Friday, December 21, 2012

The Advice: Tips for Christmas Part I.

The Friends
Being popular is an awesome thing to be 364 days of the year, but on Christmas, it means a seriously depleted wallet. You get caught at H&M and then you realize you spent more on Friend #2 than Friend #3 and shit you totally forgot that Friend #6 is on a diet so the cute chocolate bath thingies from Sephora might be taken the wrong way and then you look at your account balance and frantically return half the things you just bought. If you want to buy something for ALL your friends, you're looking at a key chain or nail polish or something equally shitty for all of them. Don't do this. My advice? Kris Kringle. That shit was invented by a very frugal and very clever individual. If you have a nice big group of friends, orchestrate a nice Secret Santa between you all. That way everyone gets a nice big gift rather than a shitty pair of socks, and you don't have to feel guilty for missing a friend OR poor. 

If your friends don't all know each other, however, Secret Santa is off the table. In this scenario, bake them some cookies, plan a girls night making gingerbread houses and watching Elf or some shit, or buy them something cheap but semi-sentimental. Like, for instance, a picture frame with a pic of you two in it, a mani-pedi date, or a cute piece of jewelry. The thing to remember about friend gifts is that everyone's in the same boat, with tons of presents to buy  their families and friends and a desperate voice in the back of their heads chanting SAVE! SAVE! SAVE YOUR MONEY! HOLY SHIT YOU JUST SPENT WAY TOO MUCH MONEY! YOU IDIOT! SAVE! That means when you ball out and buy your friend some totally unnecessarily lavish gift, you're putting pressure on HER to return the favour. Note: The exception to this rule is if your friend has endured something terrible this year, whether it be a bad break-up or the death of a pet. In this case, spoil the shit out of him or her. 

The Shopping
Online shopping. Do not, I repeat, do not endure the hell that we call shopping malls at Christmas. I do not understand why people repeatedly make this mistake. Shopping malls in December are hell. I know it sucks, because all the lights and bows make everything festive and merry but it is NOT worth being trampled by eager soccer moms. 

1. If you do brave the mall, wear comfortable shoes and do not bring in your coat. Leave it in the car. Do not bring a fussy handbag. Wear a satchel so you have both hands free, and both elbows to show everyone whose boss. 

2. Learn how to spot the opening and take it. By this, I mean when you are stuck behind slow people who sort of drift in and out of the aisle, making it impossible to pass them, you have to train your eye to spot the opening and take it. This is a skill that once acquired is golden. You have to weave in and out like you're in traffic and have a baby about to burst out of your woman in the backseat. Also, do not under any circumstances become any of these people. 

3. Make a list. Make a list of what you want and where you'll get it. Bang bang mothafucka.

4. Use that camera phone. Two sweaters, one from J. Crew and one from Club Monaco? Don't know which is better? Instead of going back and forth between the stores, take a pic (no filter) and refer to it at the second store. Sometimes a second glance will reveal things that suddenly leave you wondering what you saw in it in the first place. Kind of like boyfriends! 

Also, if the person you are buying for is around your size and the change room line is not deathly long, try it on. Get the poor sales boy to take a pic from all different angles so that you know if it'll make her butt look big. Or whatever

5. Again, online shopping. Quick....easy....painless. Two weeks before Christmas so you're sippin' brandy and eggnog and getting a burgundy pedicure in the lead up while everyone else is busting their asses in the Eaton's Centre. 

The Gifts
1. Do not get things just because YOU like them. Please, please don't be that person. In grade 8 all I wanted for Christmas was a Triple 5 Soul sweater and some jeans from Jean Machine (I know...). My mom staunchly refused to buy these things for me, instead beelining to the Gap and buying me clothes that will be AWESOME for job interviews when I'm 30. For a grade 8 girl, they were a death sentence. If your bf/gf/brother/sister wants something truly hideous, like Ed Hardy or a fake Louis bag, just skip the whole thing and get them something completely and totally different. Like, rock-climbing lessons. Or something. 

2. Do not cheap out. If you regularly buy yourself expensive shit, but then get your parents a bar of soap from the Body Shop, they will know. They will know, and they will be insulted. And hurt. And pissed. I'm not promoting materialism here, but it's pretty shitty when four brothers buy their mom a $20 gift. Together. Like, hey mom, this is from me, Matt, Luke, and John. And we're in college. But we're cheap. Boys? You came out of her vagina. All of you. Buy her some fucking Chanel. 

3. Beware of passive-aggressive gifts. Not to get too Freudian on you, but your subconscious might be making your gift choices for you. You gravitated towards a LuluLemon workout ensemble and yoga classes for your gf? Well, she might be feeling a little self-conscious from all those advent calendar chocolates and will spontaneously combust into heaving hot tears upon peeling back that last layer of tissue paper. Right before purchasing your gift, ask this in your head: will s/he take this the wrong way? Should I get a S instead of a L just so they think they look twenty pounds lighter than they do? If you even have to think about it, put it back and go with a safer choice. 

4. Do not just get them whatever they ask for. This may seem like backwards logic, and this may just be a personal preference, but this is just wrong. I mean, if they ask for a few things or really really need something, fine, get it. But in relationships especially, there should be some sort of magical mystery to opening a gift. Otherwise, like, what's the point of wrapping it? Oh....a duffel bag! I had no idea! C'mon. Family, friends, and significant others are supposed to know you better than anyone, so they should certainly be able to choose a decent surprise gift. It's kind of sad to me that we generally can't. Take a risk. Buy them tickets to something, or a class of something, or just something fancy and cool. I don't fucking know. But something that they will be genuinely excited to open and feel really special that you bought for them. 

5. Do not get necessities. Christmas gifts should not be toasters and razors and brooms and hammers and shit like that. They should not be q-tips or deodorant. Right? I realize that's an exaggeration but seriously, I've seen some heinous gifts that are just necessities and not at all something someone would really want. Gifts should be frivolous. No one, especially parents, really give themselves things they want. They exercise self-restraint and self-discipline and they always put you brats first. Or their parents. Or your education fund. Or your retirement fund. Get them something they totally don't need, but something they've secretly always wanted

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