Truth be told, I am not a great gift selector. I'd like to think that doesn't reflect upon me in a way that suggests that I don't pay attention to people's desires, but I probably don't pay that much attention to people's desires. My way of picking presents out for people is basically going off of one comment that I vaguely remember them making, and hoping for the best. Here's how I applied my technique to each member of my family:
Mom and Dad: Ahh, you can see problem #1 here is that I have already grouped them together. And generally speaking, they have two hobbies: beer drinking and golfing. The golfing theme has been done. And done again. And redone. To the point that we've beat the dead horse, and then some more for good measure. So that only leaves beer. And that's even been done. Last year, I took them on a "tour" of every wine and beer landmark I experienced since moving to Virginia, by buying them a bottle from every brewery or winery I could get my hands on. Nothing like outlining your drinking endeavors to your parents, right?
That leaves a narrow window for working within the beer theme without doing the same thing again. Since I have no idea where to go with that, I type "beer" into Groupon to see what generic gift it comes up with. And BAM, a monthly beer subscription. Craft beers delivered straight to your door every month. Well damn, that seems legit. And with one click, my parents are enrolled in monthly beer deliveries.
My sister: Thank god for a girl that knows what she wants. Her list included a big coffee mug, an oil and vinegar holder that intertwines (she even showed me pictures) and other kitchen supplies for her new house. Phew. Some clear direction. Easy enough, I head into Richmond's fancy new upscale grocery store, Southern Seasons, and I find intertwined oil and vinegar holders in no time. I tried to buy oil and vinegar to go in them, because that would make sense, but there were too many options, so I bailed on that plan.
Next, the coffee mug idea seemed lame. One of those half-assed ideas that I would really only resort to on Christmas Eve, when time is running out. But then I stumbled upon a Buzzfeed article about Ron Swanson, and it was like an Angel spoke to me, telling me to find a Ron Swanson coffee mug. And praise baby Jesus, those do exist, and that present went from lame to awesome in no time.
For good measure, I threw in an owl-shaped mug, some square bowls and pig-shaped measuring spoons. She said kitchen things, so mission accomplished.
My brother: Let's be real, shopping for him is usually easy. He makes out a list and sends it to you on various platforms to ensure it's in hand for the shopping season. But something got into him, and he didn't send out anything. All he gave me was his pants size, told me they were baggy and he didn't quite like them, and wished me well. So obviously I took that to mean he wants clothes, so I purchased him a nice thermal sweater with stripes and a hood. And as a cherry on top, I got him a car air freshener from his favorite candle store, Yankee Candle. But that's not quite enough, so I went to go buy him a video game. But holy shit, who knew there were so many systems and so many games that all seem the same?! Gift card it is.
And that's a wrap folks. Almost the least painful shopping season yet.