By Emily Brennan
Some people can just go to the store and pick out perfectly acceptable Christmas presents for their family and friends—gift cards are always a safe choice. I, however, have a very difficult time buying generic gifts for the people in my life who are anything but generic. I spend hours racking my brain for conversations that I’ve had with my loved ones in the past six months for clues that will lead me to the perfect gift for each specific person. The gift has to be thoughtful, but also something that they will use. It has to be something that they wouldn’t necessarily purchase for themselves, but is something that they truly want. Here are five gift ideas that may be a little out of the ordindary, but chances are your friends are also out of the ordinary!
For the reader: old books.
It is undeniably convenient to slip a tablet (e.g. Nook, Kindle, iPad) into your purse rather than lugging around hundreds of physical books—so I hear. I have yet to conform to this new-fangled way of storing my literature, but I’m sure I’m not far off from giving in. However, even if I acquire one of these gadgets, I know that I won’t ever be able to truly abandon to world of paper and ink. The memories and feelings captured in the pages of an old book cannot be found in a tablet: the water-damaged rippled pages, the worn edges of the binding, the dents caused by a reader folding down the corner to hold her place.
Search the dusty bins of a used bookstore for your favorites and give it to someone who loves to read as much as you do. On the inside page, write a note for the recipient explaining why the book is important to you and why you chose it for them.
For the foodie: food of the month membership.
Whenever I want to show someone I care about him or her I give them food of some sort—a cupcake, candy, homemade dinner, baked good, etc. I know that something special like a pretty confection or a splurge on a nice spread of cheese and crackers catapults a normal day into something a little more luxurious. There are all different kinds of food memberships that deliver a specialty item right to your door each month. There are gourmet caramel apple memberships, artisan cheese memberships, gelato of the month, macaron of the month, and so many more. Most companies offer a 3-month, 6-month, or annual subscription option.
Buy your foodie friend a subscription for one of their favorite treats and it’ll be like Christmas every month!
www.debritochocolate.com (caramel apple of the month)
www.danabakery.com (macaron of the month)
For the crafter: ornament making kits.
A few years ago my mom started making these incredibly beautiful, elaborate, vintage-looking ornaments. They are relatively easy to make and come in so many styles and colors. You can find these kits cheap on websites like Ebay, Amazon, or Mary Maxim. They are so pretty that I hope my mom passes them on to me and they will see the branches of many generations of Christmas trees. They look gorgeous on the tree and putting them together is a great way to spend time as you enjoy your Christmas vacation.
Either make the ornaments yourself and give the finished product to your friend, or give the kit to your crafty pals and let them put them together!
For the film buff: bucket of butter.
This present may be the most random on this list, but it will be the most appreciated by the right recipient: a jumbo bucket of movie theater popcorn. Most theaters offer a jumbo popcorn bucket for around $20, and with the purchase of this bucket the owner only has to pay around $3 to get it filled. The bucket is good for a year, which means a lot of money will be saved a lot of popcorn will be eaten. Movie theater prices are astronomical (I once paid $5 for a bottle of water), and if you have a friend who frequents the theater the gift of buttery, salty movie theater popcorn at a discount is as good as it gets. I would recommend making this into a gift basket with a theater gift card and candy. For the sentimental: snow globe.
I think that snow globes are the most magical item involved in holiday decorating. Think about it, a little world in which it is Christmas all the time and the snow is actually glitter all encapsulated by a small orb of glass. This gift is wildly impractical and should only be given to someone who will truly appreciate it (and believe me those people exist because I’m one of them). There are plenty of high quality snow globes on the market out there, but I think that a homemade one boosts the sentimental factor significantly.
There are all sorts of tutorials online on how to make a snow globe—basically all you need is glitter, a jar, glycerin, clear-drying epoxy, and a figurine of some sort. If there is a special picture that captured a great memory between you and the recipient, a family heirloom, a souvenir from a trip you took together, or a figurine of a character from a movie they love (if giving to a child), make it the focal point of your homemade snow globe! Check this link for Emory Ann’s version on HaveHeart!