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Gift Guide 2017

The Holiday Gift Guide for 2017 is here, but you don’t need it.

I enjoy putting it together, so I do it, even though none of us needs more crap.

If you’re reading this, let me not be the first to tell you: you don’t need more crap.

I don’t. You don’t. The people you’re buying for don’t.

Since we’re all going to buy more crap anyway, here are my brilliant suggestions.

For Littles and Middles

 Nesting houses or balancing blocks

Bath pipes


Woodcut Memory Game

Harry Potter Room Decor

Fancy tic-tac-toe

Tetris-like puzzle game

Puzzle spheres

For Tweens and Teens

Hydro Flasks are stupid-expensive, but all the teens at my son’s school have and love them, so this gift is a homerun.

A Multitool is our go-to graduation gift

Headlamps are always handy. My husband uses his for reading, cooking, home improvement, car work. These would be great for college students, too.)

Dry box for their gadgets

Grown-up fidget spinner

Phone camera lens and light

Carabiner charging cable

Cereal Killer spoon or t-shirt

A stocked toiletry kit

Water color temp tattoos

Game of Phones

A strand of light up photo clips. For extra credit, print out a few photos from their social media account and hang it up on the wall for them to wake up to.

For Whimsical Friends (who love all things rainbow-sparkle-mermaid-unicorn-glitter)

It’s a thing


Gluttonous (thanks Shari)

Glitter confetti studs

Print and frame or grab this mouse pad

A gorgeous platter  Gah, it’s so pretty!

Hand warming mugs

For Everyone Fighting the Good Fight

All things Emily McDowell. I want this,  this,  and  this as well as all the other things.

Dumpster fire ornament

Boob stamps, because you can

Postcards, postcard stamps, and a sheet of pre-made labels with addresses for their government representatives

For Pretty Things Lovers

All things geode: ornament, coasters (thanks Diane), state-shaped trivets.

Anything from this store Her next shop update is November 29.

This tote bag couldn’t be more perfect

These cards

These blocks are sublime

Zen blocks

Penguin   or  Owl  Tiny, adorable things are my favorite!

All I want is ardent admiration and love

For Friends (whose day jobs are smoldering piles of turds)

Per hour


Pocket Pema

Affirmator Cards

For Everyone Else on Your List

For the sweethearts that you are, complements with your coffee.

For when, even after decades of practice, someone still can’t fold a shirt.

For the parents, DNA testing kits. These are ½ off through Thanksgiving.

For anyone who doesn’t already have one, an electric kettle.

For anyone really, a ceramic bud vase phone stand or a  wood phone stand or book ends from this great store.

For the sea lover, this wave necklace. Upgrade to the magnetic clasp and save everyone’s fingers.

For the perpetually cold, slipper socks or gloves.

For all the aunties and grandmas of the world, a copper planter filled with something pretty.

For the always sick and/or always on the go, a travel humidifier.

For all the dudes who don’t need another watch nor do they need more electronic gadgets nor do they need more grilling implements, whiskey glasses, a beard shaper, or Hamilton Paraphernalia.

For the traveler, or the person who loses everything, Tile.

For the athlete, trekker, trucker, a Road iD.

For the doomsday prepper, a mosquito net hammock. You know this is on my wishlist.

Stocking Stuffers

A shower scalp massager

Card decks and a booklet of card games, as we’re going to need some way to entertain ourselves in the post-apocalypse.

Unscented lip-balm  Those are my favorite, but these are good, too.

RX BARS The Chocolate Sea Salt are my favorite. These are very rich in flavor, but contain no added sugar.

Credits to print their social media photos

Soap for a good cause (I may order myself some)

Pocket Rumi

Light-up pen


Dual-tip marker set

The One and Only Gag-Gift


Books for Everyone

Her Right Foot (a cool video about the book)

The Smell of Other People’s Houses

When the Moon Was Ours

You Are A Badass

The Power of Onlyness

Good Bones

Resistance, Rebellion, and Life

A Secret Sisterhood

Living a Feminist Life

The Annotated African American Folktales

A Paradise Built in Hell

The Mask of Masculinity The more I think about gender, the more I think we need to focus first on deconstructing masculinity, as men will not change until they understand the full impact, on them, of all this bullshit.

Braving the Wilderness Buy all of her books for all of the people.

Love With a Chance of Drowning I am reading this now and it’s excellent. I can’t wait to read her most recent book.

Accidental Saints  Cranky and tattooed Pastor Nadia; one of my favorite reads of the year.

Experiences Over Things

An experience is always a good gift. Give an adventure, a trip, a class, a museum subscription, a club membership.

Escape Rooms are all the rage, and families still Geocache.

Trampolines, bowling, laser tag and the like are all fun school break activities.

We gave my kid a flight lesson for his 13th birthday.  For his 17th, his dad took him and two friends zip lining in the redwoods. A friend’s dad took her sky diving for her 18th birthday.

If you’re local to northern California, you could give the gift of a class at somewhere like the Sierra 2 Center, where I happen to be teaching a poetry workshop in January.

Money is Better 

I have strong feelings against gift cards: corporations don’t need more of your hard earned money sitting in their assets columns. If you’re so inclined, just gift money. It’s better for people.

Worthy Causes

Together Rising is one of my favorite organizations as they get money and supplies on the ground very quickly in response to need. “One hundred percent of what Together Rising receives from every personal donation goes directly to an individual, family, need – not one penny goes to overhead, administrative costs, or salaries — unless you specifically request that we use your donation for those purposes.”  

The ACLU has had a very busy year, as had The Southern Poverty Law Center.

Donate to a local election candidate.

Donate to local human and animal shelters, as well as local libraries.

Give the gift of a local newspaper subscription to someone who would enjoy it.

What are you buying this year? What’s on your wishlist?

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Giving and The Love Languages

Have you heard of Gary Chapman’s Love Languages?

In this schema, each of us have different channels through which we most readily give and receive love. The Happier Podcast recently did an episode on it if you want to learning more. If you want to find out your love language, take the quiz here.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts on gift giving rolling around in my brain for years, yet learning about the love languages helped me clarify some of them.
My primary love language is acts of service, like how my husband vacuumed my car last week *heart eyes.* The best acts of service are things I don’t have to be in charge of. For instance, my husband says he’ll cook for me, but when I have to ask him to cook, and then tell him what to make, I feel anxiety and shame rather than loved. But, if he just cooks something for me, I eat it and feel nourished.

For years I’ve asked people to not buy gifts for me. Many might think I hate gifts or hate holidays or am just a joy kill. But my reasons for asking people to not buy gifts for me are more complicated than that, and related to my core story.

First, I hate for stuff to be not used. The stuff in our homes should be meaningful, useful, or beautiful. I don’t like waste or random stuff that doesn’t fit into that category. And I really dislike things that might be useful to someone, but are not useful to me, piling up. Those of you who follow me on social media have witnessed this, as every time I clean out a closet I want stuff to go to a good home rather than just the trash or a thrift store. Ultimately, I believe we show major disrespect for the planet and the future if we don’t value the things we have. So, that’s the first part of my no gifts puzzle.

The second part is that, for years, even when I was explicit about what I liked or wanted, I got other stuff instead–sometimes gobs of other stuff, or other stuff similar to what I wanted but not quite. At a core level, the story I was telling about these gifts was that the people who gave them: did not get me, did not understand me, and didn’t think it was worth figuring me out.

I get I’m a bit of an enigma, but am I really that bad?

What I’ve realized recently is that my secondary love language is receiving gifts even in all of these years of no gifts. Huh. The trouble is, random things, or things that don’t fit into the meaningful/useful/beautify metric, make me feel misunderstood and unloved, so it’s a double-edged sword. The results here are that I’m a complete asshole and only feel loved when people get the gift magically right, which is nearly impossible. Thus, no gift is better than some gift in this labyrinth.

Gifts in recent memory that really meant something to me: two years ago the only gift I got on Christmas was an Amazon gift card from my in-laws. I got to buy books of my own choosing with it and I didn’t feel compelled to buy household shit. The second gift was when my husband taped a Dutch Bros Coffee gift card to my steering wheel at the start of the new semester. I felt seen and understood in both of those moments.

Gift Guide 2016

In no particular order, stripped of images because I moved blogs.)

These great and little bear prints. (So freaking cute!)

For the lucky few who get to keep their butter on the counter.

A brass and glass lantern or terrarium to fill with candles or sparkly things.

This stunning coffee table book.

Vintage bookends. These water bottles keep your drinks cold for hours. Really.

Anyone with pets needs one of these.* I want. You want. Everyone wants. It’s the solution to half of my problems.

A swearing party game. I’m in. Oh wait, the goal is to not swear. Dammit.

I need this.  A plush Scully. Perfection. All babies need this (sans the necklace, because choking hazard.)

For the Lone Gunmen in your life: prayercandles.

Young or old, there is a person in your life who needs a bucket of shit. No really.

And this toy cactus. I bought one as a gift recently and it’s amazing.

White triangle-arrow necklace. A botanical dill necklace.

Any piece from this Etsy seller.  Zodiac Constellation charms for that friend sister who believes that stuff.

Black silhouette jewelry holders in the shape of birds, a ballerina, and more birds.

A unisex bag that’s been in my shopping cart for months. Lapel pins are back in. A dandelion.

How you doing? I know a few people for whom this applies.

Ribbons are popular too.

I am positive my mother needs this ironed onto a jean jacket.

I saw a gal walking across campus with this bag and I fell a little bit in love with her that day.

If you’d like your cat to look like a  16th century jester AND you’d like it to stop eating birds, try this.

A box of greeting card “pick your own” charts can only go awry if the gifted has no sense of humor.

We all need a box of theseLiterary metal bookmarks.

This Rocketbook smart notebook is pretty dang cool. Victorian Lady Sex. Sold!

The Night Voyage coloring book. A set of the best coloring pencils.

On My List For real though, I want this. I’m not being ironic. (Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit ironic, but I have been a doomsday prepper since the 3rd grade.)

<©2018 Cherri Porter>