

  12. Ok so I love giving gifts but these are all the reasons I hate christmas shopping! i've come out and just asked people for ideas and whether or not we are exchanging gifts, haha!

  13. I'm about halfway through, and having the same gift giving conundrums as you! My sister is so hard to buy for. Last year I got her a nice photoframe... but she hasn't put a photo in it yet. The year before that a nice necklace... which is still sitting on her dressing table, untouched.

  14. I am in the same boat as you. I havent even begun to think about X-mas shopping. I prefer people to just tell me what they want, like send me a link and I will buy it for you, is that lame

  15. I don't know if you recall but I wrote about this in September:
    Even though I usually start in September for Christmas shopping I have only completed about 20% of my shopping. So yes, I have 22 days to do the remaining 80%)
    I would say you begin giving your friends that don't get you anything edible goodies like you do for co workers.
    Indeed you do not give a present in order to get one but I think that keeping it simple is better so then they don't feel that they have to return the favor.
    For me the most difficult are kids. I don't have any so I am clueless on what to get them and now with all being so Wii- Nintendo - electronics it gets so much more expensive.

  16. You're right dear! I think I'll finish look for presents exactly on Xmas day!

  17. Here's a funny birthday is on Dec. 23 so people tend to get me one gift...for my birthday. And I do the same for them. Unless it's close family, the only gift people get from me is a birthday gift, no matter when their birthday is. That makes everything so easy!

  18. I appreciate your honest thoughts on giving and receiving this time of year... it can be a challenge and sorry about the gift with the cellophane still intact, that sucks.

    I am loving the muff and belt from Urban Outfitters!:D

    ***** Marie *****

  19. I just finished my shopping. Buying for my dad was the biggest pain in my booty. Also I love giving gifts, but never expect anything in return. Sometimes it just a bummer to buy every year but get nothing in return.

    Good luck shopping!


  20. I cannot even get motivated to shop for others. I have 0 ideas. My family is sooooo hard to shop for.

  21. This year I have 43 people to buy for. I come from a family of 6 kids, and each kid has a partner except one (she is 6!). So, immediate family alone I have 13 people, plus my fiancee, a few friends, one Aunty and Uncle (I have stacks because both my parents are from large familis, but I only buy for the ones I see regularly). Who else? Oh, my cousins kids, my nephew, my fiancees brotherand parents and a few of his friends.

    So yeah ... I'm a little behind in the gift buying :/ I've done all the girls presents (easy!). The boys - not so easy. Some years I have finished well before December 1st, because I start in January. But with my wedding in January, I've been a little preoccupied!

    Okay, longest comment ever - sorry! For your newly wed friends, I'd suggest a joint gift, perhaps one that is house related?

    x Jasmine

  22. Kris kindle for my husband's family (and one voucher to buy which will be done in about a week), presents for my nieces and granddad put in the post yesterday since it will take a couple of weeks to get to Canada and agreement with my husband that we won't exchange presents but instead buy flights for a weekend away. Minimal Christamases? Deadly!

  23. Love this post...My advice??stop overthinking and start shopping...;)



    Don't bother to pass by...;D

  24. love those shoes!!xx

  25. Haha, very insightful! I don't like going through this dilemma every year either! For couples? Since I am married, one gift is just fine! The easiest are gift cards to restaurants or stores. I'm not sure what my husband thinks, but I really don't mind getting one gift for both of us, and I'm not just being humble!!

    Yeah, it stinks to see a gift you've given go to waste. I know that feeling!

  26. adorable post!!! i have that sparrow belt from urban outfitters and i love it! it would make a great gift!

  27. happy christmas shopping! i love that swallow-clasp belt! =)

  28. Wow you're so speed, I haven't bought any presents yet... I'll start next week!

    Love the first pic girl.


  29. When I was about 10 I won $5 in a Christmas poetry contest for a poem I wrote. I spent it on two $2.50 each cassette tapes of classical music to give my dad at Christmas. A year or so later, I found them still in their shrink wrap on his bedside table. I was more than a little crushed. Fathers!

  30. I'm terrible at holiday shopping, and my family have never expected me to buy gifts? it's very odd...

    By the way darling - did you want to exchange links?

  31. Oh, that perilous time of the year: buying gifts en masse!

    I get what you mean by aiming to please, gifts should come from the heart x

  32. you are not alone, i haven't started christmas shopping either and i don't know what to get anyone too. haha. trying to figure out who to give gifts to was such a dilemma for me back in high school. now i only give my really really close friends gifts. as much as possible, i try to pick personal gifts. it's hard, though. ;/

    <3, Mimi

  33. Thanks for the comment! Love everything on that list.


  34. omg the dogggg

    fuzzy cute little white dogs killll me

  35. Great selection.. Those oxford shoes are divine..
    wish they come for men

  36. i love that blue blazer! it is so classic and chic. :)