November 29, 2012

girl in the curious city

Gifts That Entertain An Entertaining Host
Don't be that guy or gal who shows up at a holiday party empty handed. If you wish to be invited back to next year's shindig, make sure to bring at least a bottle of wine. But if you're looking for a more creative gift that will sure impress the host, here are a few ideas:

1 - Festive Tapered Candles ($24): So damn cute and decorative. Any party thrower will love dressing up their place with these bright striped, vintage striped, and colorful candles.

2 - Artisan Soap ($8-$50): Handcrafted artisan soap isn't something I would typically buy myself because it's hard to justify such extravagance. Soap is soap right? But actually it's an amazing gift to receive. It's nice to indulge a little when it's on someone else's tab. I sometimes keep the really lovely smelling ones in my lingerie drawer. Here are a few from France, Vancouver, and San Francisco.

3 -  Fragrance for the Home ($10-$45): Help your host keep her place smelling beautiful. Diptyque makes amazing candles so imagine these ceramic diffusers emitting the same aromatic scents but without a flame. Potpourri is so outdated, but not scented sachets! Post-poo drops? Are you kidding, I'd buy it just for the name. But really everyone needs a toilet deodorizer, especially after a party.

4 - Green Thumb ($11-$35): I know not everyone has a garden or a green thumb but you gotta start somewhere. These small plant and herb kits are a perfect introduction. The Growbottle, Heirloom Seed kit, and Eggling are pretty self sustaining. Plus they look great on a window sill or bookshelf. Tell your host to just give it a little water, sun, and TLC.

10 Gifts That Will Change Their Lives

1 - Magazine Subscription ($5-70): I enjoy gifts that keep on giving. Sure you can do a perenniel favorite like Vogue ($20), or you can expand minds with The Nation ($32); expand worlds with National Geographic ($15); expand hobbies with Dwell ($20) or American Photo ($13); expand minds with McSweeney's ($65).

2 - Exercise ($5-199): Exercise is good for the body, mind, and soul. Blah blah, you all know this, AND you know it's true. It's sometimes hard to kickstart someone into a healthy lifestyle. I personally gravitate towards classes and more ballet-based exercise. How about something like My Barre 3, Physique 57, or Wello?

3 - The Way to Love by Anthony de Mello ($9): This slim book is filled with ideas that will blow your mind about the way you perceive others and yourself, develop attachments, live, and love.

4 - The Office and 30 Rock ($9-$20): There's nothing more appreciated than a good sense of humor. Help your gift recipient develop an amazing sense of humor with these humor-changing shows. Although you can't really gift these shows, you can buy the DVDs or give a subscription to a streaming website.

5 - Support NPR ($40+): Find your local station and support it on behalf of your gift recipient. In my case, it's KCRW. Gifting a membership to KCRW leads to a whole slate of benefits, but public radio is also a crucial form of mind-expansion. NPR is truly a life changer, with human interest stories as well as relatively unbiased news reporting. (My favorite host is Steve Inskeep : )

6 - Learning a Hobby ($60-125): Helping someone discover a new skill or hobby can change his/her life forever. Imagine your friend growing a love of food into a love of cooking with a cooking class. Or, growing from an amateur photographer to a serious photographer? Try Hipcooks ($60 a class) or Nicole's Classes ($125 for Photo 101). Search Yelp for local options.

7 - Adopt-a-dog ($100-300): Whether the dog is for a child, a lonely older adult, or yourself, this gift spreads love all around. Save a dog's life and possibly a lonely human's too. Teach responsibility, provide companionship, or just give a very real gift of love! Bennet was adopted from the SPCA in Oakland, and adoptions from SPCA of Los Angeles are $125!

8 - Camera ($100-500): I truly believe that whether or not you are "artistic" or "creative," you have your own view of the world, quite literally. Your interactions, perspectives, and aesthetics are uniquely yours. Capturing that for yourself or to share with others is an endless gift. Pictures help you remember and can inspire others. Gifting a camera can vary upon experience. A simple point and shoot can do or you can get fancy with a micro 4:3 camera (lighter than an SLR, more options than a point and shoot). I've heard great things about the Canon ELPH line, and I know from experience the joys of an Olympus PEN camera (Thanks BDF!)

9 - A Vacation Alone ($200+): Everyone, even the most extrovert of extroverts can benefit from time alone. I enjoy traveling alone because I can wander and explore without worrying if the other people are enjoying themselves. That's in a big city, but I might be more reluctant if I were forced to actually relax in a cabin by myself. BUT, that's probably exactly what I need. You see where I'm going with this? This is definitely not an easy gift to give, but you might be able to contribute to the housing element via AirBnb or perhaps have a Honeyfund set-up (who cares if it's not for a wedding)?

10 - Failure: And finally, failure. I think failure is a life-changing experience that no amount of money can really buy. Failure helps us stretch and grow in ways we never would have previously imagined, however painful the process may be. However, related to failure is disappointment. And you CAN buy disappointment. I'm thinking, instead of buying a gift, how about buying something in lieu of a gift? Your friend expects cash money in her hands, or your partner expects a shiny new geek tech toy. Well sorry, in lieu of a Christmas gift, I made a $25 loan on Kiva! Your gift recipient may be momentarily disappointed, but the real gift is helping microentrepreneurs who need your help!

1 comment:

  1. Candles are growing on me these days, and I love those candles!!