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Friday, November 5, 2010

Making Christmas, Making Christmas

La la la!

I'm making my list and checking it twice.  Gonna cross off who's naughty, not nice.  Raiding every discount bin in toooown.

It's getting close to Christmas, folks.  With all this Holiday Bootcamp Hooplah eating my free time and the sad fact that my 'inventory bin' is ...running over now, I thought it was time to devote some thought to the reason for the creation season, Christmas.  It was then that I realized that my aunts kept sending me strange text messages about clothes and CDs and shoes, not because they're weirdos like me who enjoy learning about people for the sake of learning, but rather so they could either get me to obliviously drop hints about things I might want or ascertain what things I might like. 

Yes, I am often rather oblivious.  I go to conventions and marvel ecstatically at awesome cosplay of Marie Antoinette and Alichino or Malice Mizer conveniently forget WHY I took my camera out in the first place.. Furthermore, I am that scatterbrained person who lamented losing her wallet but then found it in the freezer when she went to console herself with icecream (Don't ask.  Please.)
So, it's perfectly normal for me to have my list of Christmas gifts for other people planned out down to the color of the wrapping paper, but to not have thought of a THING to give myself.  I even have a little schedule of who I'm going to handmake cards, cookies and trinkets for already lined up and waiting for Thanksgiving break.
Perhaps, you're not as strange and obsessive as me, so you don't have your gifts all plotted out.  I decided that it would be a good idea to toss together a sort of guide for people to go bargain or 'interesting find' hunting for their loved ones.  So, with that, I'll give you my pillars of buying for gifts.
Children under 10:  This is by far the easiest group to buy for.  They're wants are simple and usually they'll just tell you.  "I want Bratz."  "I want Bakugan toys" or the ever famous "I WANT TO BE A MAD SCIENTIST!!!!"  You can usually just go hunt in a toy store for these guys.  Keep it simple, make sure it's something that they consistently go for and wrap it up cute.

Kids 10+ and Tweens:  Kids over ten are a little harder to buy for. They're trying to be like teens, who are trying to be like adults, but they still have some of the affinities of younger children.  You can find a happy medium by going with something a little more grown up.  Instead of getting them hardcore jewelry, go for something cutesy in bright colors or an outfit like one of their TV idols (kiddie style, of course), or a video game.  Most kids in my family start getting their first bits of 'sleek and stylish' technology at this age.

Teens:  With the beginnings of more adult thoughts and the greater influx of emotions (and hormones) buying for teens will always be tricky.  They have cultures and subcultures, fads and phases, strange mixtures of likes and dislikes and opinions.  BOY!  Have teens got opinions!  But, they can still be bought for.  The easiest, no-thought gift you can get for a teen is something electronic, or better yet, one of those American Express or Visa giftcards.  It's money on a card they can use ANYWHERE!  If you have an idea of your teen's tastes, branching out into CDs, Clothing (Be very careful with this one.  They are picky little gremlins), and cool little odds and ends that either have great personal meaning or aid in their quest for self-expression.
One major thing to note about teens is that they have tastes and opinions all set in their minds, much like adults.  Unfortunately, they haven't quite acquired the finesse of social BSing that adults have.  So, if you buy a teen a glowing Jesus shaped lava lamp clock that belches out bible scriptures every hour on the hour, don't be surprised when all you get in return is a pained grin (read: Grimace).

Twenty and Thirty Somethings: Being among this group, I have a good idea of what they usually want.  This group, well, we usually want something fun and quirky.  Something snarky, or maybe something thought provoking or technologically savvy.  The best gifts for this group usually fall in the realm of private jokes, fond childhood memories, and current hobbies and obsessions.  My friend once bought me a riding crop.  It was a jibe at my former status as D&D Dungeon Mistress.  Even though that thing has brought up more uncomfortable questions and embarrassments than I care to remember, I still keep it in the closet near that fat binder full of D&D monsters and I even take it out for a good laugh every now and then.

Folks 40+:  Folks in this age group usually want something of quality, something that shows that they are mature, knowledgeable and still very sexy or funny or whatever they're known for.  Yep, the 40+ group has an eye for luxury, but the maturity to still appreciate simpler things.  For example, my father ADORES getting laundry detergent for Christmas.  I stopped trying to figure out why.  My grandfather has always been a coffee lover, so I always buy him the most luxurious coffee I can find and of course, something he'll find funny like a color changing coffee mug.  The point is, find their niche, get them something extraordinary, and make sure they know you appreciate their little idiosyncrasies (But don't call them idiosyncrasies.  Just...just call them character traits)

In short, Christmas shopping is about knowing the people that you're gifting with!  It doesn't take long to pop in and chat about what someone else loves and it's actually not that hard to give a thoughtful gift. 

My next post feature random cool crap everyone will love!

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