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 Post subject: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:09 am 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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Location: St. Louis
please help me I only have 4 people to buy for (I make gifts for my friends, those are easy)
BUT I CAN'T FIGURE ANY OF MY FAMILY GIFTS OUT (aside from my mom).
the problem is that I only see them once or twice a year and this has been the case for ~12 years so?

here they are:

- stepmother
Likes: tennis?, control.
Dislikes: other people's taste in things.
problem: I NEVER have been truly successful in getting gifts for her. She hates my taste in scents, doesn't like to use products (like lotions and stuff) that other people pick out, is very picky about most things. She doesn't wear jewelry, doesn't wear scarves or accessories. Her wardrobe is: track pants and t-shirts several sizes too large for her.
In the past 10 years I have gotten her 2 things she's used/liked: 1.) tennis racket keychain. 2.) wizard of oz lunchbox(which she displayed on a shelf).

-Dad
likes: ???????? tech things that he buys himself, puns, ????.
dislikes: things that he doesn't already know about, my lifestyle.
problem: I have very few dollars and he bought an apple watch on a whim.

-Sister
actually I have her covered, no worries.

-Brother
10 years old
likes: minecraft, yelling.
dislikes: anything that requires focus (adhd, not really a dislike, but an important part of gift giving), reading, silence.
problem: already owns all minecraft related items??? last year I got him some comic books and a $20 gamestop giftcard which felt impersonal and I don't think he was very in to it. giftcards are hard with them because they get like, $100+ in "spendable money" for every holiday/birthday from their parents. I grew up with my mom under the poverty level and don't know what kids with money of their own want??



SUGGESTIONS???

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:22 am 
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Hearts James Cromwell
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Obviously I don't know any of these people, but these ideas popped into my head:

Stepmother: gift card to a chain restaurant she likes (Olive Garden, Red Robin, etc.). Does she cook? If she even occasionally cooks, the Pioneer Woman cookbooks seem to be nice for omnis -- pretty simple recipes, grocery store ingredients, and all of the steps are photographed. Or a different cookbook if she has other culinary interests? What about a small gift basket with foods that she likes (sweets? crackers and jarred tapenade? local beer? fancy salts? loose-leaf tea?)

10-year old brother: You said he as everything Minecraft and hates reading, but it might be worth checking to see if he has the Minecraft handbooks put out by Mojang (makers of Minecraft). Here's the link to a collection of several of the books: http://amzn.com/0545685192 You can also get them individually. They're small but have a lot of tips for kids who love the game -- they're easy to pick up and put down and aren't like reading a novel. In my experience with that age group, asking them what they want might get you some really specific ideas. You might also see if he is into the Skylanders or Disney Infinity or Lego Dimensions video games. Those have little characters that you buy at the store then use in the video game. If he has and plays those games, he can probably tell you a character or two that he'd like. If in doubt, maybe a Nerf gun or a box full of candy?

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:33 am 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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Location: SF Bay area
Food is what we do for our families. Trader Joes has lots of holiday items right now like fancy olive oils, sweets, sauces, olives. You can also make yummy gift baskets at World Market.

For my parents this year we are getting them a gift card to a nice restaurant (not vegan) for a nice date night. In the past I've gotten them a couples massage (that they never used, ugh) and a gift card to a hotel chain to prompt them to take a trip. Last year I got them a few nights' worth of dinners through Blue Apron. They're not good cooks and they liked the fun of receiving fancy foods and cooking together.

For my SIL (in her teens when my husband and I were first together and now early 20s) who is insanely spoiled by her father and doesn't need money (like you, my husband grew up below the poverty line and can't relate to his sister's access to lots of cash) we usually give her a gift card to the movies or a restaurant. I've also given my friend's teenaged son Amazon gift cards.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:19 am 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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thank you! I will look in to those minecraft books, i don't think he has them!! but yes nerf gun and candy is a great backup.

re: food. unfortunately none of them really like/care about food? my dad bakes occasionally, my stepmother didn't know that if you put a lid on boiling water it boils faster, or how to cook rice that wasn't minute rice until maybe this year? she's on an insane restrictive diet and is a crazy picky eater so all the food things i would normally think of as great gifts are totally out.
as a family they eat takeout or like, sad bland middle-american goyishe food. the kids mostly eat like... processed snacks? my kid sister is in to fruit and my kid brother is in to fruit loops.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:57 am 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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Ohhhh noooo! Ok there go all my ideas!! Sorry boober!

Do they live in a largish city? What about family tickets to a show or something?

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:35 am 
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If your stepmother liked her tennis key chain maybe she would like more tennis tchotchkes? A tennis mug perhaps?

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:18 pm 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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okay, update: those books are perfect for my brother so he's done! thank you!

I forgot to mention: I tried tennis tchotchkes for like 4 years and I think she got sick of them. I just found a nice tennis racket print so maybe that'd work if I framed it?

still exactly 0 ideas re: my dad




you guys are the best! these have been insanely helpful so far!

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:48 pm 
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Semen Strong
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Is there a reason why you don't want to make a gift for your Dad and Stepmom? You're a super talented artist, and I can't imagine a parent wanting any more than to have a beautiful work of art to display that reminds me of my talented daughter!

I do get the hard to please bit and especially when it's tied in with control issues. My MIL, my mom, my exes mom were all like that - they loved spending money and giving great gifts and we're always dismissive of whatever we got them. I think it's a way to keep you working for approval so they know they matter to you. And it's especially hard when they have enough money to buy themselves anything they really want, and you don't. I tried for years to get a personal, wonderful gift for them but never really found anything, no matter how I tried. So now we just give a gift certificate to a place MIL buy her collectibles. She is never happy but at least we haven't spent a ton of effort either. It definitely makes me want to be happier with the gifts my kid gives me and never leave her feeling shitty and disappointed by my reaction. I definitely fall into it easily (esp with my husband) so thank you for sharing your story, I got a lot out of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:01 pm 
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Many years ago (like 20), my family ended up saying screw it and only buying presents for children for Christmas but I stopped buying presents for my cousins, even young ones, quite a few years ago. They already get tons of gifts. I mean honestly, if it were me, I'd make them something simple, even just a card and be done with it. I don't buy my parents presents, I don't buy my husband a present. Maybe some people would consider that scroogy but I think spending time with them is the most important aspect.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:18 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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How much are bands for Apple watches? Maybe you could pick up a spare for your dad? If he likes downloading music, etc. You could get him an iTunes gift card to go along with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:22 pm 
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Any way you can bring up not doing gifts anymore? If you're all adults and are hard to buy for, they might be totally okay with just doing away with it altogether.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:09 pm 
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Remembers When Veganism Was Cool
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There are loads of really neat minecraft stuff. The minecraft guide books are cheap little gifts that might work well there are 3 in total

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:50 pm 
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Do your dad and stepmom like to go to the theater or musical performances? My husband and I got a gift certificate last year to a large local venue that has lots of summer shows. I really appreciated that gift.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:47 am 
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Invented Vegan Meringue
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I know you say they don't care about food, how do they feel about drinks? Hamper with fancy and/or local teas, interesting flavoured coffees, locally produced cider/beer/spirits if they drink?

I do think people who can buy anything do tend to appreciate handmade stuff more, but I realise your time/strength is limited and you might not feel like doing anything if there's a risk they won't like it. I've actually had some success just being honest with people like this before and calling them up, saying I am having a hard time thinking of what they'd like and asking for suggestions. That was one of the best Christmasses, the person said they didn't want anything, I said I was going to have to get them something (we'd left it too late for a family gift truce) so it may as well be something they liked, they said a bottle of red wine. Everybody happy!

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:06 am 
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Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan Vegan
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thank you guys for all your suggestions!

I think i've got everyone except for my dad figured out at this point!

--

zinna: they don't, but that is an awesome gift. I personally would love it and will probably use the idea for other people in the future!

re: art gifts:
I did that for a while, but they seemed to get sort of annoyed with it? and i only have so much time wherein i am physically able to make art in a day so it's hard for me to spend my art energy on things they may not like.

I am VERY pro-not doing gift exchange for adults. My mother's side of the family doesn't do gifts or anything anymore, which is why I don't have to deal with them, but my dad/stepmom are VERY invested in gifts/material items = love. That's part of why there's so much pressure, that's how they emote.
IT IS ALSO A TEST. when asked what they want, they will respond "oh I don't know, anything" but this is a trick, they know, they just won't TELL ME.

they don't drink alcohol, my dad doesn't drink coffee, and my stepmother will only drink light-roast coffee with her brand of almond joy flavored creamer : [url]https://www.internationaldelight.com/products/almond-joy™[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:19 am 
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Could you get them a charity gift? I know Oxfam, Unicef, World vision etc. all have gifts, for example this > http://www.musthavegifts.org/gifts/emergency-relief/syria-crisis.html and at least your money would be going to something that will help others. Perhaps they have a favourite charity you might be able to check out their gifting options.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:56 am 
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Does your dad drink tea? Because when in doubt... tea.

Also, does your dad like Star Wars, there are a lot of Star Wars items out right now due to the movie coming out. Or even buying them IMAX tickets to the new movie?

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:05 am 
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Boober, I feel this thread so hard. Your stepmother sounds exactly like mine (except for the tennis thing). She doesn't like anything in particular, and her main talent is disliking things. I try really hard to think of interesting things to get my dad, and I put tons of thought into it and he usually is "meh" about whatever I get him.

He and his sister have been arguing for basically their entire lives about which one of them the Rubber Soul album my aunt has belongs to. My dad insists that he got it from their aunt for his birthday and my aunt insists that she bought it with her babysitting money. I found an in-pretty-good-condition older copy and got him that one year. He was just like, "oh, that's nice." and tossed it over his shoulder (or, you know, he may as well have).

I got him a pedometer/heart rate monitor last Christmas because he told me all the time he wished he knew how many miles he'd walked that day out in the woods on their property. He has not taken it out of the package.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:19 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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One gadget-y thing my dad really seems to enjoy is a weather station. He's had a few of them... maybe that's something your dad could find amusing?

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:08 pm 
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Have you considered a photo gift - an album or other item made with Shutterfly or Snapfish? I've done those a few times and family members seemed to like them.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:50 pm 
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booberthefraggle wrote:
-Dad
likes: ???????? tech things that he buys himself, puns, ????.
dislikes: things that he doesn't already know about, my lifestyle.
problem: I have very few dollars and he bought an apple watch on a whim.


Your dad sounds exactly like my dad. The only things he likes besides working too much are beer (which I have gotten him before, but it always makes things kinda... uncomfortable) and Call of Duty. He also dislikes new things and makes way more money than I do. I'm thinking about doing an experience gift kinda thing, where the intended message is "hey Dad, let's spend time together doing this thing that we both like." Maybe.

Sometimes I know exactly what people want and I'm so excited to give them gifts, but sometimes it feels so forced. I'm all for spontaneous gift giving when the sense is that you just saw something and knew that person would like it and wanted them to know that you were thinking of them. Eh.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:51 pm 
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Would your pun loving dad enjoy this "I don't wanna taco bout it" t-shirt?

https://www.threadless.com/product/3966 ... co_bout_it

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:42 pm 
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Honestly, if they don't like anything you get them and won't like anything I say fair game. Order a pile of taco catnip toys and if they look disgusted tell them they said anything.
Only do this if they don't own a cat.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:58 pm 
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This year, for my parents, I am making donations to charities in their names (Alzheimer's research for my mom, because her mother died from Alzheimer's; not sure about my dad. . . I'm thinking his local NPR station unless I can think of a better idea). My parents are hard to shop for, and have basically everything. They can't overtly complain about charitable donations without being jerks.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me with my holiday shopping?????
PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:32 am 
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Get your dad and stepmom a joint gift - a large garden gnome for the yard, shower curtain with the periodic table, or grow your own mushroom kits.

For real though, that's tricky. Travel coffee mug for dad with some funny tech pun?

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