as we continue our journey through the recesses of the internet in search of awesome stuff that can be purchased for cheap without having to go outside… i thought i’d take a little detour and talk about xmas shopping at the drugstore (because we’re there all the time anyway, and who doesn’t want to pay for their xmas gifts with extrabucks?) without it looking like “i forgot to get you a present so i picked up something crappy at the drugstore on my way over”.
first, a few THINGS TO AVOID:
– boxed candy. aren’t we fat enough already? also, nothing says “i picked this up at the drugstore/supermarket/gas station” like a box of russell stover. you may as well just hand them a card that says “you don’t matter”. if it ain’t godiva (or something equally exotic and amazing), don’t bother.
– aftermarket electornics. want to experience the true look of disappointment on a child’s face? give them something that sort of looks like an ipod, but most definitely IS NOT. it’s cheap shit that is likely to embarrass your children in front of their peers. if it says CRAIG or COBY, drop it. please. (don’t even get me started on the “zone40 wireless gaming system“)
– shrink wrapped bath sets in baskets. seriously, nothing makes me itchier than thinking about using cheap/overly scented bath products. plus, nobody really uses this shit. you’re basically saying “merry xmas, i got you something to take up space under your sink for the next 5 years until you have a garage sale or get the cojones to throw it out”. nobody wants these, i promise.
– anything “as seen on tv”. yeah, i’m talking about you snuggie.
cautions aside, there are actually a number of perfectly thoughtful, or at least not crappy gift ideas to be had at your local rite aid, or cvs, or walgreens….
– be the personal hygiene fairy. toss back the scented body lotions, and put together your own “gift set” of stuff that your friends actually use. especially your broke friends. before my couponing catharsis, i used to dread buying personal hygiene products because they drove up the price of my weekly groceries exponentially. toothpaste is expensive! poke through your friend’s bathrooms when they’re not looking, and write down the brands they use. then, put together a cute little box with a few of each item (toothpaste, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, razors…). it may not be very sexy, but it’s thoughtful, and they’re guaranteed to use it. and isn’t that the key to giving a really good gift?
– go overboard! if you know someone who really loves snickers bars… or mac & cheese… or chapstick… or whatever, nothing is as adorable as giving them a big box full of that love. a year’s worth of gummy worms? a sack full of clean socks for your laundry-averse friends? 15 pairs of inexpensive sunglasses for someone who just keeps losing or breaking theirs? hilarious AND thoughtful. *all net*
– perfume. just about every drugstore in town has a little glass case tucked into the cosmetics department filled with fancy-ass perfume. i’m not talking “bod” or “designer imposters body spray” here. i’m talking the same stuff you can get at the department store. there’s just something sweetly old fashioned about giving good perfume as a gift. be careful though, scent is a very personal choice. also- make sure that they wear perfume (and that they’re not horribly allergic to it!). in general, it’s always safe to get someone a bottle of something they already wear (perfume is stupid expensive), and a little note about how much you love their smell. if you want to strike out and get them something new, i always love the classics (shalimar, giorgio, chloe, halston…). for the younger set, i suggest something culturally relevant, expensive looking, and not too heavy. burberry brit and anything by gwen stefani are generally winners.
– batteries yo! know someone who is getting a wii this year? well, those wireless controllers eat batteries like nobody’s business. lately, there have been a ton of great deals on batteries all over town ($5 duracell SCR at rite aid anyone?), so why not load up on AAs and give your friend a reason to never stop playing elebits. seriously, a big block of batteries and a sweet note about how you want to come over and play (and possibly some beer) is a surprisingly good gift. also, batteries make a great garnish to any electronic gift. nothing sucks harder than having the factory included batteries crap out just moments after you get into your new toys.
– gift cards. what’s great about drugstores is that they all have big ass displays with tons of gift cards to choose from. they’re not entirely innovative, but the best gifts are the ones where the receiver is getting something that they want, and a carefully chosen gift card almost always works. emphasis however on the “carefully chosen” part. mall restaurants suck. unless you know someone who genuinely really loves applebees (which might i add is completely depraved), stay away from restaurant gift cards. try also to be age appropriate. nobody under the age of 40 needs a talbots gift card. some generally safe bets are (obviously dependent on age, interests, etc.) gap, old navy, itunes, target, j. crew, l.l. bean, h&m, pottery barn, and starbucks. oh, and make sure it’s worth more than $10 you cheap bastard.
in summation, the key to good gift giving isn’t really where you shop, but being attentive to the needs, wants, interest, and lifestyle of the giftee. take your time and get it right! no matter how little or how much it costs, people will always remember a thoughtful gift, given with love.