We asked writer Kira Cook to put together some thoughtful, but totes-appropes gift ideas for all of the new people in your life that you’re basically already in love with but don’t want to scare away.
So you’ve got yourself a new bae. Maybe it’s a romantic bae. Maybe it’s a roommate bae. Maybe it’s a brand-new bae with serious bff potential. You like them, okay, you like like them, but you don’t want to give off the stench of desperation. Your gifts should show them that you care, but not that you’ve been watching them while they sleep at night (unless you’ve literally been sleeping with them at night, in which case it’s okay to sneak a peek every REM cycle or so). Point is, the gift should not say “I’m going to murder you and wear your skin like a homemade crochet blanket” (too dark??) but it should say that “Whether or not you know it yet, and I have a sneaking suspicion that you do, you’re the Huckleberry to my Tom, the Kevin Arnold to my Paul Pfeiffer, the Ren to my Stimpy.” How doth one accomplish such a feat with a mere gift or three? Read on, holiday gift newbie. Read on.
You’re drawn to her because of her weirdo artistic sensibilities, because they neatly fall in line with your own weirdo artistic sensibilities. Snag her this wondrous muted-toned acrobatic-themed pouch to store her colored pencils in—maybe soon you’ll actually get one of those prints of her drawings you’ve been begging her for. Or perhaps you’ve already gone to 17 Bikram Yoga classes with her. What started as a Groupon whim ended as an actual obsession, which is weird because you always laugh about how it’s basically going to an odorous stretch sauna. Get her this iPhone case to remind her of the joy in the Shavasana pose at the end. Also, Beth Hoeckel knows how to match a vintage look onto collages like no one else. This print is bizarrely seductive, and it matches the warm pink tones going on in her apartment. Or, if she’s at all rad, she’ll be into the idea of #boobsoneverything. This laptop case is a surefire winner, and a little less intimate than buying her, like, a bra. #boobsolidarity
Maybe you’ve been dating a couple weeks, maybe it’s been a couple months. Regardless, she’s the ONE!!!!! JK it’s way too early to tell that, but you definitely know you wanna be with her beyond the holiday season, and one way to do that is to not eff up the gift-giving sitch. Above all else, a good gift is thoughtful, and proves that you’ve been paying attention to at least 80% of the things she’s been saying since you met her. Get her a notebook to jot down her thoughts, and maybe, just maybe, her memories of the summer you guys met and snuck into the public pool at night. Then show her you understand what “Millennial Pink” means by surprising her with this pretty, botanical-print comforter. Her old one was covered in dog hair, anyway. Or, she’s been talking about wanting to create a book nook in her apartment since you met her—get her started with this lovely botanical-print floor pillow. This is not only a thoughtful-ass gift, but it’s a thoughtful ass gift. Also, she loves to go jogging after work, so grab her this rad duffel bag to encourage the habit, mostly because it usually means she’s ravenous after she runs which almost always means she wants to order more fries. Win for her, win for you. Mmm. Fries.
He’s a relative newbie to your life, but feels like he’s been in your heart a lot longer (aw…shucks). You don’t wanna frig this up by acting too over- or under-eager, so get that holiday gift Goldilocks-right by taking the following gift tips. He loves French Bulldogs, you love English Bulldogs (what could ever beat their DOPEY, enormously wrinkly faces???!!!). Show him you’re just glad he’s a Dog Guy with this cute as hell travel mug. Encourage his burgeoning Crossfit habit with this showstopper of a duffel bag. He’ll be the envy of all the other dudes at the gym. Not necessarily for his abs, but for the bag. Yeah, the bag. Hey, we’ve all gotta start somewhere! Maybe one of your first dates was to a botanical garden. It’s never weird to reference an early date in a gift when that gift has a vintage ‘60s-lookin’ naked butt on it. Get him this cool print to remind him of the fun you had by the lily pond, and also of your butt. For “Lo, it is never a bad idea to remind a loved one of your butt.” I think Drake said that. Either Drake, or Marquis de Sade. Also, try to avoid coming off as too all over his shiiii by staying away from anything that screams “LET’S WEAR MATCHING OUTFITS TO OUR WEEKEND GETAWAY!!!!! #VANLIFE” by snagging him this macabre tote. You know, for his farmer’s market weekend hauls. Which you totally don’t care if he invites you to, but in case he does…you’ll, uh, have a matching macabre tote.
You just moved in together, so while you may not know her deepest, darkest family secrets (YET), you do know her cereal preference and what time she likes to shower. Equally intimate, just in a different way. You’re looking forward to this potentially being the best roommate mashup since Mork & Mindy, so you wanna nail the first holiday season together. Also? You have the uber-impossible gift of sharing the same love of the same type of pizza: pepperoni, add mushrooms and spinach, hold the red sauce. That’s right. Do you know how rare it is to find a roommate who shares your weird, unpopular idea of pizza? Commemorate finding the needle in the haystack with this super-soft hand towel. She’s got a swimmer theme going on in her room, so help her complete the look by giving her this rad throw by an artist whose color-scape and designs we are completely obsessed with. They’re like vintage advertisements with modern colors, and always reminiscent of an island life not too out of reach.
She also mentioned she wanted to make your living room more comfy and inviting but also hip, and what’s hipper than a print with avocados, palm fronds, AND naked women? How about a print that shows off all 3, and then some (sunglasses!)? Grab her this cult-favorite BFGF print floor pillow. When she tries to take it into her room, stare at her, long and hard, but smile while you’re doing it, so it’s confusing enough for her to bring it back out into the shared living room. Theeeeere you go. Also, remember how she told you she studied abroad in Merry Olde Eng-el-und? This print will remind her of the wonderful time she had under all that rain, plus all the terrible roommates that preceded you. Win-win, without uttering a sound.