This is a guest post.
Shopping for holiday gifts can be a lot of pressure. If you want to impress your family and friends and get them something that won’t immediately find its way to the garbage, you must approach holiday shopping with a certain amount of forethought and creativity. The first step is to identify the specific interests of your gift recipients, and then do a little research to find something that’s not cliché or hopelessly out of touch. Here’s a small list of cool gift ideas by interest to get you started.
For Kids: Children are by far the hardest group to buy gifts for because their hobbies are often dictated by passing fads. It’s better to go for something practical, but that doesn’t mean dress socks. Converse has a cool service that lets you design a custom pair of their signature Chuck Taylor’s online and have them shipped right to your door. It’s even worth it to ruin the surprise by letting them design their own shoe.
For Fashionistas: If someone you know is into the fashion scene, don’t make the rookie mistake of attempting to buy them clothes. Constructing an outfit is a point of pride for them and your sense of style most likely isn’t up to par with theirs anyways. You’ll have better luck with accessories. Lots of reputable designers produce hip and inexpensive jewelry, like French designer Hermes’ popular line of bracelets. Just hope that they stay in fashion at least until New Years.
For Foodies: “Bacon is Meat Candy.” That’s the genius slogan for the Bacon of the Month Club, which is really the only legitimate gift for a gourmet meat fan. You can give a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription that will earn them twice a month bacon deliveries straight to their door. They’ll be able to experience bacon as never before with exotic flavors like Vanilla Bourbon and Cajun along with classics like Hickory Smoked. Subscriptions come with as a special bacon recipe book and discounts on bacon related accessories like spatulas. There’s nothing like a little hog for the holidays.
For the Health Conscious: Grow Your Own Sprouts Kit. Okay, so maybe pounds and pounds of bacon aren’t for everyone. For the health conscious foodie, visit wheatgrasskits.com, where you can buy an all-in-one kit to start growing their own wheatgrass, sprouts, barley, and herbs right in their own kitchen. It’s sort of like a Chia Pet except way more delicious.
For Art Lovers: If you have an artist or art lover in the family, then you should paint them a signed, highly detailed self-portrait. If that sounds like a little too much work, you can always check out the Museum of Modern Art’s online store. Their inventory is full of limited edition prints and quirky products like the Sky Umbrella, designed to give you a taste of sunshine in the dead of winter. The MoMA even has a special holiday section where you can pick up cutting-edge, minimalist tree decorations.
For Music Lovers: Like with fashion, you should never attempt to buy a music lover music. Instead, give them an easy way to find their own music. Instead of a boring gift card, go with Muve Music, a new service from Cricket Wireless that provides unlimited music downloads in your rate plan. There’s a lot of buzz around Muve, and the product recently won the Wireless Association’s Hot for the Holidays award in the Music Lovers category. Keep your eye out for Cricket’s Black Friday deals to get even more value out of Muve Music.
For Musicians: For the actual musician in the family, check out the Pick Punch, a stapler-like device that gives you the ability to make your own custom guitar picks by punching them out of household items, everything from old gift cards to junk mail. This is a gift that gets the right balance between novelty and practicality, and is addictive even to non-musicians.
Film buff: What better gift for a film fan than a book? Nathan Rabin’s My Year of Flops chronicles one film critic’s quest to revisit Hollywood’s most notorious bombs, including Waterworld and The Cable Guy, examining what went wrong and whether they deserve more recognition than their reputations suggest. It’s a fascinating read, and sure to inspire many debates over how bad something must be before it’s so-bad-it’s-good.
Obviously, this list only scratches the surface of awesome gifts for the 2011 season. Hopefully it has given you some ideas that will help you find that elusive perfect gift. Remember, you don’t need to break the bank in order to delight this holiday season. Good gift giving is all about knowing the recipient, getting creative, and avoiding obvious and boring gifts (especially gift cards). Happy shopping!