We here at HorrorAddicts.net plan to gather up at least a couple of gift lists detailing some lovely swag for the more unusual people in your life this season but I thought I’d first take a moment to write some general thoughts on how to even approach gifting for the more outré people you know before you head out for the upcoming sales. Try to be as thoughtful with what you don’t buy as what you do.
You can post this article to your FB timeline, the photo above to Instagram or Pinterest if you have some people in YOUR life who might just need a little direction or post in a group if you have friends who may need rescuing from the “Normie’s” mad cycle of seasonal giving.
Some people really do find it difficult or frustrating to buy holiday gifts for the more alternative people in their lives. Whether they like to give handmade, specially purchased items or want to go the ‘gift cards, snacks and booze’ route, here is a handy Guide to help navigate the waters safely. This is one place where Google and Amazon are likely NOT going to be your friend because when I searched ‘Goth gifts’ (as Norms are likely to do), oh the CRINGE!
Q. Which Holiday do they celebrate anyway?
A. Doesn’t matter and you really don’t need to find out, honest. ‘Happy Holidays’ and a winter tree, snowflake or abstract squiggle on the card works for everyone even if they do not formally ‘celebrate’ a specific winter holiday. A home-printed, hand-cut or drawn black snowflake card if they are Goth should bring a wry smile. BUT…If they say they do not celebrate and do not gift, please respect that and resist the temptation to spill your holiday spirit over onto them. That’s a gift in itself.
Q. Are they vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo? Food allergy, Fair Trade, ethically grown, locavore? So confusing…
A. Doesn’t matter, if there are any food questions or issues, do NOT buy them food unless they ask for it and if they do, buy EXACTLY what they ask for or just get something else entirely. Ditto for anything made with animal product of any kind. Just avoid it. Perhaps they like booze or tea?
Q. Do they drink? (Booze, Tea, Coffee, special sodas with natural extracts and cane sugar only?)
A. Buy their favorite…we often hoard it and don’t treat ourselves as often as we’d like to. Having extra means we can enjoy it more frequently and we will think of you when we do! This goes for any consumable, if they buy it for themselves as a treat, they will probably like to receive some more. Do they hang out at a local coffee shop or tea room? Buy them a gift card!
GIFT CARDS & DONATIONS
A handmade card with a gift card, certificate or e-code in it is almost always appropriate, providing you get a gift certificate/card they can actually use.
For Gift Cards, if you can find out:
Their fave online shop(s) (often Indie with a bewildering array of Mysterious Items BUT… usually easy enough to buy E-gift certificates. If you don’t see the option, call or email the shop, they will often accommodate you.)
Their fave Etsy shop(s) (and if they take Etsy Gift Cards)
Where they shop most locally (it might be an independent grocery store, food co-op, natural foods shop, piercing and tattoo place, game shop, book store, bead and hobby shop, fabric store, art supply shop )
Where they like to eat locally. A gift card to a favorite eatery is always a nice indulgence or why not invite them out, ask them to choose the place and catch up on your friendship? That is more in the spirit of the season anyway.
What charities, shelters, help programs, Indiegogo, crowdfunding, art coop projects etc. do they currently support? Where do they volunteer or already donate? You can often easily donate in someone’s name to help a special cause or event that is near and dear.
Example: I’m currently hoping more people will help support Paradiso, and help bring a Lolita event to Kansas City in 2016 and in future years. A gift donation to this would be simply divine! I’ve posted about it on my social media along with supporting WWF so it’s pretty easy to take a look and see what your friends have supported and give a gift donation in their name.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Aside from the biggie mentioned above about not ‘forcing’ people to participate in holiday activities, I will speak more personally here and give some scenarios I am confident I can advise on:
If we are ‘into something’ or collect something, please don’t presume to know what sort of thing within the genre we will like. It is often very specific and includes things you will not know about and usually excludes many things you would mistakenly buy, then we are stuck with the items because….gift.
Example 1: I have a friend who is into Anime, and specifically loves vintage anime…bigtime. 1) His collection is so big I’d likely duplicate if I did not ask him specifically what to buy, 2) If I bought him something from CLAMP (very popular but he does not like them) he would wince more than a little and have to keep it because it was a gift 3) often the series he buys are quite expensive, are a pre-order and we aren’t the level of friends that exchanges that expensive of gifts so I wouldn’t want to make him feel obligated…
Solution: It would be easy enough to find out from his girlfriend where he likes to order his anime from and give him a gift card. Chances are he has a back-list and there is always a pre-order coming up so a gift card of ANY amount will lighten the final bill. It’s personal enough that it shows you know what he likes and took the time to find out where he likes to get it but allows him to choose for himself.
Example 2: I love a certain artist’s work…but only some of it, I am very particular about the prints I like and wish to add…the rest is really nightmare fuel and I don’t want to collect any at all…
Example 3: Several of my friends follow and wear Lolita fashion. I do too and I often THINK I know what they might like as far as an accessory gift but just as often, they are VERY particular about everything they wear and if I got them a Lolita accessory, they would of course wear it to show me they appreciate my gift…but they may not like it at all!
Solution: Find out what kind of sweets or booze or tea they like or get them a Lolita magazine and let them do the choosing for their very individualistic fashion view. It’s also a big part of the fashion to put together the perfect ensemble with carefully chosen accessories. Solution: an Etsy gift card I can use at their shop or in any Etsy shop that honors them.
Also do not be tempted to ‘improve’ or ‘help’ us by giving ‘normie’ clothes to ‘wear when you aren’t wearing your Goth things’, or give us something like a hair salon or manicure gift certificate unless we ask for it! ‘Tis NOT the season for hints, subtle or not! Yes it’s judge-y, and yes we will judge you for judging us.
ABOUT THE HANDMADE
Many people appreciate handmade gifts very much, anything you will make. But many do NOT so…how do you REALLY know? They will ASK you for it if they really want it and TELL you they love handmade. Many people use the reasoning ‘I am making my gifts to give so that justifies my spending on my hobby all year to do so’…yeah, not so much a thoughtful thing to do when you think about it!
I am going to go out on a limb here and do a Public Service Announcement that may not be popular, hence another ‘alternative view’…
“Hey Aunt Sadie, we love it that you keep up with your knitting practice, we respect the fact that you have mad skills and make many items but unless we ASK you for a(nother) knitted (insert that thing you make), please STOP using your giiftees as your excuse to support your yarn habit.” PLEASE TAKE A HINT.
I like handmade from some people ONLY and I have let them know beyond a doubt by either buying some of their items or by my not-so-subtle wheedling…for the rest of the people who might randomly gift me something they make…I like Absinthe….and little cheeses…and indie cosmetics.
Also, if your friend or family member makes things, DO support their creativity by shopping with them if you have friends who do like receiving art, crafts or items made by someone they know or a family member. Yes, it’s almost conflicting advice here but giving handmade/handcrafts, local artist gifts are a subject that needs to be more thoroughly researched if you wish to navigate it correctly so just be prepared to do your homework. Or buy booze. There’s always booze…
Buying for your alternative poppets and Dear Ones need not be an arduous task if you can play detective with even a little sensitivity and when in doubt, please do ASK or go the safe route with a known good gift. And finally, remember that not everyone ‘alternative’ automatically likes Hot Topic… (though some of us still do!)
Addicts, do YOU have any horrible gift stories? I’d love to hear about them so we can all have a good laugh over them now that they are hopefully safely BEHIND us and look forward to better gifting and holiday plans THIS year! Comment your stories below.