Saturday, August 02, 2008

Jaggy's List of Perfect Gifts

I'm too practical. Blame my mother; I know I get it from her. My idea of the perfect gift is something useful, something that isn't going to sit around collecting dust or living in an attic. The problem is that practical gifts are not always fun or interesting to receive.

Example 1:
Bridal shower and bachelorette gifts. Rachel and Emily are getting married this year, but with my budget, I can't afford to get them really nice things. I know they'd never expect me to get them something fancy, but I want to get them something nice anyway. Their registries are full of reasonable gift ideas, but who wants to get a spatula as a bachelorette party gift? Instead, I scoured a few stores looking for cute pajamas and fun girly things. Nothing jumped out at me. Instead, I fell victim to the oldest trick in the book: gift baskets. BUT! I made my own with stuff I know Rachel will actually use. Some of it smells good, and her man might even like some stuff in the basket. I'm just too darn practical to give those other girly gifts.

Example 2:
Gifts for my parents are a nightmare. Mom and Dad aren't exactly wealthy, but if it's not a huge purchase, they'll simply buy what they want for themselves when they find it. Sometimes they wait a while, and they do price-shop... in any case, if it's even close to being in my price range, they already have it. I could always go with linens for Mom... nothing says love like an entire closet full of towels. Dad's a bit more difficult to buy stuff for since he doesn't wear ties, already has every tool he'll need (x4 in some cases), and doesn't drink, smoke, or hunt. I have given up.

However, when the idea strikes me, I can find incredibly practical things to give my friends for birthdays, housewarmings, and other events. Thus, I present to you,

"Jaggy's List o' Perfect Gifts"

-kitchen towels (can a person ever have too many?)
-hangars (ten extra is never enough)
-socks (better to go plain than sorry)
-a nice writing instrument (the Parker Jotter is a classic ballpoint pen <$10)
-a stationery set or a few notepads (Post-Its are super easy!)
-car stuff (car waxing supplies, a new brush, or a CD case)
-alcohol (it's down-and-dirty simple, $30 for a nice bottle of just about anything)
-picture frames (who cares if they all match? make sure they can hang or stand freely)
-board games (especially for people who like dinner parties, college students, and ME!)
-groceries (stuff they wouldn't normally buy for themselves: cake mixes, olive oil, imported cheese or wine, summer sausage, etc.)
-tickets to museums or places of interest (if the place is free, make some fake tickets yourself)

If you can't find one thing on that list for someone, I'm sorry. You are stuck. Leave a comment with your conundrum, and I'll help if I can. Practical gifts are my specialty!


Strayer said...

I do need help, have been worrying over this: my brother, a contractor, has enough money he can buy anything he wants or needs, and he does. His birthday is upcoming. I won't be seeing him, but I want him to know I am acknowledging his special day. He likes photography, but has all of what he needs for that, is a history buff, reads constantly, but has probably already read most books I'd choose, and needs orthoscopic knee surgery, he says. Ideas? (I have a very low budget for the gift). He doesn't drink or smoke or hunt either. He doesn't fish. He lives in a small town, and does not have the time to travel outside of his job. So I am stumped.

Jaggy said...

Hmm, that is a tough one! A few more ideas:
-a car windshield sun deflector thingy (my father loves his that makes his truck look like it has eyes like in Disney's Cars)
-if he's into photography, a nice camera bag is always handy
-rechargeable batteries for the camera (or anything else!)
-every history buff I know has tons of books and no bookmarks
-a unique welcome sign for his front door that reflects his style
-Sil-Pat sheets are GREAT for baking and aren't too spendy, plus they ship easily since you won't be seeing him

When in doubt, the go-to "guy gift" for me has always been Duct Tape. Sure, your brother is a contractor and probably has a ton of it, but can a person ever have too much fix-all wonderfulness? It's probably within your budget, is a nice mix of funny and thoughtful, and travels well. Plus it comes in lots of colors now. I vote you wrap the box in duct tape, too, so it's a pain to unwrap! :D

Hope that helps...