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Entries in 12 days of christmas (55)


[12 DAYS OF GIFT GUIDES] Gifts for Your New Stepmother

Your parents got divorced when you were in your early teens, and your dad remained a single man until recently.  Sure, he had weird dates with a parade of strange women wearing funky jewelry and speaking to you in high-pitched, overly friendly tones ("Hi honey! How ARE you? I'm so excited to finally meet you!"), but they never stuck around for long.    

But shit changed a few years ago.  Your dad met a nice, age-appropriate lady with kids of her own.  He finally had someone to have dinner with and go on trips with.  They got married in a modest backyard ceremony. She wore a tasteful cream-colored pantsuit.  And because you're a fully-grown, semi-reasonable adult, you either genuinely like her or you're ambivalent about her.  None of the anger and mutual hostility that your friends had when they got a stepmother at 12 years old exists with the two of you.  If your dad's happy, you're happy. And if someone's around him all the time, you don't have to worry about him so much.    

But all of these warm, fuzzy feelings (or just general apathy) don't mean that you're close.  Step-parents are always hard to shop for, but they're ESPECIALLY hard to shop for if you've just met this person a year or two ago.  You have more interaction with the barista at your local coffee shop than you do with a person that has the word "mother" or "father" in their titles.

You try to pry advice on what to buy out of your father, but as always, he's useless with this kind of stuff.  Just try to find out the basics.  Does she have a dog?  What is her profession?  Does she like wine?  Who doesn't like sweaters, amiright?  Armed with these basics facts about a virtual stranger who you spend a few times a year with, you'll be able to figure something out for her.  Either that, or get her a gift card to the Olive Garden. Stepmoms love the Olive Garden.  Because breadsticks.   

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[12 DAYS OF GIFT GUIDES] Gifts for the Tech Start-Up Guy

You've had 2 jobs in the past 5 years, but this guy has had 7.  He changes jobs more than he changes his shirt, and while the idea of that makes you launch into a full-blown anxiety attack, that's very typical for the life of a Tech Start-Up Guy.  He's always talking about how he's "building something really exciting."  Of course, he's only there for the company's launch and then like a SnapChat (did he work there?), he disappears immediately afterwards.  

You can never, ever keep up with what this guy is up to, but whenever you get together, he talks your ear off, throwing buzzwords at you and talking about his "INSANE" schedule. He regularly posts Instagram shots from the window of an airplane with captions like "#wheelsup" or "#startuplife" or "#hustlin."  He fancies himself a renegade—someone who is too smart to work in a conventional office or stay in one place for too long.  

If you're being honest, you think he's kind of a douche.  He's probably your brother-in-law or your best friend's husband, but you've got to deal with him and his antics, even around the holidays. But look on the bright side, he almost always rolls with his expense account, which means you drink for free when you're with him. Cheers to that—get this jerk a gift to thank him for all the free beers you've gotten over the years in exchange for listening to him talk about how he's coming up with the "next big thing."    

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[12 DAYS OF GIFT GUIDES] Gifts for the TV Obsessive

Every now and then, you'll come across a person who prides themselves on not watching TV.  You'll all be out somewhere, and as soon as someone mentions a particular TV show, she'll announce, "I don't even HAVE a TV."  As if completely being out of the pop culture loop is some kind of badge of honor. 

Nobody gets more annoyed about this shit than the TV Obsessive.  He doesn't just watch TV, he devours it.  He has thousands and thousands of Twitter followers because he live tweets The Bachelor every week.  He has somehow seen every show on TV—from acclaimed scripted shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards, to mediocre sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother and According to Jim, to the dregs of reality TV.  He's even seen Blackish, for Christ's sake.  And he's somehow watching all of these shows even though he works a full-time job.  It's both impressive and frightening. 

The obvious gift choice for a TV Obsessive is to just get him a box set of DVDs of one of his favorite shows, but get a clue—if you think he doesn't already own the full series box set of Friends, you're DEAD WRONG.  Let's get a little more imaginative, shall we?   

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[12 DAYS OF GIFT GUIDES] Gifts for Your Brother, Who's in Grad School

There are people who go to college for 4 years and then are done with education forever (JKJKJKJK LIFE IS OUR CLASSROOM), and there are people that seem to be perpetually in school.  "I'm working on my second Master's" they'll say to you when you ask what they're doing nowadays, and you wonder why they'd want to continue to build on their crushing student loan debt and also how they could continue to want to write papers.  You haven't written an essay in 10 years.  You wouldn't even know how to go about it.  Do they still use SCANTRONS?  Whatever.

Your brother is one of the people who is perpetually pursuing higher education, but unlike the people who use school as a way to delay actually getting a job and going to work, he's one of the people who works full-time and then goes to school at night.  This means he is constantly tired and has zero time for anything—friends, a girlfriend, vacations, basic hygiene, and the like.  

What he'd really like for Christmas is either sleep, or tuition money, or maybe for you to write this 25 page paper on the ethics of mineral mining, but you're not going to give him any of that shit.  You don't know anything about mineral mining (and you have shaky personal ethics anyway), you're not going to give him cash, and you can't give sleep as a gift because if you could, you'd be the most sought-after person in the whole goddamned world.  Instead, give him one of these gifts, that will either faciliate productivity as it relates to school work, or help him stress eat.  

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[12 DAYS OF GIFT GUIDES] Gifts for the Golf Obsessive

You've played golf a few times in your life.  It's something different to do, and it's nice to be outside.  Very peaceful.  You can get beers from the beverage cart.  All of that.  But after around 6 holes, you start to get bored.  You wonder why in the hell you ever agreed to play 18 holes.  Around hole 11, your golf game begins to resemble the Battan Death March.  You ditch out at hole 15 to go get beers and sandwiches at the clubhouse.  

That's why you'll never understand the Golf Obsessive.  The guy who has a standing 7am tee time every Saturday to play 18 holes.  The guy who spends thousands of dollars on golf paraphernalia every year.  The guy who tracks his swing and his scores like a mad man.  The guy who watches golf on TV (literally the most boring thing on the face of the Earth). 

You don't have to understand him.  He's probably your father or your uncle anyway, and those are men you're not supposed to understand.  It's fine.  Get him any (or ALL if you're feeling particularly generous) of these items and he'll be thrilled.     

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