Ah, the signs of the season: full parking lots, disappearing gift receipts, annoying bell ringers (who are frequently nice people getting paid too little to support the crappy organization that will use your money to further discrimination), and–joy of joys–that one person for whom you’re buying a gift only as a gift to the people who have to deal with you both. Luckily for you, my friend Naomi has updated her guide to finding that perfect gift to convey your seasonal message.
4. If you’re shopping for an ex, because the kids want to give him a present, focus on setting. If you take your kids to A Store, they will probably choose something from That Store. You might say to yourself, “I’ll just take them to Target; I can get some other shopping done while I’m there,” but recognize that you are wasting an opportunity. There are entire stores full of nothing but horrifying items: you probably don’t want to go to the Thomas Kinkaide Store at the Mall of America (because if you’re sensible, you don’t want to go ANYWHERE NEAR the Mall of America in December) but take a careful look at the stores convenient to you. Is there a place that specializes in collectible plates with pictures of animals on them? Or a store that sells nothing but novelty socks? Or a Spencer Gifts? (NOTE: This is only a good strategy if your ex at least has the redeeming quality of being willing to pretend s/he just LOVES whatever the kids wound up picking out. If you have an ex that would hurt your kid’s feelings over a Christmas gift, my suggestion for what this person should get for Christmas would potentially expose me to legal liability so I deleted it after typing it out. I’m sure you know a guy who knows a guy who could suggest the perfect
Now, as Naomi points out, not everyone is obliged to give gift to people they despise. For instance, I just don’t feel that bound by social constraints. But I do have to say that her guide makes it very tempting to just find someone who needs one of these gifts.