You're Doing It Wrong: Last Minute Holiday Shopping

Savvy shopper Christine Mitchell is here to save your procrastinating ass

We're the kind of people you see sprinting frantically around the mall on Christmas Eve, mainlining food-court coffee with sweat streaming down our red faces as we elbow other hapless procrastinators out of our way because WE SAW THAT SCARF FIRST AIGHT? But we're not proud of it. So we tapped shopping expert Christine Mitchell, former Rue La La copywriter and the scribe behind hyper-local style blog, for tips on getting our down-to-the-wire shopping done this year (especially for those difficult giftees we leave for dead last) without stepping foot inside a mall. Call her the Blogger Who Saved Christmas.  

On shopping for in-laws (or potential in-laws) you really like: "Get them something that shows them how happy you are that they aren't psychos - something that's thoughtful and reminds them that you're awesome too. Commission a portrait of the family pet, painted by Somerville artist Natalya Zahn. Every time they gaze at it, they'll think how adorable Butch is, and how wonderful you are."

On shopping for in-laws you really don't like at all but you want them to like you: "You're not the biggest fans of each other, but starting a family feud isn't really your style. So give them something that they'll respect and is functional. A handmade cheese board by Structure, a husband and wife team based in Roslindale, is just the ticket." 

On shopping for in-laws you really don't like at all and don't really give a shit if they like you either: "Bring a six-pack of Pretty Things beer from Somerville . . . and then drink four of them yourself."

On shopping for the boss man: "Shopping for the boss is kind of the worst. What's your budget? What's appropriate? What's inappropriate? Best bet is a gift card to a local restaurant like Area Four in Cambridge. Definitely worth the investment when your boss raves to your colleagues about your gift and how fantastic the meal was."

On shopping for that special someone you've been casually dating (or sleeping with - we don't judge): "This can be a really awkward gift, and people tend to overanalyze it. Give the gift of a fun experience you can share, like a class with City Chicks in Somerville. There is a course for everyone, from sausage making and beer tasting to canning techniques. Love will certainly blossom while you're learning how to cleave a pig from head to tail."

On shopping for that special someone you've been dating forever (and you really want this gift to be perfect): "You've been together forever, but that shouldn't give you the excuse for a lazy gift. Bring back the romance with a weekend getaway at a memorable locale out of the cit. An idyllic winter destination like The Round Barn Inn in Waitsfield is a great choice."

On shopping for those weird relatives that are, like, thrice-removed and you see once a decade but are joining you for the holidays this year: "I would use this as another excuse to give the gift of food or drink. Welcome them with a box of Taza chocolates from Somerville. Then proceed to encourage they taste each flavor . . . with your help."

On shopping for the person who has everything: "So they have everything. But I bet you they don't have a Cuppow lid for their mason jar! This clever gadget designed by a couple of design/engineer guys in Somerville enables you to convert your mason jar into a travel friendly, spill-proof mug/cup."

On shopping for the person who hates almost everything: "Giving them the wrong gift will likely make them hate you too. So play it safe with a gift card to a shop that offers a bit of everything. South End shop Sault offers a variety for them to choose from including bags, candles, stationary, apparel, and interesting odds and ends."

On shopping for the nerd in your life: "Nerds always have the newest technology, so why not give them an assist with the protection of said technology. A leather iPhone case handmade by Eric Heins of Corter in his Boston apartment should get them sufficiently geeked out."

On shopping for the fashion plate in your life: "Instead of getting them clothes (because in all likelihood they don't need your help with their impeccable wardrobe), gift them a book that speaks to their fashion forward thinking. Like Grace the memoir by Grace Coddington."

On shopping when you've bought literally nothing for anyone and you don't know WTF to because the big holiday party is tomorrow: "Before you throw in the towel and scribble an "I owe you" note or slip a cold $20 into that holiday card, there are definitely some options for last minute gifts. Head to Fort Point Channel and peruse all the goodies at shop Twelve Chairs. A gift like this chalk piggy bank is sure to be a hit."

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