If you're that guy who waits until Christmas Eve to do his shopping, no sweat! We've got some great gift ideas for you that won't scream I-just-bought-this-it's-still-cool-to-the-touch-from-the-trunk.
We'll make you a hero.
FOR THE LADIES:
Electronic photo wallet. Less expensive than a digital photo frame (also a great gift, btw) but more substantial than the photo keychain, this is a great gift to replace those bulky, crumpled photo inserts for your wallet. Macy's has one a $30 electronic photo wallet that's the size of a credit card and can hold up to 60 color images. You can also get them at Wal-Mart , Best Buy , J&R Music, PC Richards and other retailers.
Cashmere. If you remember nothing else from this list, remember cashmere. You can go to any department store, any women's clothing store and find soft, luxurious cashmere things that she'll go crazy for, from sweaters to hats, gloves, socks — even pajamas. And, this year in particular, you're going to get great sales on cashmere, given the recession. Cashmere sweaters often go to 50-percent off in the days before Christmas, and 2-for-$100 is a typical deal, but you're going to see even better sales this year.
If you've already got her a big present, why not top it off with cashmere gloves and a scarf? Your only task is to figure out which colors she likes and which colors look good on her. Take a quick peek in her closet on your way out the door. Some good places to shop for cashmere: Macy's, JCPenney and Ann Taylor .
Gifts that make a difference. Getting her a hand-woven fruit bowl from Macy’s that benefits poor artists in Africa is the Christmas equivalent of bringing a dog to the park. She’ll see your softer, sensitive side, probably give you a big, “Awwww,” followed by a smooch! And, unlike the dog, you don’t have to take the bowl out for a walk on icy winter mornings. It’s a win-win!
A Spa Basket. You could buy her a nice big fluffy robe. Or a nice set of bubble baths and lotions. But if you want to really dazzle her with pampering, go to TJMaxx , Marshall’s, Bed Bath & Beyond or Target and get the largest (but most tasteful) basket you can find. Then, fill it with a big, fuzzy robe from one of those stores or Macy’s, plus the slippers, bubble bath, shea-butter lotion, massage oil, hand cream, eye mask, scented candle — the works. Try something from the Body Shop, like body butter and shimmer lotion in Warm Amber or Rich Plum. (Incidentally, their products also have the “Aww” factor, using moisturizing ingredients from the Community Trade fair-trade program.) You could even throw a bottle of champagne in there. Or a coupon to her local salon for a manicure and pedicure. The fact that you went big, and had to make more than one stop, is sure to be a hit.
Quick Tip: Make sure you know the type of scents your lady likes. If she hates vanilla, don’t get her vanilla bean lotion. To be on the safe side, take a quick peek in the shower on your way out the door.
A Gourmet Coffee Basket. If your lady is a coffee lover, why not get her the best of the best? Use the big basket trick you learned with the spa gifts and fill it with a gourmet coffee press she can take to the office, along with a couple of big bags of Starbucks coffee — or, better yet, coffee you hand-picked from Whole Foods — a travel tumbler, a big bag of biscotti, some Godiva truffles, chocolate-covered coffee beans or coffee-coated almonds from Starbucks, some Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream (it reduces swelling) from the Body Shop, a coffee-shop music CD, and a copy of “Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World.”
Ed Hardy Gear. If she’s trendy, go for an Ed Hardy t-shirt, handbag or watch. They’re tattoo-inspired designs, which are really hot right now. And don’t worry: Even though the T-shirt s says “Love Kills,” I’ll bet you it will do anything but! Available at Ed Hardy stores, Nordstrom and some smaller boutiques.
Quick Tip: Try to find ladies-only t-shirts. They’re also called baby-doll T’s. They’re far more flattering, which will make your lady feel sexier. And you know what that means! Has anyone seen my Barry White album?
Diamond Stud Earrings. Whether she’s a trendy lady or not, diamond earrings are sure to be a hit. And, at this late hour, it will be a lot less frustrating than if you were looking for the perfect gold locket or something very specific. A few other options: Dangly diamonds, diamond hoops and a mix of diamond and chocolate diamond earrings. Putting the words diamond and chocolate together, you can’t lose! The only way you could go wrong with these is if she doesn’t have pierced ears. And if you don’t know that, well … seriously? Jewelry chains like Zales and Kay Jewelers are offering some good deals.
Quick Tip: You can also buy jewelry from department stores, but don't be a cheap-o and go for the $50 earrings that are a “special buy” when you purchase something else. They’re usually low-quality diamonds. How can you tell? Well, I don’t have time to teach you the four C’s – you probably wouldn’t remember them anyway – but just get ones that shine bright and look clear, not gray. Believe me, you can tell.
A Jewelry-Organization System. If you’re really goosey on the jewelry, here’s a safe bet: A nice, expensive jewelry box or organization system. (Try department stores, Bed, Bath & Beyond or the Container Store.) Here’s a nice one from Crate and Barrel . You know she’s seen those home-organization shows, but just doesn’t have the time to do it for herself. Plus, most girls would rather spend the money on the jewelry than the organization. So, you’ll do it for her. Also has a dog-in-the-park feel to it. Honestly. You are soooo sweet!
Swarovski Snowflake Ornament. A nice luxurious topper to any gift for your lady. Swarovski issues a new one every year (so, you could be setting yourself up for years to come — as well. Imagine a whole tree of crystal snowflakes!) There are a million cuts, so it shines brilliantly to give that dash of holiday magic. And, if she likes to wear big, chunky necklaces, you could also get her a long, thick silver or gold chain so she can wear it as a necklace, or just put it on the tree. They’re so beautiful, she just might keep it out all year long! Available at Macy's.
A few final words of advice: Kitchenaid mixers are super popular and if your lady is a baker, she’d love this, BUT — not for the holidays. Buying kitchen appliances as a birthday or holiday gift for your lady is so 1950. Just don’t do it. Seriously. Don’t.
Also, no lingerie, please. We love it, but really, is it a gift for us or a gift for you? If you really want to make her smile – and get what you want in the process – wrap up a lacy nightgown under the tree, but put it TO yourself as well as FROM yourself. That’s right. Call yourself on it before she can call you on it. Oh snap!
And don't forget: Peek in her closet. Peek in the shower before you leave the house.
If you’re lady is really picky, check out Shop.com’s eGIFTS service . Here’s how it works: You send a set of gift choices to your lady. She chooses which one she wants from the list and voila!
If you’re panicking, don’t worry. Help is available! You can contact Giftgirl.com 24-7 through the holidays to get advice. You tell them about your lady and they'll give you advice on what to get her.
FOR THE MEN:
A GPS Device. Here’s one way to avoid that men-don’t-stop-for-directions pitfall: Get him a GPS device like a Garmin, TomTom or Magellan. He can mount it to the dashboard, or, if he’s an outdoorsman, carry it with him on hikes or hunts. Plus, there’s that whole distract-a-baby-with-a-mobile factor: It’ll keep him occupied for hours, plotting directions to places he may or may not go! The best part is, these are widely available at electronics stores like Best Buy, department stores — even Wal-Mart.
Massage Cushion. A full-on massage chair is a bit of a commitment décor-wise, not to mention wallet-wise. This is a great way to give him a massage anywhere in the house — while you’re off doing something else! You can get them at department stores, Bed, Bath & Beyond — all over, really. It’s worth it for the heated seat and lumbar alone.
This may just be the best 100 bucks you ever spend!
Sports Tickets. With college bowl season underway and the NFL playoffs coming up, why not get your sports fan tickets to see one of his favorite teams? Stop by StubHub.com , a ticket marketplace, and you can get tickets to the Orange Bowl or Cleveland Cavaliers for as low as $5! It’s the Web, so you can even buy them at 4 a.m. Christmas morning.
If you can't decide which sport to pick, here’s a helpful hint: The best deals are in the NBA, with tickets starting at $1 — for top teams! Tickets to the Orange Bowl, which starts on Jan. 1, start at $8. NFL playoff tickets are as low as $50.
StubHub doesn’t sell the tickets directly, but they do guarantee them. So, no worries about shady online scalpers preying on unsuspecting wives.
Here’s how it works: Order the tickets online. Then pick them up at the game or have them emailed to you.
One great way to present them: Pick up a sweatshirt for his favorite team. Roll it, tie it off with a bow and attach a festive holiday envelope containing the tickets. If you really want to be the best wife ever, tell him to take one of his friends — because he deserves a guy’s night out!
Flip Video Mino. These are super sleek, easy-to-use, pocket-sized camcorders. It’s not for the serious filmmaker, but maybe the guy who likes to make YouTube videos or film family gatherings. It can record up to 60 minutes of video with a 2x digital zoom. You can choose from a variety of “skins,” — including your own photos — for added personalization and style.
And, you’ve set yourself up for the coolest birthday gift ever: The underwater case for your flip camcorder. He can take it snorkeling on your next trip to Hawaii, or just play with it in the tub!
Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock. Normally liquor isn’t the kind of thing you give your man as a gift but Chocolate Bock is one of those things he’ll go wild for, and thank you for being the one woman who understands him! It’s a beer mixed with fine “noble grade” Swiss chocolate made from rare, wild cocoa beans from the Bolivian rain forest. It’s got a rich, malty taste with a velvety finish that makes Guinness look like vitamin water. Perfect to warm up with your love on a cold winter’s night. And, at $14.99 a bottle, it’s a perfect fit for his Christmas stocking.
Hangtimer iPhone App. If your guy is a ski freak or mountain biker and has an iPhone, stuff his stocking with this app and he’ll love you forever. The hangtimer “uses the iPhone’s accelerometer and some hairy math” to measure your air time on jumps! It also works on rollercoasters. And, as if it hasn’t dazzled you enough, it will use its little GPS brain to track what resort you’re at and automatically download snow reports, lift status and trail maps. It can also plot your jumps on a map and keeps track of your 10 best jumps. Sweet!
If he doesn’t already have an iPhone, maybe you should get him one plus the Hangtimer App. If that’s a little too pricey, Hangtimer makes a stand-alone gadget that does all this. Check out www.hangtimer.com/iphone/ and www.hangtimer.com .
Oh, and just to completely blow his mind: The accelerometer uses the same technology as NASA does in its spacecraft. Oh yeah, that’s right. It is rocket science!
EyeClops NightVision Goggles. When I was writing about these goggles as a toy pick a week or so ago, several men in the office went — “Oh, wow, cool!" and one even went so far as to say, "I woulda sold my best friend for a pair of those when I was a kid!” Instead of hearing him rant that he wishes they had stuff like that when he was a kid, get him the goggles and let him be a kid again. Turn out the lights and let him run around for a little bit. ($60 at Toys R Us.)
MiJam Pro Air Drummer. Fulfill his wanna-be-a-rockstar fantasy with these wireless drumsticks — without sacrificing your precious hearing and concentration. He’ll just plug in the headphones and no one will hear him rockin’ out like Keith Moon. Well, in his head, anyway! ($40 at Toys R Us.)
Parting Tips: Do a little digging online before you hit the mall. That will get your creative juices flowing and help give you some targets, instead of just wandering around the mall aimlessly, bumping into the 6 million other people there and punting and buying a crappy gift. You're better than that. Second, take a spin around the house before you leave — check the shower, the closet, the vanity — just to remind yourself of your partner's style, color preferences, fragrance preferences, etc. Nothing lands you in the doghouse faster than a gift that says I have no idea who you are.
Now go get 'em, tiger.
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