I am pretty exacting when it comes to presents. I don't necessarily return things that people buy me that I don't like, but I am definitely a re-gifter. Honestly, it's better to give someone some cold hard cash than to give him or her solid proof that you know nothing about him or her. E.g., Lotion? Unless it is L'Occitane or something really effing expensive, don't bother. While I also like the occasional homemade gift (candy, jams, cookies), they smack of homemade production line cooking and should never be given as a sole present. We get it, you're cheap.
If, you find yourself needing to buy a present for someone who has embraced materialism and capitalism as much as I have, then here are some present suggestions that are on my own personal wishlist. I chose the items that can be purchased for anyone on the girlfriend-relative-coworker spectrum, and that doesn't require intimate knowledge of someone's size.
- A cashmere scarf. The one above is from Nordstrom, on sale for $186.75. A cheaper version is here. Unless you really know the style preferences of someone, I would suggest sticking with a solid color, in a beige/gray/black range. But really, anything cashmere would be a solid present. Trust me.
- Nail polish. Unlike the advice for the scarf, you can really go crazy with nail polish colors. (Although I wouldn't get neon green for your grandmother.) However, it's important not to cheap out if nail polish is going to be your only present, or if you have a cushy income. Butter London, Deborah Lippmann, Chanel, YSL all make great nail polishes that would make any girl squeal. Essie, OPI and Orly are good budget choices (read: stocking stuffers only). During the holiday season, the big name nail polish producers put out some nice sets, that are actually good value.
- Scotch. I love scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch. This might be a Totes Adorb-specific present, but I think that there are plenty of women out there that would appreciate a fine bottle of spirits. Perhaps not Scotch, but maybe a artisan vodka, a nicely spiced rum or a fine gin made in a micro-distillery.
- Leather gloves. Real leather. Preferably cashmere-lined. Embellishments are okay, but don't go overboard. If in doubt go with a classic brand like Coach or Burberry. I love the ones above, the purple color is still professional but adds a touchy of whimsy and youth. I particularly like the gold locks, but I worry that it would be difficult to put on and take off.
- Glitter. This is more for teenagers and younger adults. (Think whoo girls.) However, I love this Lorac glitter. It's wonderful and fun and completely unnecessary, which are the requirements for the perfect gift.
However, if you have someone who *truly* has it all, and is generally a good person, I would suggest a donation made in that person's name. I would prefer a donation to a good cause than another piece of crap to clutter up my apartment. I like donations to local animal shelters/charities. For example, we adopted the Totes Adorb Cat from Black Cat Rescue, a no-kill animal foster organization that focuses on black cats. Find a cause that your recipient is passionate about and go from there.
One final tip: shop online. Free shipping means no gas costs, no taxes and frequently the best prices. Just do it early.