Gifts for People Who Are Hard to Buy For

There's always ONE. You've pretty well got your gift list buttoned down except for that *one* person who either has EVERYTHING or is incredibly hard to please. Here are a few gift ideas for people who are hard to buy for:
A set of four aromatherapy Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays would be a good gift (not just because I sell them) because they are something no one else has. These are fresh, clean, scents that will appeal to most people and the copy on the labels is really, really funny. The recipient can always stow them in the office restroom or guest bedroom or even...[sucks breath in]...split them up and re-gift them. You'd want to buy all four for a person you don't know very well - because you want it to be received as a joyous, funny gift, versus a direct message about their personal behavior. Put one of each in your shopping cart then use the coupon code ALL FOUR in the checkout area and you'll get $25 off a set of four. Great value. If you know someone well enough to choose a specific bottle - that works too.
Gift cards are great for poor people.
Gift cards are terrific presents - but only give them to poor people who will spend it (not hoard it) or rich folks that are the frugal kind of rich*.  Choose a major retailer like Amazon; iTunes; Starbucks, or Target that sells a diverse group of products in every price range. You want to give a person lots of fun items to choose from vs. forcing them to spend their own money to make up the difference on something they'd actually want.

 

A set of 3 premium car washes or even a voucher for a detailing service is something every car owner -- rich or poor -- will appreciate. EZPass, Metro, bus, and gas cards are also great gifts.

A few years ago, my friend Sue gave me this Edible Arrangements package on my birthday. Not because I'm hard to buy for -- I don't think -- but because she's AWESOME. It was my first experience with the company and I was really impressed - the fruit and the chocolate were both very high quality. It is entirely possible, by the way, to suck all the chocolate off the fruit without eating it. Not that I tried that. <-----shifty eyes----->  Some of the well-known brands are actually kind of...stale or yuck. If you're going to send food gift, stick with companies that you have tried and enjoyed.
The secret to every great party is repetition and or excess. You can use those concepts in holiday gift giving as well.
The secret to every great party is repetition and excess. Do one thing -- even a small thing -- over and over and over again and choose one element and do it to EXCESS. You can use these concepts in gift giving as well. A handmade Advent calendar is a great idea - and there are bajillions of ideas on Pinterest to spark  your imagination. It doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. The gift is in providing someone with a small, daily surprise. What about Eight Crazy Nights of Technical Running Socks? Use repetition to make a simple thing more powerful and fun. You might send twelve different coffee roasts, or hand-selected artisan vegetable boxes - but whatever you decide? Hand-pick it yourself. Subscription services are expensive and what's inside is often pretty lackluster. I once spent a bunch of money on a year of "emerging wines" subscription and I think the recipient pretty much hated everything in there.
Throw your concerns about your favorite person's dietary needs aside (except I would tell you to skip anything with nuts) and send a batch of beautifully wrapped homemade cookies, cordials, fudge, jams, whatever. Consider making an old family recipe for a relative. One year I made my Uncle a couple of loaves of my grandmother/his mother's homemade bread. A batch of homemade Chex Mix will go over really will with folks in Minnesota.  Martha has lovely pre-made cookie boxes and gift wrapping ideas to help you up your game. Even if they don't like it or can't eat it, there will always be someone they can share it with and everyone will be amazed by your handiwork.
*My experience has been that giving gift cards to people who can buy themselves whatever they want aren't the best choice. Someone once told me that the $100 gift card I gave her wasn't "enough to buy anything" at the store I chose. (Yes, the person really said that.) Other times I know the gift card has just been thrown on a pile; unused. Don't try to compete or spend at the same level as the other person. Don't buy wine for a wine snob or cheese for a cheese snob. Consider what they don't have - gifts that take time and care to make - or use repetition (see above) to make turn a simple gift into something of luxurious excess.
Do you have someone in your family that is hard to buy for? What gifts have gone over well? What gifts have met with a confused silence? What suggestions do you have for the person who "has everything?"

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Holiday Gift Guide: The Office Edition and/or Gift Ideas for Procrastinators

During my cubicle years, most everyone would have said I was a social person. Back in my youth? If I forgot a colleague's birthday, it was definitely on purpose. (Now, I'm pressed to keep track of my own birthday.)  And yet...in my youth...I had absolutely zero desire to organize any kind of secret gift event for the office. Perhaps this was a sign of the shifting sands yet to come?

I don't really know. I remember signing up to participate, of course, and, of course, being super excited by all the amaaaaaaazing creative gift ideas I was going to pull off in my free time. You know. When I got home at 9 p.m. from my two-hour commute. Or 10 p.m. After I finished my evening classes. You know how this story is going to end, right?

It's going to end with an admission about how none of that ever happened and the night before the gift was due to be cubicle-delivered I just went to the People's Drug in Bethesda to shop the AS SEEN ON TV section; trying not to bump into a whole bunch of other people from the office doing exactly the same thing. Which is why I want to start this Office Edition Gift Guide off with:

 

The Clapper is the perfect gift for a colleague.

 

The Clapper. Seriously. Why? Because everyone secretly kinda wants one but is simply too ashamed to self-purchase. Do your colleague this favor and snap one up today. Don't go to People's Drug of Bethesda, though. Because they knocked it down and built a huge tower in its place.

 

 

If you don't like your colleague enough to spend $22.95 on a Clapper, then go with a more affordably-priced option: The Chia Pet. My personal fave has always been the Chia Barack Obama, and I think it goes without saying that Barry could use a little support right now. I mean, sure, this health care thing is a complete and total mess - but he's trying, you know? And anyone trying to do anything new with our government deserves a pat on the back just for that alone.

Which leads me to one of the newest products in the Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays' store - the "At least you're still TRYING" award ribbon. Just $4 and it's going to pin up nicely on the cubicle walls of any investment trading floor or hidden in the back office at Lululemon next to a picture of a kinda fat girl. It would also be a super add-on to a bottle of Passive or Aggressive aromatherapy mood spray.

 

This ribbon is perfect for passive-aggressive coworkers.

 

If the ribbon doesn't go over, you might try the "Sorry I am Such An Asshole" balloons. Also cheap, but funny! And really pretty perfect for work colleagues for so many reasons, at so many times of the year. Any balloon-selling florist or supermarket will be able to fill these with helium for you for less than a buck.

 

Sorry I am Such an Asshole Balloons for home or office.

It goes without saying that every office needs a set of aromatherapy Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays. Just for the SHARED RESTROOM alone. Or people microwaving fish. When I think back to my cubicle days I think, first, of the smells. Natural citrus, people. That's what it's all about. Start with the travel size mini mood sprays - under $10 and portable enough to slip into a pocket before you head into the stalls. Every office has That Guy. Mood Sprays smell good and help improve your mood - but they are also formulated to de-stink office kitchens; restrooms; and everywhere else.

 

Aromatherapy mood sprays in travel sizes.

 

Now, if you *like* your coworkers...consider giving them the gift of Reddit Gold.

 

If you don't know about reddit, then just keep scrolling to the next thing.

 

Another great gift for office colleagues is a Fridge Locker. As far as I can tell, 90 percent of submissions to PassiveAggressiveNotes[dot]com are sent by people who have had their lunch stolen from the office refrigerator.

 

Finally, a useful - but somewhat spendier gift - would be a white noise machine. A personal fave is this one from Hammacher Schlemmer. Just a glorified fan in a box, but it does help the creative mind who just needs quiet to f***ing concentrate and write.

 

So that's it! My 2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Office Edition. How about you? Do you give gifts at the office during the holidays? What did you give last year? What was the best item you've ever received?

 

 

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I never have been a very good Secret Santa.

 

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Anti-bad-mood sprays™ Are a Return Hit for Holiday Gifts and Office Secret Santa

 Dwight Schrute prepares for the holidays. 

It’s that time again. Ugh. Your mother will, once again, yell across the Thanksgiving dinner table, "When are you two going to stop using birth control, already?!"

If you don't come up with exactly the right gift for Raul in accounting he'll see that you never get your expense checks back in time to pay the credit card bills.

A big hit last season, anti-bad-mood sprays™ are the perfect fit for this year's holiday gifts.

Aromatherapy mood sprays are an inexpensive, creative gift for office, family, friends

The Antidote for Ego™, Apathy™, Passive™ and Aggressive™ are custom blended sprays that battle common bad moods. Priced under $20 each, with eco-luxe packaging, they are perfect for everyone – the hostess, the office gift exchange, your family, your mailman.

“There really isn’t anyone who doesn’t need at least one anti-bad-mood spray™,” says Heidi Rettig, CEO of HR Products. “Everyone can use a bottle in a shared restroom to tamp down, um … smells. Stock up before the dysfunctional family members arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no shame in buying in bulk.”

The products are certified vegan and their essential oils are organically sourced, whenever possible. Apathy™ is the most popular product on the website. The scent of fresh peeled grapefruit, with a hint of green, naturally freshens the air and enhances memory and concentration.

“I ship more bottles of anti-Passive™ to New York City than anywhere else in our great nation,” Rettig says. “Something I wouldn’t have predicted based on my experience of the way New Yorkers behave in the taxi line outside Grand Central Station.”


Taxi Line at Grand Central Station, New York City.

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