Listen, buying a million different people gifts every year isn't easy, so we're open to help. But all those countless gift guides that rain down on us each December? Yeah, forget every single thing those guides have told you.
You don't need to buy your great-aunt another chenille throw to make sure she still knows who you are. You don't need to buy your brother a tie with matching socks, because what the hell are boys into. You really don't need to buy anyone a candle. What you need to do is buy gifts that don't suck and are affordable (we're looking at you, Goop holiday gift guide) — and buy them for the people in your life who really matter.
That's where we come in. First, consider who in your life should really get a gift. Next, think about what this person really deserves. Get weird. Get personal. Consider how to show your deep appreciation for the deli guy who saves your life every Saturday morning with that heroic egg-and-cheese bagel.
You've only got a few days left in December — it's time to get real about who really deserves your gifts this year.
What to buy your beloved Seamless guy who is always early:
You see this guy every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...OK, we'll stop there. You know how important this person is to your weekly routine. Just a few clicks away, he is always there, right on time, to deliver you your chicken lo mein or your beef and broccoli. You exchange pleasantries, you say your goodbyes — it's the perfect relationship, totally drama-free. That — and the fact that you make him trek 20 blocks to your sixth-floor walkup apartment — is why he deserves some true pampering.
So get him some Dr. Scholl's foot cushions and a goddamn beautiful card that says either, "Thank you, you beautiful angel" or, "I'm sorry for being so gross and incapable of cooking." From then on, expect an extra fortune cookie in your delivery bag.
What to buy your best friend, who you owe approximately 34 drinks to anyway:
Alcohol! Is there any other option?
Go to a Bed Bath and Beyond and get one of those cocktail sets, so your BFF can look extra fancy when she nonsensically dumps too many shots into your rum and coke. Oh, and we also recommend going to the liquor store to pick up some bottles to go with that set — vodka, whiskey, whatever.
And considering you will likely also be taking part in this holiday merriment, that probably means you will both cry at some point. Buy her tissues while you're at it too.
What to buy that girl you stalk on Instagram with the picture-perfect life:
Wow, this is a hard one. What do you get the woman who inspired you to wear 15 bracelets at once? The woman who convinced you that buying orange lipstick would make you look more youthful? The woman whose brunch is always perfectly on-point, who never has a strand of hair out of place and whose apartment is the picture of domestic bliss?
The answer: A dose of fucking reality. What that means in this day and age is either a pair of UGG boots (we all have them, stop lying to yourself), a pair of sweatpants (ditto) or a Chipotle gift card — because you know that all those beautiful bowls of artisanal salad and brussell sprouts she constantly posts pictures of just aren't realistic. DM her over Insta and send that $25 worth of burrito bowls her way. Even if she never Instas them, trust: She is eternally grateful.
What to buy your mom's new boyfriend she just met on OkCupid:
This is among the most uncomfortable people to shop for because, um, who is this guy? But here's the thing: He will never complain about the gift you got him to your mom, so you're a free agent here.
Which means this is your one chance to resort to the classics and not even feel bad about it: the inoffensive tie, the shaving kit, the cashmere-blend sweater so he thinks you're not as broke as you actually are, or maybe a grilling kit that he will never, ever use. But we recommend going nuts at Brookstone, making your siblings chip in and getting him a drone. It's fun, it's youthful — and it will completely test his and your mother's relationship.
What to buy that one mailman who always gets your Amazon Prime order to you in the nick of time:
A godsend is what this person is. They've delivered that one pack of underwear you ordered in a panic rather than doing your laundry. They've delivered sheets to you when you accidentally spilled your Chipotle burrito bowl all over your bed. They've been there for you when you've needed them most, and fast.
Since that's the case, consider how to make their life better for a change. We recommend a great pair of wireless Sony headphones so they can jam out to Beyoncé next time they're leaving you that mystery box on your doorstep (they're not cheap, so split the cost with your roommates). Next, think about getting them some snacks for on-the-go and admit that you've been ogling this literal bouquet of old-school junk food — which can be bought on Amazon, obviously.
What to buy your workplace BFF, who listens to you complain about your boss 24/7:
Think about what you would get your therapist, and get your work friend precisely that. Much more pleasing than scouring shelves for something to give your boss, giving a gift to your work BFF is also necessary. She's listened to you bitch and moan about being overworked and underpaid for years now. Clearly, you're in this together. So give her a DVD of the greatest movie of all time, 9 to 5 (which is also available on Amazon Prime).
Oh, and also some de-stressing shit from Bath and Body Works. In case you haven't been recently, the mall chain has "stress-relieving" body scrub, massage oil, body mist and even pillow mist. Give her all of it (or, y'know, just the lotion). She deserves it.
What to buy the woman in the neighborhood who lets you pet her dog:
Between the Seamless guy and this woman, it's pretty clear that your social circle is in the correct, adult order. This dog-owner in particular gives you so much joy, and she probably has no idea. You stared at her dog for days before she broke the ice by offering up, "Do you want to pet my dog?" Then you had to act like it wasn't the greatest moment in your whole damn life.
Thus, the gift you give her has to be equal parts sensible and not-incredibly-creepy. That being said, get her a kickass dog picture frame with a saying that borderline makes you cry, like this "Cool nose, warm heart" frame. Oh, and maybe a gift bag of dog treats — Beggin' Strips for days, y'all.
What to buy the guy at the deli who saves you every Saturday morning with an egg-and-cheese bagel:
Think of the most romantic, loving gift you could give to someone. Think of what you would get your sweetheart on the most romantic day of the year. That's right, this angel deserves some good ol' fashioned flowers and chocolate, which you can buy at your local Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade, or wherever both chocolate and flowers are sold.
It is he who looks at your tired eyes on Saturday at 11 a.m. and thinks: "This beautiful person, and I am the only one who can cure her." And you know what? He always does.
Your local flower- and chocolate-selling outpost, prices vary