Design, Self

how do you give gifts?

I love browsing gift guides during the holiday season. Not because I actually am looking for things to give people. I mean, I am. But not from these places. I read them the way I imagine some people watch porn: as perfect, unattainable, seductive escapes to unreality that I emerge from with a slight guilt headache.

Take, for example, this gift guide from cool-girl website Refinery 29. In a list called, “30 Genius Gifts for Your Other Half,” their curator suggests a $195 rucksack. RUCKSACK. That sounds like something a 1950’s hobo would carry. Also pretty much everyone I know, including my imaginary other half, has a backpack. Also on the list is a  $350 bocce ball set. Again, maybe if I was a retired New York Jew living in Florida.


What I might give to my husband of 40 years during our retirement.

It’s not just that these suggested gifts are crazy expensive. It’s also that so many of them are totally frivolous. An icicle wine chiller. Moscow mule cups. A sleeping mask. No one I know needs these things!

My ideal gift for giving fulfills someone’s actual need or desire in a stylish, perhaps unexpected, delightful way. I don’t like just giving stuff. 

So I’m curious: what do you do around the holiday season for gifts? Do you obsessively hand-make, curate individualized lists, or just get the same basic gift for everyone? (As for myself, I am making baked goods for acquaintances and getting cheapie/creative with single gifts for my closer friends). I’d love to hear yours 🙂

xo m.


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