I don’t know about you, but the holiday season really snuck up on me this year. I was just trying to get the most out of October, and then boom, suddenly it was the middle of December. Christmas is basically upon us. And if it caught you off guard like it did me, then you may still have a friend or two you need to buy for.
First off, don’t panic, and don’t get stressed. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed this time of year–and when we really ought to be enjoying ourselves. So I want to make it clear from the start that you don’t have to buy anything at all. You shouldn’t feel pressured, especially in this economy, to make large financial gestures just to show you care. If you feel your anxiety kicking in, or if you’re on a tighter budget this year, write a heartfelt note to your loved ones instead.
That will be more than enough.
But if you are determined to produce a material gift, here are 10 simple but classy ideas:
- A Crystal Face Roller
These are getting increasingly popular, and I’m definitely on board.
I wouldn’t call them a beauty necessity, but they are a very pleasant little luxury. Most beauty experts recommend some kind of facial massage, even if you just use your hands as you apply your moisturizer. It helps keep your skin firm and stimulates lymphatic drainage. You can even stick your roller in the freezer for a few minutes to cool yourself down or reduce puffiness. You’ll find them almost anywhere, and they come in a variety of colors.
Above are rose quartz, jade, and amethyst, from left to right. I myself have a jade roller, and I like to use it sometimes before I put my makeup on. It gets a thumbs up from me.
Pro-tip: Be sure to get a crystal one, not one of those pitiful little plastic ones. It should have just a little bit of weight to it. You’ll be able to tell the difference.
- Eye or Face Masks
If you are a human being, then you need to be hydrating your skin. Especially if aging gracefully is something that matters to you. But although a bottle of lotion would certainly be a practical gift, it might not be considered the most thoughtful or creative.
Consider instead a pack of under-eye masks, or a full face mask. They look and feel like luxury items, but you can find them in just about any pharmacy. This gift may encourage your friend to kick back (for at least a few minutes) and indulge in some much needed self-care.
And we all know self-care is the greatest gift of all.
- A Bath Bomb or Shower Melt
There’s something just innately fascinating (and fun) about these. What is it about watching a colorful thing dissolve that’s so nice? I don’t know, but these are easy to find, they come in all shapes and sizes, and they smell good.
Bonus: The average person doesn’t usually think to buy these for themselves, so it’s sure to be a pleasant surprise.
- A Scarf
And I’m not talking about just grabbing a random scarf off of the clearance rack. When I say “a scarf,” I mean a scarf with some thoughtfulness behind it. At the very least, choose one that’s in your friend’s favorite color. Do you think they’ll like the fabric? The pattern? Take a good long minute to decide if it would actually suit them.
Trust me, people can tell when you put care into your gift and when you didn’t.
But when it’s right, it’s right, and a cozy, fashionable scarf is something that anyone can use.
- A Subscription to Disney+
Say what you will, but Disney is a part of pretty much everyone’s lives to some extent. But if you’re around my age (26), then you grew up in a kind of Disney Golden Age, and the nostalgia is real.
Disney+ is honestly just as convenient and cool as they make it out to be. Every movie and show you grew up with is right there. My sister and I have been binge-watching Recess lately. I’m deeply (you could say, obsessively) attached to Disney, and this streaming service is how I’m going to share the stuff I grew up watching with my own kids.
Whether you want to buy your friend a month or a year’s worth, you could be giving them access to a lot of fond memories.
- Chocolates and/or Wine
Sometimes the simplest pleasures in life are the best. I can think of nothing more classic than chocolate. And nothing beats an occasional glass of wine.
This doesn’t need to be an expensive selection. It just needs to be nice. Ask your friend if they prefer dark or milk chocolate. Find out if they like a white or red, sweet or dry. If you buy to their taste, you can’t lose.
And they’ll think of you as they unwind and enjoy.
- A Cute Mug and Tea/Coffee Subscription Along with it
This one’s a little more specific. Obviously, your friend would need to be a coffee or tea drinker to really appreciate it. But most people are one or the other, so there’s at least a decent chance this will apply.
First off, don’t just grab a random mug. It’s the same as with the scarf. It needs to suit the person you’re buying for. Don’t get them a goofy one if that’s not their thing. You need to be able to picture them actually using it.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.
- A Cozy Blanket
I recommend a felt or knit blanket, perhaps in a neutral color.
If you know how, it’s extra sweet if you knit or crochet the blanket yourself. That just takes a little more planning ahead. I’ve done it a few times, and I admit, I’m kind of bad about not finishing by Christmas, but it’s always been a big hit either way.
Pro-tip: Try to avoid blankets with tassels. They just get tangled up over time.
- A Compact Mirror
This is a useful thing to have no matter who you are. And they come in basically any shape or form you please. You can get them monogrammed, you can get them designer. Any color or pattern. It doesn’t matter what kind of style your friend has. It doesn’t matter if you special order it, or happen upon it in a random pharmacy. The options are limitless, but the convenience and functionality are forever the same.
I got mine ages ago (at Hobby Lobby, I think), and I still smile every time I pull it out.
- A Gift Card (or Cash Money)
This might seem like the least thoughtful of them all, but believe me, everyone needs money.
If you decide on a gift card, take care to choose a theme they’ll get the most use out of. Do they love a certain restaurant, or have a favorite place to go shopping? Treating them to something they enjoy will mean a lot. You can imagine how happy it makes me when someone gets me a gift card to my favorite coffee shop.
The only downside to a gift card is that it limits where you can spend the money on it. I know several people who greatly prefer just straight money, no strings attached. You could be buying them groceries, or a self-care item you didn’t know they needed. If you still wanted to give the money in card form, you can! There are Visa and MasterCard “gift cards” that are good anywhere.
It’s true that when I was a kid, this wouldn’t have excited me much as a Christmas present. But we’re adults now, and like I said, everyone needs money.
Now that I’m grown, I have a much better understanding of why “holiday stress” is such a prominent thing. Even in the best of circumstances, there can be an unpleasant amount of pressure, expectations, or uncertainty.
Well I say, enough.
You know as well as I do that we don’t need more anxiety in our lives, especially you millennials out there. This is a season of giving and receiving, of good relations and good cheer. It’s supposed to be anyway. So, with all my heart, I hope I’ve helped to lessen some undue stress.
And have a beautiful week.