Holiday Gift Guide 2013: First, a Level-Setting

Source: Lia Griffith

It's here! Holiday shopping season has officially kicked off, and I've got the inbox to prove it. At this point in the season, I'm easily receiving at least 150 emails a day from brands and PR agencies alike, all with suggestions - some great, some decidedly less so (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) - on what to gift those special someones in my life AND what to recommend you gift yours. And while shopping for gifts can be stressful, it's something that I, personally, take quite a bit of pride in, so I thought BEFORE sharing one holiday gift guide suggestion, I'd first share some recommended criteria for gift giving. As far as I'm concerned, every gift you give anyone should check at least one of the following boxes - if not more:

  1. Highly luxurious. As in something so indulgent, the recipient would never THINK to purchase it for themselves. Rest assured, they'll be thrilled that you think they're worth it. (Suggestion? These Corgi for J.Crew Cashmere Bordeaux Heart Socks, $98)
  2. Intensely personal. People often suggest gifting things that you yourself would love to receive. And while I'd like to think that my taste is universally excellent, this approach is inherently narcissistic. The best gifts take the taste of the recipient into consideration, not your own.  That said, this is also where paying attention can REALLY pay off. Take note throughout the year, not just as gift-giving occasions approach, on the wishes and faves of those who've made your "Nice" list. (For example, though I am not really into insect accessories, my friend Sarah of Style It Online loved the wild Erica Weiner Cicada earrings ($30) I gifted her for her birthday last June.)
  3. Practical and REQUESTED. This is not an "either/or," it is an "and" very deliberately. Before gifting someone - anyone - something that is above all USEFUL, ensure that they really want it.  Gifts that fall into this category include any household applicance (boyfriends and husbands, I'm looking at you), workout equipment or gym/studio memberships and (I can't believe I even have to type it) anti-aging skincare.  Gifts shouldn't be backhanded insults, after all. 

Do you agree or disagree with my gift-giving criteria? Dissenting opinions welcome in the comments below!