Sure, the “f*** you” holiday gift, so thoughtful and perfect and blah-diddy-blah-blah, is great. It shows you know the person, mused over their je ne sais quoi for like a million hot minutes, and carefully selected the most aesthetically glorious thing for miles.
But the worst part about the “f*** you” gift is that when you can’t find it, you instead end up buying something awful. Like a book. Or a gift certificate. Or you buy a $950 cashmere paper weight that’s white as shaving cream and the person opens it like, “Um…ok?”
In between the greatest gift and the least personal perches an elusive mystery. It is the gift that any person would open and say, “…Huh?!” while giggling maniacally. It is the gift that keeps on giving because it is so magnificent that the recipient might regift it to try and mooch some steez off your prowess. It is albatross and four leaf clover, all at once. It is the gift célèbre.
Let’s start simply enough. People never give gifts to just anyone, so there’s no time like the present (hah!) to start. Buy a big bulk bag of cheap plastic jewelry, affix little gift cards with some clever missive–“this is a 14 carat petrochemical”–and hand them out to friend and foe. Remember: this is the gift that says not, “I thought of you,” but “I thought of gifts.” That is now considered thoughtful, and you should use this to your advantage.
Now on to those pesky hostess gifts. As the result of a recent string of parties, sitting in my kitchen are about 10 bottles of $8.99 red wine, and two very spectacular bottles, though who gave me which I cannot say. So skip the wine–and fancy stupid candles shaped like pigs, and little towels with “Jingle” embroidered on them–and bring Cool Whip.
For the best friend who has it all (“it all” meaning, of course, “you”), how about a crime busting get away? Some velvet Saturday, burst into their apartment, announce you’re checking into the Algonquin, and wait for her to discover the rubber axe and ransom note you’ve planted in the drawer where the Bible should be. Now it’s really on, because you’ve got to solve a crime before your 8:30 reservation at 21.
Finally, the significant other. Perhaps the most difficult person to buy for. A present for your boyfriend or girlfriend shouldn’t say, “I think about you all the time,” or “I am obsessed with you.” Or, “I sure did spend money.” In fact, the cheaper the gift, the better, if the ratio of thinking to cost is like 5:1. It should under no circumstances be remotely practical, and never must it say, “You were right, we should get a dog.” In fact, it should be a whole slew of transportation themed toys–cars, planes, bikes, rocket ships, horses–with their wings, wheels, or legs plucked off. Card: “I’m here to stay, kiddo,” with two cigars for good measure.