ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN The Huntington News, Dec. 6, 2012
By Sara Tucker, News Correspondent
It’s that time of year again: Black Friday sales are over, holiday lights have been put up on buildings and trees around Boston, and a well-deserved winter break is almost here. But with the snow and the Michael Bublé Christmas album comes the time of the year to buy gifts for friends and family, and that’s always a hassle, no matter how many deals and cute sweaters you find for yourself along the way. So therein lies the big question: What presents do I get the important people in my life for the holidays?
First of all, let’s just note that your dad is going to love you no matter what, and will probably be flattered that you even got him a present, so you’re already halfway to success if you’re considering things to get him. If your dad is into sports and has an actual man cave on the second floor of your garage, sports memorabilia is always a great idea. He can hang it next to the TV and impress his friends when they’re over watching the game. A framed picture of one of his favorite team’s most famous players would make his holiday season. The unsigned are much cheaper, but if you’re feeling generous, autographed ones are often available.
Source: Sportsmemorabilia.com, Price: $42-$100
If your dad is a aficionado of other hobbies, he might be interested in something more conventional. If he’s a drinker, or even if he just prepares non-alcoholic drinks at home, stainless steel ice cubes are a great idea. There is a liquid inside of the cubes that will freeze in just a few hours, and Dad can pop them in his drink when he gets home from work. The cubes can’t melt, so watered down drinks will never be a problem. Just wash and reuse.
Source: Brookstone, Price: $25
Like Dad, most moms will be appreciative that you just got them a gift. But if you’re worried about getting something she’ll like, get her something every woman loves: accessories. Many moms love little frills, things that she can wear and tell everyone that her child bought for her. And a scarf is always a safe bet. Most scarves, even ones that look exotic and expensive, can often be bought for $25 or cheaper, and there are Pashmina booths set up in malls everywhere. Vendors offer a variety of choices, and there are often discounts for buying more than one, so this is a good purchase if you’re also looking for presents for sisters, aunts, grandmothers or friends. There are many different patterns and colors, and the solids are often cheaper than those with a design. If you feel this isn’t enough, a pin to wear on the scarf, or even just on winter sweaters, is an optional addition. Available in the jewelry department of any major store, pins provide that personal touch.
Source: Pashmina, Price: $10-$25; Source: Macy’s, Price: $18
The boyfriend is historically one of the most difficult people on your list to shop for. You have to consider what he already has, what he likes, and what would be an appropriate gift based on your stage in the relationship. Some guys may feel smothered with clothes as a gift, like you’re trying to change their style or their interests. If you’re not sure, you may want to stick to something that he’s sure to use, but shows him what you like at the same time. Many department stores offer a variety of colognes that your man is sure to appreciate. This gift is a win-win, you will like how he smells and he will see your good taste. Cologne is available at a variety of stores in a range of prices.
Are you worried about impressing your girlfriend? Do you want to astound her with a unique gift that shows how much you care, but also shows you know what she’s interested in? If you’re running low on funds, or you’ve already bought your girlfriend the heart necklace or bracelet, you might want to try something different this holiday season. If you and your girl often go out together, and you like to save your tickets to movies, concerts, or events, here’s an idea: a ticket stub diary. This is a small journal with plastic sleeves of various sizes to keep your tickets, and your memories safe. There is also space in the margins to write down what you did or how much fun you had together. This is a cheap gift that shows your girl that you care about her and the things you’ve done together. It’s also a great gift for a girlfriend you haven’t been with very long because it says, “I want to spend more time with you.”
Source: UncommonGoods.com, Price: $11
For Best Friends:
This should be the easiest stop on your shopping list. Best friends are those we go to with our Saturday night horror stories and our break-up problems, our secrets and our complaints. So naturally, with all this bonding, knowing your best friend is easier than knowing the back of your own hand. But if he or she has that sweater they were eyeing in H&M, that scarf from the Gap, and the stuffed animal character from their favorite movie, and you’re stumped, you might consider another fun alternative: a Beardo knit hat. These hats feature a top portion that is knitted and wears just like any other hat, but the catch is the removable beard that buttons into the inside of the hat. These hats come in 12 different varieties, with hats in gray, black and blue, and those that are the beanie style. In addition to the hat color, you can also choose beards in blond, white, brown, black, or red and even a beard with a bendable handlebar mustache. This gift will make your guy or girl best friends laugh, and since the beard can be removed, all your friends can easily wear this accessory.
Source: Beardowear.com, Price: $40
As a college student, you’re forced to share a space with someone who you may or may not have chosen, and who you may or may not like. But up until now, you’ve been sharing the space of a 120 square foot room, and you might feel obligated to get them something for their trouble. If you are really good friends with your roommate, you may want to refer to the best friends section above, but if you and your roommate don’t hang out (well, outside of your room), you might want to consider getting them something more simple: a gift card. This is almost always an easy route to take, and you can choose the location and the amount. Most retailers offer gift cards, and some even have rewards for gift card purchase during the holiday season. Au Bon Pain will give buyers a $5 gift card of their own if they spent $25 or more on a gift card, and who doesn’t like tasty soup and sandwiches?
Source: Au Bon Pain, Price: You decide