Let me apologize if I'm imposing my own holiday madness on YOU.
But in case you're in a minor panic, like I am--wondering if everything will come together before dinnertime on Christmas Eve--I have some ideas about things you can buy USING YOUR COMPUTER that should be delivered (or otherwise ready) in time for the big day. If you order today, that is.
UNUSUAL JEWELRY AND OTHER ACCESSORIES
The Museum of Modern Art Store: When I was out shopping Tuesday, I complimented some woman in line in front of me at Loehmann's on her earrings; she politely informed me they were from the MoMA Store. I myself have gotten some great jewelry from there over the years. They have plenty of unique stuff, from necklaces and cuff links to "home accessories." (They also have presents for tykes that will make you come off like the coolest aunt or uncle in town.)
HOME FURNISHINGS, KITCHEN STUFF, AND OTHER HIGH-END TCHOTCHKES
Moss, a fancy design store in SoHo, has lots of online offerings. The stuff is quite pricey, if you ask me, but they do have a section with Gifts Under $100. (FYI: One of the best gifts I've ever received from a guy I was dating came from Moss: it was a heart made out of fake white rabbit fur, with a built-in Comme des Garçons perfume dispenser.) ... Design Within Reach--kind of like Ikea, only not Scandinavian--is less expensive than Moss. They have groovy stuff like bird-shaped wind chimes and industrial-looking flasks for less than $25. ... And Velocity Art and Design offers things like sleek cigarette cases and arty iPod cases for $60 or less.
MAGAZINES AND LITERARY JOURNALS
What's so great about signing someone up for a year-long subscription to a publication? Leaving aside the fact that it's gift that keeps on giving for 365 days, there's the added bonus that it doesn't NEED to arrive by December 24!
Now, obviously, you should give EVERYONE on your list MARIE CLAIRE. (Let me see what I can do about getting you a discount.) But if you have friends or relatives who fancy themselves intellectuals, might I suggest N+1 for them? It's a quarterly journal about politics, literature and culture--total brain candy, if you ask me: smart in an engaging, accessible way that makes YOU feel like half a genius just for reading (and liking the thing). Each issue will also look quite nice on your coffee table. If the people in your life are more interested in the visual arts, check out PAPER MONUMENT (which probably will look even better on your coffee table). Or, for a far more in-depth (and intelligent) look at pop culture than you'll get from Us Weekly, check out THE BELIEVER--full of interesting essays and long interviews with filmmakers, musicians, philosophers, writers and the like.
You can also think about making a donation on someone's behalf to a worthwhile non-profit organization--like Red Light Children (which is working to end the sexual exploitation of children around the world); the very environmental Fruit-Tree Planting Foundation; or a worthy independent radio station, like my absolute favorite, KCRW (out of LA). ... But you should probably also get a real gift, because I always personally feel a little cheated when someone is like, "Hey! I threw a fiver at the National Association for the Promotion of Astrology for you!"
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GETTING INTO THE GIVING
One last thing about gifts: My sister gets me the presents, and I think her big secret is this: She goes into a store and doesn't think about what I might need so much as what might be in the place that I would looove, but would never get for myself--either because it's not practical or too expensive or whatever. (She almost always gets me accessories--like a pretty little turquoise party bag or this great yellow hat-cum-shawl thing that people always compliment me or a pair of white-and-black leopard-print gloves, also a crowd-pleaser; and generally speaking, I think you can be the most inventive with gifts if you don't have to worry about them fitting.)
Randomly, I feel like I should also mention that my little cousin--the same pain in the arse who has demanded that elusive Office DVD--knit me an incredible pink mohair poncho a couple years ago. It's gorgeous. Not that any of us have time to knit a poncho. Not that any of us--or at least not ME--know how to knit. But anyway ... I guess my point is that home-made gifts, when made with skill and heart, can work out well.
ANYWAY. I promise that by tomorrow, I will stop being a crazed consumer, and will return to simply being boy-crazy. Sound good? Oh, except, if we're lucky, we may get some tips from our resident dating coach John Keegan about how to flirt creatively while making last-minute purchases.
Oh, and if you guys have thoughts about how to help out last-minute shoppers, give us your two cents!
Edwinna! Poor you, and your pajamas catching on fire! Aww. I'm glad you got through all that and are the resilient, optimistic, supportive person you are today!
Madge: I can't believe you know about the drinking-fountain lions. I love that.
Diana: Romeo+Juliet coutre, babe.
Dawn: I LOVE your tips! Especially the spa gift cards. Someone gave me one of those many years back, and as a result I had my first ever facial. It was not my last.
Ellen: While you're sending professionals to other people's houses ... wanna send a masseuse over here to Maura Kelly HQ?
Osu: Grrr, sorry about Target.