Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Christmas List

That's right, everyone. It's almost December and you know what that means; It's time to start the shopping day countdown. As it stands at this moment, you have only 27 more shopping days until Christmas. So run! Find those deals! Buy that wrapping paper! Wrestle the last copy of Taylor Swift's CD from that man's hands! Hurry!

Buying gifts for people you don't know well is frankly, really ridiculously hard. To every generic gift, there is a down side. Candle? You're implying they stink. Candy? What if they're on a diet? Bath set? You're implying that they could really use a shower. Teens especially can be hard to buy for. And, admit it, you often strike out with them even if you think you have the greatest gift ever. Sorry, Auntie, but we're just not into Hello Kitty anymore. Parents, Aunts, Uncles, relatives, listen up 'cause I'm gonna give you a few pointers.

Know Your Budget
While they might be craving that expensive pair of jeans or forty dollar perfume, sometimes it's just not a good idea. While it might be fun to spoil them, think about all the other gifts you have to buy. If you've got the money for it, and you're feeling generous, go for it! We'll love even more. But sometimes, the knock off brand for half price, is just as good.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes
This is a very hard category to win in. And I mean hard. First off, if you're gonna get a teen clothes, get the right size. If you're unsure of the size, check the closet, ask someone around the same size what they wear, but do not just take a random guess. If they're still growing, a size larger is just fine, so they'll have some time to grow into and actually wear it for more than just that one week.
Do not just buy something that you think is stylish. While, you may luck out and have your teen actually like it, chances are they'll smiles, say thank you, and then throw it into the depths of their closet until they can give it to good will. This is where knowing your teens friends will come in handy. Ask them if they know what Amber or Felicia has been eyeing for a while. Ask them what they would want. Friends are a great way to gather all sorts of gift information. However, do not use these friends to spy on your teen.
And if you're still not quite sure if she'll really like it, gift receipt. Tell them off the bat that it's ok if they don't like it. They can just take the gift receipt and get something they do like instead.

Sing Me A Song
This is also a tough category. Check to see if any of your teen's favorite artists are coming out with a new CD. Then explicitly instruct them not to download it. Also check to see what your teen has downloaded. If they have three-fourths of a CD already downloaded, don't bother.
If there's no new music your teen is looking for, opt for the accessories. A snazzy pair of headphones, new mp3 player, a new cover or case for their mp3 player. Little things can amount to much.

Eat to Live
Food. Food is good. And it makes an excellent gift. I'm not talking 'bout fruits and vegels here. I'm talking about a bag of their favorite candy. A giant chocolate bar. A box or two of their favorite fruit snacks. Stuff like that. It's Christmas, we're allowed to be a little unhealthy. We promise we won't eat it all at once. Maybe.

Whrr. Buzz. Beep-Beep. Electronics
Electronics can make a person's day. But there's a lot of things to take into consideration. You getting them a camera? Well, think about size of the device, size of the memory card, quality of the brand, ease of use, added features. Laptop? Brand, memory size, number of processors, weight, operating system, added programs. Flash drive? Size of the actual drive, size of the memory, ease of carrying. Television? Size, weight, picture quality, brand quality. Cell Phone? Plan, size, reception, added features, color, cool factor. And to all of this is the added consideration of price and where you can get the best deal.

No, No, Never-Never, Uh-Uh-Uh
There are definitely a lot of bad gifts out there. So, here are some things you just shouldn't dabble into.
Make-up. While it might've once been cute to give us make-up and let us play with it, no more. Now, we wear make up, we don't just play with it. Just, leave us be when it comes to what we put on our faces.
Socks and Underwear. No. Just... just no. I can't think of anything else to say but no.
Action figures. We're teenagers. We're not into Barbie and GI Joe. We're into high tech gadgets and fashion. Sorry. Try again.
The Unheard of Movie. Wow. You think it's great. But I'm sorry, I'm just not into crocodile wrangling, gun shooting, offices executives with explosives. Yeah. I'll say thank you and just toss it in my closet.
The Hand Knit Sweater. I love cats. And trees. And bright colors. But I really don't like itchy wool. Or unfashionable sweaters that are way to small. Just avoid this entirely.

If you're in a pinch, a gift card or just straight up cash is a great gift. We love being able to decide what we'd like to purchase. But if you want an actual gift, use your best judgment, even if that best judgment is to ask one of your teen's friends. Always be sure to get a gift receipt if you're unsure of the gift. Honestly the best thing to do is just ask your teen what they're interested in getting for Christmas and then be very sneaky-like about buying it. And don't hide the gifts in the same place every year. We've known about it since we were five. Only 27 more days! :)


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