*UPDATED* Today we present to you the Gift Guide for Grownup Smarties! And here’s what makes this guide so great- it is crap free. We are freeing you from crap! Or… from receiving more crap. Or… we’re trying, anyway. We can’t control everyone. YET.
But there is one hitch: If you don't want to receive a box full of trash... you'll have to actually ask for what you need. Now, I know this is something a lot of us struggle with, but it goes back to self-care. To advocating for yourself. So try. Instead of allowing your grandma to buy you that weird teddy bear vest... ask for what you really need. You might not get it, but it's worth a try and better than a box of trash.
This is what we want to avoid. This right here. Source: GIPHY
Nowhere on this list will you find crap you have to figure out how to “display” or “accidentally” put in the Goodwill giveaway bag. We have kids. We all have lots of crap. LOTS of crap. Some of it is crap we want (crap they made for us with their own tiny hands in art class! Crap we made for each other with pictures of our kids on it!), some of it is crap we need (toys and Legos and, you know, furniture), some of it is crap that we’d like to get rid of, but can’t (crap your grandparents passed down to you, crap your kids spent their hard-earned allowance to buy, crap your Smartner got you in all earnestness because s/he really thought you’d love that figurine of a kitten hugging a duckling). We don’t need more crap. And Smarties, for the love of all that is good, we are trying to save you. And ourselves. So we present to you: The Crap-free Holiday Grownup Gift Guide of 2015! Use it. Distribute it. Save yourselves from crap, friends. Be free.
Let’s start with the things we love most in the world: Babysitters. Tell your family and friends that what you’d most like this holiday is some time to yourself. Some time to be a human person. Perhaps some time to be a human person with another human person (Date night? Night out with friends?). Doesn’t matter. You need time to be human without little humans dangling from each limb and demanding snacks. So tell the people asking what you’d like for the holidays! They can pay for extra hours with your favorite babysitter! Or they can BE your babysitter! Or they can purchase time at a camp/club/class that gives you free time! Doesn’t matter! Any of those are great! But I promise you, no one will think to give you this gift unless you ask, so ask, dear Smarties.
THE GIFT OF EXPERIENCES.
You know that genius childcare gift you just asked for? Wanna up the ante and get yourself something awesome to do during the hours your child is in the care of Not You? Just ask! Maybe you need a massage. Maybe you need a haircut. Maybe you want to see a movie. Maybe you want to start going to yoga. Maybe you want to check out a play. Maybe you dig the ballet. Maybe you’re a hockey fan. Maybe you want to eat a meal that remains warm when it’s supposed to be warm and cold when it’s supposed to be cold and has no nuggets or sticks or powdered orange stuff involved. Maybe you want to take your entire family to the circus. Doesn’t matter. All these things are great. Ask your people to give you gift certificates for the things you want to do. It’s way more fun to do these things when you’re not shelling out for the thing itself AND the childcare. And if you’re extra super lucky (and you’re listening to us like you should be), you may even get the fun thing and the childcare covered. DOUBLE WIN GOLD STAR HIGH FIVE.
We all need help. We all want help. Few of us can actually afford the kind of help we need and want as often as we need and want it. So ask for it for the holidays! You know how you went to get that pot out of the cupboard the other day and you noticed the little smudge of marinara sauce dried on the cupboard door, but then you couldn’t remember the last time you’d had marinara… or washed that cupboard door? And now you’ll never remember to do it because life and kids? Guess what. SOMEONE ELSE CAN DO IT FOR YOU. Ask for the gift of cleaning. You could ask for a one time Groupon from a cleaning company. You could ask for a twice yearly cleaning. If you’re lucky enough to already have someone coming to help clean, you could ask for an extra visit for the weird stuff, or for carpet cleaning, or for air duct cleaning. You could ask to have your car detailed to eliminate the many pounds of cheerios and raisins that are scattered in each and every crevice. Or maybe you’re the cleanest person in the world (I’ll try not to glare at you), but you have zero patience for yard work. You could ask for landscaping help! A garden makeover. Get your overgrown lawn mowed. (That sounded dirtier than I meant it to. But I’m leaving it.) Perhaps you love keeping your home and your yard spit-spot, but your skills in the kitchen are atrocious. Ask for meals! There are loads of services out there that provide healthy, ready to heat meals for families (Eat Local, Luke's Local, or Freshology are a couple options). OR… you love to cook, hate to shop? CSAs can deliver fresh food right to your doorstep. You’ll finally figure out how to cook beets! Or, if meal planning intimidates you, services like Blue Apron and Plated will deliver all the ingredients- and recipes!- for preplanned meals to your door. All of these things would mean one (or 12) less things for you to do. And holy hell… doesn’t that sound wonderful? Get you some help, Smarties. You deserve it.
THE GIFT OF SMART CLOTHING.
Here’s the thing. Generally speaking, parents are terrible about buying clothes for themselves. For the kids? Sure. For themselves? Socks with holes and threadbare jeans. We deserve to wear clothing that will survive raising children. Instead of ripping a giant hole in the butt of your pants while giving Christina's kid an airplane ride like I did. Ahem. And it might be nice if our clothes made us feel good about ourselves, too. Dress smart, Smarties. Here’s how.
Books on Clothes! It’s a twofer!
Did you know there are companies that take books and clothes and smoosh the two together into a nirvana of wearable happiness? It’s true. You can wear your favorite books. It’s terribly exciting. Here are our two favorites, but there are more out there. Nerd chic, my friends. It’s real. AND IT’S WONDERFUL.
This company, Litographs, puts the text of your favorite story/book/poem onto a t-shirt. Or a tote bag. Or a poster. It's nerdtastic, Smarties, and I kind of want one of each. But I will resist. But you don't have to! Go check it out! Get your geek on!
This company, Out of Print, makes clothing and bags and accessories and home stuff all with your favorite book covers. Or with banned books. Or with any number of bookishly wonderful themes. JUST LOOK AT THESE BANNED BOOKS SOCKS CHRISTINA GAVE ME. I mean. Amazing, right?
Please ignore the cankles and tiny kid hair and read those books.
Responsible business practices AND quality!
A lot of us struggle with finding clothing that is both affordable and well made. We’re too old for disposable clothing, peeps. On top of that, disposable clothing usually equals questionable business practices. And, uh, I think we’d all like to avoid that whenever possible. If you want some fashion-forward basics with quality construction that ALSO use responsible business practices… check out Everlane. Some of their stuff is still a little spendy, but that’s usually because it’s gorgeous leather or cashmere. And you can get great, well made $15 t-shirts for men and women. Pretty fantastic.
THE GIFT OF FEMINISM.
Look. We still have work to do out there. But… it’s the holidays, and frankly, we want to be able to have fun, too. So, here: We can do the work AND enjoy ourselves at the same time. Educate and entertain. Smash that old-timey patriarchal bullshit and still have a blast. Another twofer, yo. It’s good. Here’s how you do it.
Rad American Women! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: BUY THIS BOOK. You'll learn, you'll love it, you can share it with your family. You need it.
BitchMart! Bitch Magazine is good stuff. Check it out. Read. Learn. Enjoy.
Ms. Magazine! I mean… you know Gloria Steinem started this little mag, right? Need we say more? AND they have great feminist gift ideas to boot. Speaking of, if Gloria Steinem's book isn't already on your list, go get it. Which brings us to....
THE GIFT OF READING.
Books, magazines, poetry… omg, there is so much out there to read and NOT ENOUGH TIME TO READ IT ALL. Or to tell you about it all... which is why there will be a Smarty Book Guide coming your way soon. But in the meantime, we can steer you in the right direction. Ask for books (we’re partial to women writers, but we’re open), ask for magazines (we sure do love Ms. And Bitch, but again… we’re open), ask for poetry (we’re partial to some Smarty Poets we know… but there’s a lot of gorgeousness out there), or ask for gift certificates to your favorite local book store so that you can browse, browse, browse on your own time (since you asked for childcare… RIGHT?). And then take some time- for you- to sit down and read. You matter. Your brain matters. Reading matters. And readers beget readers. If your smartlings catch you reading? Well… they’re more likely to do the same. IT’S LIKE A PUBLIC SERVICE, YOU GUYS. And really, a book and a great drink (whether tea or martini) is really all you need in the world, right?