My Christmas Ideas For the Hardest People to Shop For On Earth

First let me just get up on my soapbox and say…you know what really annoys me about online Christmas shopping? The fact that they charge you for gift boxes. That’s just ridiculous. They don’t charge you in the store, so why do I have to pay $5 for a box when I am saving them money by buying something online? God, that pisses me off. Props to you, Banana Republic, for sending me a free gift box if I agree to put the stupid sweater in the box myself. Anyway, I never order the gift boxes, I just go into the store and ask for them, and they always give them to me for free. That and in December I ask for a gift box for everything I buy, whether it’s a gift or not, and then I use those boxes.

Anyway, here’s my Christmas present ideas. BTW, I try to spend $50 on each person and this year hasn’t really been going too well in that regards.

For my mom:

The woman has everything. If she doesn’t have it, it’s because she doesn’t want it. Oh, and she puts presents for herself under the Christmas tree. Yeah.

a Nikki McClure calendar


a J Crew sweater


Spoon Fruit from American Spoon





fancy desk accessories and personalized pencils

pbdeskstuff.jpg pencils.jpg

For my brother:

He’s really hard to shop for because he’s loaded, but he has assured me that he loves the boring sweater gift:

Banana Republic Sweater


I got 20% off this with a coupon I found on

And because he is SO generous (for example he bought us Eli’s car seat AND the Ergo) and I feel guilty only giving him a sweater, I am making him a small lap quilt inspired by Denyse Schmidt.

Pictures to follow. And also, it’s still in the total design stage, I haven’t even shopped for the fabric yet. Gulp.

For my sister:

This might sound rude, but expensive presents are sort of…wasted on my sister. She likes to open presents more than she wants or needs stuff, and unfortunately she really only wants DVD’s, which I don’t want to give her. I have seen so many very very very expensive presents that she has been given (Coach purses come to mind) thrown in a closet that now I try to spend next to nothing on her present. It amortizes my mom’s present.

So she is getting

stationery and a journal


a framed picture of Eli

a candle

and socks.

Maybe a letter A to hang on her wall if I can find one.

For my cousin:

My cousin lives in China and can’t watch American TV shows, and plus she reminds me SO MUCH of Mary Louise Parker it’s not even funny.

Weeds Season One and Two on DVD


Mr. E’s parents:

This is a joint gift, all the kids chip in for them.

stadium seats and a kitchen aid mixer


Mr. E: It’s a surprise. It’s something really good that I know he wants, though.

(There is nothing more depressing to me than couples that say “Oh, we don’t buy each other presents any more.” God. Life without presents is so not worth living. Get off your ass and make something. Buy a small thoughtful something. But jeez. Make some effort.) Needless to say, I always get Mr. E a present, and I swear to god we are together today because I once bought him a guitar.

I did already get him something he totally already knows about, a vat of Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo.


We have been trying to find shampoo that just gets your hair clean and doesn’t make your scalp all greasy for months now, and we’ve probably spent at least $25 on nasty greasy drugstore shampoo that never works. So finally I gave up and plunked down the $25 for the Aveda mint shampoo which actually cleans off your scalp, for gods sake.

My step dad:

I hate Christmas shopping for my step dad because bless his heart, he is SO obnoxious about returning presents that it take the joy out of giving him anything. I don’t care if you return things, but maybe you could avoid making notations on the gift receipt mere seconds after you’ve opened it, and perhaps it’s not in the best taste to put on a big show of carefully saving all the associated paperwork? It is a good reminder to me to be gracious, even when one does not prefer what one has been given. Anyway, I give him boring things I think will be easy to return and try to divorce myself from the process.

J Crew sweater


Red Sox t shirt from the playoffs in Denver

Measure Twice Cut Once silver plated tape measure


For My Aunt and Uncle:

I was thinking a

wreath from Smith and Hawken



photo bookends


but I made a game time decision to get them a coffee and chocolate gift box from Peet’s.


My Step Sister:

We already got her a

a North Face fleece


and now we need two more smallish type presents to go with it. I was thinking

pajama pants from Anthropologie but they’re $50, not really a smallish type present. So now we’re thinking maybe

a hat and gloves from J Crew, to go with the fleece,

jhat.jpg jgloves.jpg

and then something from Philosophy or Kiehls or the Body Shop. (Which will technically be from my sister, although my brother pays for it, and I order it. Teamwork!)

Anyone have any other good suggestions?


A J Crew sweater


My BIL: He’s not getting anything until he coughs up some ideas. Otherwise I’m getting his ass a J Crew sweater. (Are you sensing a theme here?)


7 Responses

  1. Oh man. I would like to be in your family, please.

    I’m trying to shoot for $15 per person this year, which is more like $20, because there is nothing for less than $20. Your J. Crew Sweater theme is my Amazon Book Theme.

  2. Wow you are a really good gifter.

    JCrew sweaters beat my defaults of chocolate! and nothing for you if you have kids I am buying for!

    The redsox shirt is a fantastic gift. I am assuming he won’t want to return that?

    I got my husband a collection of special cheeses that will be delivered next week. I am so excited about that.

  3. As a husband AND a cheese lover, I will say that the collection of special cheeses sounds pretty good — especially if there are nachos involved, but then again, I’m kinda a nacho afficianado (did I spell that right?). Or nacho addict — it’s all shades of gray after a while.

  4. “Life without presents is so not worth living.” SO TRUE! At least make an effort.

    And, I’d like be on your gift list! Ha!

  5. You are the BEST gift giver eva.

  6. you know, we are not one of those no gift couples, but we are the “we get ourselves a gift together” couples… and now that I think about it, that’s not really romantic! You’ve inspired me to think about changing that…

    Man, if I could just have a fraction of your energy to get into the holiday season… I’m totally not there yet. your posts help prod me, though!

  7. How long does it take to gift wrap all that stuff? My brother once used aluminum foil to wrap presents because he’s cheap and lazy.

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