Boss: If you give your boss something too expensive, you’ll seem like a suck-up. If it’s something cheap, it’ll be disrespectful. If you give anything at all, and no one else does, that’s just as bad as if you didn’t, and everyone else did. The solution is to bake some cookies with macadamia nuts.
Boyfriend/brothers/uncles/guys in general: Anything from one of the four categories is good: electronic gadgets, pocket tools, DVD collection of his favorite show, video games.
Girlfriend: Think of a happy memory from your courtship. Identify a symbol from that memory and figure out a way to crystalize that into an object. “Look, babe, remember when I rollerbladed down Alki, and I tripped and fell and crashed into you and made you spill your Sprite, and that’s how we met? Well, here’s a bottle of Sprite, and a cup of sand from Alki. Merry Christmas.”
Wife/husband: Give the gift of relieve by making a deal to buy each other nothing and do something stress-free as a couple instead. Or, agree to buy a joint gift that could be enjoyed by both, such as a Leatherman Micra pocket tool.
Older Sisters/aunts/grandmothers: Scented candles or lotions that smell like a combination of fruit and spices, like “vanilla-apple” or “pear-tarragon.”
Grandfathers: A thick book on some obscure topic, such as “Salt: A World History.”
Parents: Usually tools are good for Dads. It makes them feel manly, even if they never use it. Moms usually don’t care what you give them. They’ll love it regardless. However, I find that the best gifts for them are expensive stuff such as electronic gadgets or a massage chair — stuff that they would never buy for themselves.
Small children: Holiday-themed socks.
Older kids: Kids have come to associate Christmas with presents. This is no way to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Make them focus on the true meaning of Christmas, by getting something from the World Vision catalog, such as a chicken to help a poor family in a third-world country.
May you have a wonderful, warm holiday filled with all the things that make life worth living, such as the Leatherman Micra pocket tool.
Visit Huy at his Jagged Noodles blog at www.jaggednoodles.com.