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 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?




Gift Ideas and Stocking Stuffers for the Vegan

Thanksgivingukkah and Christmas are just around the corner. Are you ready? My guess is you're not. Why? Because you're reading this blog post. Don't fret - there's still time! There are plenty of great gift ideas perfect for the Vegans in your life. Here is my hand-picked selection:

Monkey vegetable peeler is a perfect gift for your favorite vegan.

The Monkey Vegetable Peeler from Boston Warehouse is the perfect stocking stuffer! If you need to make the gift a little bigger add a bunch of organic rainbow carrots or some purple potatoes from your local whole foods market. The vegetables and the fun peeler will make your vegan very, very happy!



Vegans love to peel and eat vegetables but they still secretly crave chocolate just like everyone else. Fran Costigan's new book, Vegan Chocolate, is on everyone's list this year. Even if they're really skinny and they won't admit to craving chocolate. THEY DO. LOOK at that freaking inch of chocolate icing on the cake. Can you not feel your teeth vibrating from the sugar as you mentally sink your face into the...mmmmmmm [snaps back to reality...] Anyway, this book would make a great gift. And your vegan probably doesn't have it yet.


Veggie temporary tattoos are great stocking stuffers for vegans.

A set of temporary veggie tattoos is the perfect stocking stuffer! Flat and easy to mail, you could also insert them in a holiday card or with a gift card for that little something extra. Super fun - and just $5.


Mini mood sprays are certified vegan and portable for bad smells and unhappy people.


Mini mood spray packs are under $10 and the perfect, gift-able size. Certified vegan, these hand-blended aromatherapy sprays relieve everyday tensions and make a room smell great without adding any harmful chemicals. Plus? NO ONE has them. It's a unique, inexpensive gift that everyone will have fun with. 

The Cuisinart Rice Cooker/Steamer gets more action in our kitchen than any other device. Well, except the Vitamix. We use it for oatmeal almost every morning! We cook grains (rice, quinoa, bulgur, and so much more) in the bottom and steam vegetables on the top. Get the big one - the 8 cup size. Extra steamed vegetables and grains can be tossed with greens to make quick, easy meals for your favorite vegan.



If you're rich then buy your Vegan a Vitamix. QVC has good prices and lots of special extras as well as an Easy Pay plan just in case you're not rich. Like, if you got a Master's in Anthropology instead of going to Medical School like your super smart sister. And also got divorced a bunch of times. ANYWAY...this is the kind of gift you'd buy a vegan when you want to score major points or you need to make up for all the sh**ty things you said last year at Thanksgiving. Whatever the details, this will work.


A TofuXpress tofu press is one of those things every vegan wants, but technically doesn't really need (because you can, technically, press tofu between two dinner plates.) So, even though you, the vegan, press your tofu between two dinner plates, you kind of hate it and wish you had an excuse to buy a TofuXpress. But you never do because don't really like tofu THAT much so it doesn't seem worth it for an item you'd use just once in awhile. Type of thing. That's what makes it such a great gift for your favorite vegan. They want one, but they'll never drop the $40.

Shopping is one of my hidden talents. I'm putting together a series of gift guides for the important people in your life. Check out yesterday's gift guide for the Crazy Cat Lady and stop in tomorrow for the next installment!


Holiday Gift Ideas for the Crazy Cat Lady.

I'm a crazy cat lady and -- though I'm not ashamed -- I draw the line at wearing the clothes. As in, "You're never gonna see me in one of those cat print sweatshirts..." But that was before I saw this Pusheen t-shirt at ModCloth. I can't imagine a t-shirt that could possibly be more ME. A cat drinking a cup of coffee and penning a letter? I need this shirt. Oops - I mean, this would be a great gift for the crazy cat lady in YOUR life.


Pusheen the cat writing a letter and drinking coffee.


Another great gift for cat lovers is a Sonicare toothbrush. Anyone who *really* loves their cat spends an enormous amount of time sitting on the couch drinking coffee and tea in order to feed the spirit of pet togetherness. A sonic toothbrush keeps the coffee drinker's smile nice and white - and is well worth the investment for what you'll save in dental care. You can get a good deal on a Sonic toothbrush at Costco and many other stores.


Probably the most difficult thing for the crazy cat lady to cope with is the social shame of the multiple litter box smell. Ladies, all the Mood Sprays contain pure essential oils that will clean the air without harmful chemicals. Apathy will be the strongest and most effective option for the multi-cat owner. If your cat is particularly standoffish - you might try a bottle of The Antidote for Ego. The organic French lavender in Ego will calm the kitty crazies and give the uppity cat something to think about before rejecting your loving advances. Anyone who travels with a pet will enjoy a set of TSA friendly mini mood sprays, especially helpful when your pet poops or pukes in the car carrier or on the airplane.

Anti Bad Mood aromatherapy essential oil sprays deodarize cat litter boxes

If you're still struggling to find a thoughtful way to organize all the cat costumes you purchased at Halloween, consider investing a few dollars in this handy book by Lissanne Oliver. If you follow this blog you know I've been using Oliver's book Sorted! and have found it very helpful. She lives in Australia but the book is still affordable and ships fast enough to please the gift-giving families of any US-based hoarder. I recommend it for anyone who has a pile of stuff and no idea what to do with it.


Lissanne Oliver helps you figure out how to organize your hoard.


Most toys are a complete waste of money. The Cat Dancer, on the other hand, is the best $2 you'll ever spend. It doesn't look like much but your crazy cat lady's cat will love The Cat Dancer toy to the point of obsession. It's a simple twist of cardboard on the ends of a stiff wire that, when unrolled and moved through the air, looks like a flying insect.

Cat Dancer toy is great fun and exercise for your kitty.

What crazy cat lady wouldn't be touched by a set of custom postage stamps with pictures of her kitties? Choose her favorite Facebook shares and make some custom postage at or Zazzle. Now she'll have the chance to share her love with the WHOLE WORLD.

Photo stamps are a great gift for a crazy cat lady.Pet Food Nation changed the way I think about the cat and dog food industry. Some of the things that Joan Weiskopf writes about are difficult to hear but so important for understanding the challenge of pet nutrition in a competitive marketplace. I make several of the natural pet food recipes in this book for my pets (though five years ago I would have said that was CRAZY) and I've seen fewer hairballs and more satisfied bellies and it's alot cheaper. I know what you're thinking...and I thought the same thing...but cooking for your pets isn't actually all that hard once you get in the groove.


 A FURminator grooming tool thins your pet's undercoat and reduces the hairball "problem" around the house. Specifically, the throwing up on your pillow problem. It's a little more expensive than your average brush, but it really works. My cats don't enjoy it as much a regular brush but will tolerate it in short spurts, which is all you really need if you FURminate regularly.



I can personally vouch for everything on this Crazy Cat Lady Gift Guide - I'm not ashamed to out myself on the Internet or anywhere else. I love my pets! Any of these items will be a great gift for the pet lovers in your life. Are you a crazy cat person? What are some items you can't live without?

Check out my Instagram feed for up-to-the-minute posts about what my cats are doing RIGHT NOW.


I never have been a very good Secret Santa.



Post Tags

On Twitter

Follow @heidirettig