In their defense, it isn't always their fault. Sometimes, it's their relationship to you. Like, seriously, what do you buy your neighbor ? Or your nephew you only see, well, once a year at the holidays. Or your wife?
This year, make holiday shopping for people who are difficult to buy for easy. This guide will help you troubleshoot.
How to Solve the "Ungiftables"
We all have one on our list: has everything, wants nothing, doesnt really like anything. Andy Forch and Richard Greiner, cofounders of the online gear guide Huckberry , are here to help you find the perfect present.
THE CHALLENGE: Show that youre thoughtful without venturing into brown-noser territory, says Greiner.
TRY: A high-end coffee-table book featuring a restaurant or cuisine they mentioned loving this year. So if you know that they had an incredible meal in Mexico City, you could buy them Mexico from the Inside Out , by Enrique Olvera, head chef of Pujol.
A Friend Who Really Helped You Out This Year
THE CHALLENGE: What gift says, Thank you without saying, I feel like I owe you?
TRY: MasterClass , a video service with big names hosting insider classes. Aaron Franklin teaches Texas BBQ. Judd Apatow shares his secrets of comedy writing. Its a present that can improve your friends life, which is what they did for you, right?
THE CHALLENGE: You know his name (Jimmy). You think you know how many grandkids he has (two? maybe three?).
TRY: A gift card to a favorite neighborhood coffee or lunch spot. Or, barring that info, your favorite spot. And: A little something personal. I recommend a bottle of hot sauceideally one they havent heard of, like my new favorite, Truff , says Greiner.
The Infernal White-Elephant Gift Exchange
THE CHALLENGE: You want to look like a team player, but no one needs a five-feet-tall Kit Kat bar.
TRY: A marshmallow bow and arrow. (Seriously.) Do not underestimate the power of a candy projectile. Amazon sells these at a price surely below your exchanges limit. (Marshmallows not included.) Most importantly, it has a 100 percent accuracy rate when fired at the guy who brings the giant Kit Kat bar, Forch says.
How to Shop Etsy
Handmade gifts carry the added value of Well, arent you thoughtful. Plus, customer service! Given the rare opportunity of dealing with a real person instead of some Amazon bot, heres how to make sure your order goes through, told to Men's Health reporter, Temi Adebowale, by real independent retailers.
First, thank you. Its awesome that youve decided to buy from an Internet mom-and-pop. Right up front, order early. Like, as soon as youre finished reading this.
Amazon might only need a day or two, but we need at least two weeks to process, pack, and ship your gifts. No amount of sweet-talking or pleading is going to change that. And, no, I cant waive the $20 rush fee because I end up footing that bill.
Nextand I know that this is going to sound sillybut you have to triple check the address. Seriously, this is the number one thing customers screw up. People are already logged into their personal account, hit ship, and then realize that they meant to send it to another address. We cant re-route the mail for you.
(Sources: Rachael Powell, Social Media Specialist of Rubi and Lib Design Studio ; Whitney Crislip, Chief Everything Officer of White Confetti Box ; Oksana Paliashchuk founder of Etsys DIYParty Studio )
Three Great Independent Etsy Vendors
Feel like youve given too much money to Jeff Bezos this year? Try one of these vendors to show a little DIY love.
For your wife/girlfriend: Leroy's Place
She has plenty of jewelry, except that none of it features Rick James. Or Freddie earrings with a Mercury in one ear and a Krueger in the other.
For your nieces/nephews: PizzaEaters
Hip-hop, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Quentin Tarantino activity books from the UK. Grab some markers.
For a college-bound kid: Printable Book Art
This vendor sells classic book-jacket art, overlaid on a 1911 encyclopedia page. Because the world doesnt need another Scarface poster.
Bonus: How to Open Presentsthe Right Way!
As a Jewish kid whod heard about the holiday through friends, I knew that Christmas morning was a feeding frenzy: children careening down the stairs, body-checking Grandma if she dared to stand in the way; once-wholesome families tearing into wrapping paper like lions ripping flesh off a zebra carcass.
The greedy-sounding traditions embarrassed methe same way I felt when my cousins tore open their Hanukkah presents and forgot to say thank you.
When I met my husband, he told me his family did Christmas differently. Instead of a five-minute free-for-all, their gift-giving ritual went from morning to night, with interludes for eating meals and making tea and tending to the fire.
Id never heard of such a thing, for Christmas or for Hanukkah. Eventually I got to experience it for real. My sister-in-law kicked things off by distributing a present to each person in the room. One by one, we opened the gifts. Displayed the gifts. Talked about the gifts. Gave thanks for the gifts. Then we started in on the next round.
The whole thing took forever. And it was perfect.
If the holidays are a time to feel grateful, then this is how we ought to open presents. We should savor the momentnot just of gift-giving but of being together as a family for one whole day in the midst of our busy lives. Jordyn Taylor