An exemplary gift typically follows the following formula:
(sentimental value + decadence) ÷ how well you know them
When a gift is a callback to your relationship, it shows you’re a good listener. Try and make them feel spoiled—even nominally—by getting them something they wouldn’t normally get themselves. Also, this all should be relative to how well you know the person. (You wouldn’t get your intern and best friend the same caliber present! Unless they’re the same person, in which case: sitcom, much??) Keep tabs on their needs or interests throughout the year, too. It could be their subconscious signaling present suggestions. Why else would I casually mention Cloud by Ariana Grande, by name, on a daily basis?
Anyway. Given this publish date of these tips (Dec. 19, 2018), it’s probably already too late in the game to make good use of them. Don’t fret! There’s always next year. Until then, here’s a last-minute gift guide comprised of treasures that can be wrapped and ribboned by the time you wake up on the 25th and find your parents sitting on the couch like this. Happy holidays, everyone.
To: A makeup minimalist, Lipstick Queen Transformative Trio
What it says: “I can’t improve upon your allure.”
Imagine the surprise as your friend unwraps three lipsticks—one yellow, one green, and one blue. Just as they’ve decided to write you out of their will, you can announce that the colors morph into a vivid coral, flushed pink, and berry tone (respectively) when applied. “All three shades meld with your lip tone to ensure a flattering match for all skin tones!” you’ll scream, getting visibly upset, knocking over my 7-Up. Surprise! And just like that, you’ve secured your position as the impish trickster of your friend circle for yet another year.
To: A “foodie”, Poppin Cookin miniature D.I.Y. candy kits
What it says: “Your sense of fun is unrivaled.”
These kits originate from Japan, the epicenter of adorably styled food. You mix various powders with tiny amounts of water and end up with Borrower-sized doughnuts that taste like custard or salmon roe that tastes like Tang. It’s a gas!
To: The tastemaker in your life, Glitterville Raindrop Ornaments
What it says: “Was that your living room featured in last month's Architectural Digest?”
Ornaments? As a gift? Well, for the domestically adept, the holidays are the Olympics of the living room. Chances are, they already spend the entire year prairie-dogging in and out of vintage shops, collecting the heirloom trimmings for the upcoming year. My mom’s holiday decor storage, for example, takes up a square footage roughly the same size as my entire apartment. Make a thoughtful contribution to their collection so they can get back to what they really want to do: Tide Penning meringue splatters out of their mint cashmere.
To: A friend that does the most, Dermaflash Dermaplaning Device
What it says: “Do you have any room left on your bathroom counter?”
They probably already own a Clarisonic and Foreo and have grown listless waiting for the next best innovation in beauty tools. Turns out, all they're missing is this! It removes dead skin, literal layers of dirt, and any peach fuzz you’re not crazy about. Painlessly, with zero downtime. Plus: it comes in pink—the color they probably hope it comes in.
To: The young of heart, 1 lb bag of cereal marshmallows
What it says: “2018 was a tough look.”
Many adults have experienced an upbringing similar to this: Their parents only let them eat sugar cereals on special occasions, if ever. This attitude, while nutritionally sound, was viewed by adolescent eyes as a form of Draconian punishment. Allow them to face their complexes head-on with 16 oz. of edible breakfast decoration. At $11, it’s a fraction of many other reactionary measures adults use to revisit their youth.
To: Your work spouse, a portable power bank
What it says: “You now have no reason not to text me back.”
Sure. It’s nice to be able to charge your phone on the go, but you know what else is nice? Charging your phone on the couch and being able to wander to the kitchen and bathroom without ever having to unplug it.
To: The avid reader of ITG, Coululi Mini Fridge
What it says: “You look good.”
You know what really chaps my nips? A few months back I bought this breast milk fridge for a story inspired by Christopher Niquet, filled it with beauty products, and called it a day. Since publishing, I found a beauty fridge hashtag via my explore page. Then, a major American lifestyle retail corporation began selling it, tacking on an extra $15 because it was styled with a quartz roller. Just get it from the source and label the outside of the fridge with their Disqus handle.
To: Anyone with ears, Beats Solo 3 Headphones
What it says: “I’m probably in love with you.”
A lot of my routine is dull. It involves commuting, sitting on an anti-hemorrhoidal cushion, and writing for 8-10 hours a day. The saving grace of my day comes in the form of my music acting as the score to the imaginary movie I star in. These headphones (I have them in satin gold—a pale bisque color) do a notable thing where they can take a song I’ve heard 400 times and make me hear a minor melodic nuance I never knew was there. In my film, this marks a major turning point for our protagonist: me, the Filipino Timothée Chalamet. I can think of no kinder gesture than to share that feeling.
To: Type A personalities, a label maker
What it says: “Go to town.”
Someone once pointed out to me that the amount of labeling I do in my house was “unnecessary and overkill.” “Why do you need to label your dish soap?” they asked, as I hallucinated ushering them out the door. “It’s not like you’re not going to confuse it with anything else! Why does this bottle of lotion just say ‘SMELLS LIKE MELON’?” Because! This is my life and I will squander it as I see fit!
The next part is easy. If you don’t happen to have a well-stocked gift-wrapping room like Katie Couric, there’s plenty of household items you can package your gift in (aluminum foil, parchment paper, newsprint, parking tickets, a bandana, an XL Glossier pouch). Proceed to your next project: figuring out what to buy yourself for all your hard work. Some of my favorite gifts to myself from 2018 include: a deep fryer the size of a toaster, Cloud by Ariana Grande (ha ha, just kidding, would love to try it, though!), socks that are plush and hideous, tubes of Burt’s Bees lip balm emblazoned with my name, and a Norfolk pine that I trussed up, like a turkey, in fairy lights. I would describe it’s silhouette as Seussian. Every night I curl up next to it and when it beams at me, I beam right back.
Photographed by Tom Newton.