December 2020

No, Really, You SHOULDN’T HAVE. Top 10 gift ideas to skip this year

Author: Denise K. James

Friends, we’ve all had a rough year, and we most definitely should commemorate the end of 2020 by exchanging tokens of affection and friendship. After all, nothing says “happy holidays, and congrats on surviving this insane year” like swapping thoughtful gifts over food and cocktails. This year, however, there are guidelines, and there are certain gifts that should be left off of Santa’s list. Not sure what you’re getting people yet? Allow us to narrow it down by process of elimination. Here are 10 gifts that 2020 has deemed either redundant, inappropriate or just plumb useless. You’re welcome in advance for saving you money.

1 Lipsticks and/or lip gloss
Ladies, we get it: buying a cute new shade for your best friend or a fun fruity gloss for your young relative is usually a foolproof way to score points during the holidays. But it’s 2020, and everyone is covering up their face from the bridge of their nose downward. It’s not a great investment, and it’s probably just gonna get smeared on the backside of a mask once someone shoots your 18-year-old niece a dirty look at the market.

2 Travel pillows
Remember the days when you would jump on a commercial jet and go someplace sexy with your latest significant other for New Year’s Eve—and on the super-long flights, you’d recline on a cushy travel pillow while a B-rated movie droned on in the background, lulling you to dreams of white sand and clear water? Yeah, no one is doing that.

3 Booze
There are two camps of people this holiday season: those who are drinking so much—and have been since March—that they have absolutely no use for or place to put yet another bottle of wine or tequila; and those who have already sworn off all alcohol for the sake of their health or their newfound coping mechanism of religious sobriety.

4 Ridiculous indoor and/or outdoor-themed games
We’ve all exhausted our surfboards, bicycles and backyard cornhole setups this year. But guess what? We’ve also exhausted our hand-held video games, 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles and Monopoly Collector’s Editions. If something screams “sunny day” or “rainy day,” just avoid it. Trust me, everyone’s sick of it.

5 Party foods
Has anyone actually ever eaten one of those weird seasonal sausages, phony cheeses that somehow don’t need refrigeration or packets of crackers that could honestly still be around after the Apocalypse? An old roommate of mine, whose parents would give him a gift basket of foods like these annually, would stash them away after the gift-opening hullabaloo, only to unearth them when company came by and snacks somehow needed to materialize. But your social circle has shrunk, and no one is coming over—at least no one you’d serve such sketchy food to.

6Office supplies
Fun office supplies used to be one of my favorite gift ideas; I grew up during the Lisa Frank era, after all. Pink staplers? Chic notebooks? Cute sayings on pencils? Yes please. But in this work-from-home and teach-from-home era, I’m saying no to all of it. At best, everyone on my holiday list has already bought scores of this stuff to coax themselves into working at the dining room table. At worst, their spoiled kids will steal it, or the family dog will eat it.

7 Tickets to jam bands and metal
We’re slowly getting back to some representation of normal life, and sometimes that means going to see a polite jazz trio while socially distancing from the well-dressed couple at the next table. But mingling with dirty hippie types who don’t respect your space while they spin joyful circles to a Grateful Dead tune? Or braving aggressive metalheads who want to mosh, viruses be damned? Hard no to both.

8 Boss-lady heels
Zoom meetings are wonderful because, while your hair shouldn’t look like you just woke up, your bottom half might very well be clad in fuzzy pajama pants and bunny slippers, even at 3 p.m. In short, the idea of giving your sister or mother the latest pair of boardroom-ready stilettos is probably best put on hold. And the same goes for the men on your list; they’re not wearing those shiny oxfords to mow the lawn, are they?

9 Hugs and kisses
Scrawling “IOU one big holiday hug and one big kiss” and signing your five-year-old child’s name to the gift tag might seem like a charming way to get out of actually buying something for your in-laws. But this year, it’s just going to make everyone feel sad. And is that really what you want—morose grandparents sitting around a twinkling tree, wishing you weren’t so cheap and shortsighted? I didn’t think so.

10 A cruise
Do you want your loved ones to die? Because that’s actually what you’re telling them.

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