To make your holiday shopping easier, I thought I would offer some guidance for all of you shopping for the Charming but Single person in your life.
Shopping For Charming, Single Guys Or Gals
iPod Nano – Looks can be deceiving; little package, big punch. Ch-Ch-Charming! Black, of course! (And, no, I don’t need no stinkin’ iPod video. Where would I watch these little two-inch movies? I’m all for impracticality, but I think two-inch portable TVs are a bit much.)
Moto Razr V3 Phone – So super thin that it could fit in all of the tiny going out purses and clutches us Charming, but single gals adore. Sleek and small without sacrificing service? Be still my beating heart! Methinks this Charming, but Single gal needs a camera phone. (Black to match the iPod Nano!) (Look, the pink one is cute, but do you want to be in the middle of a meeting at work and have to pull out a bright pink cell phone to take a call?)
Gym membership – Before you go gifting a gym membership to the Charming woman in your life, make sure that she wants one (This Charming, but single girl does!) and that there's something there that she'll like. (Like good classes, an array of machines to work out on, shirtless towel boys). Don't go offending your Charming baby by making her think that she needs to work out. Spin it: Tell her you want her to have a healthy year or get her a membership so that you can work out with her and spend more time together. Charming girls need all of the energy we can get. (And if you’re having problems figuring out exactly what kind of spin to put on the present you buy, e-mail me. I AM a professional spin-doctor, you know.)
Shopping For Charming, Single Women
Fleur de Lis Jewelry – Ubiquitous New Orleans jewelry designer Mignon Faget will be donating a portion of the sales of her (also ubiquitous) fleur de lis jewelry to Louisiana Rebirth: Restoring the Soul of America, which is an initiative of the state of Louisiana that aims to rebuild the cultural soul of New Orleans. I like the sterling silver pendant and the ring. (I’m not really a gold kind of gal.) Symbol of New Orleans + helping rebuild a historic city + jewelry = Totally Charming.
Blinged out purse by Kathy Van Zeeland – I love this one in tobacco (brown) and this one in topaz (creamy golden brown). Not too metallic, yet flashy enough for a good time. Definitely Charming. (Side note: The online pictures do not do them justice. In person, they’re super cute.)
Envy Me Eau de Toilette by Gucci – Flowery, yet sensual and seductive. Not too overpowering, but distinctive. This is the official nighttime scent of Charming but Single. (I’ve even had girls flirt with me when I was wearing this.) (Side note: La Charming cannot wear perfume, because it makes her head hurt. So she sticks to the eau de toilette, which is gentler. I will stop referring to myself in the third person now.)
Pure Simplicity, Aromatherapy, and Breathe, products from Bath and Body Works – Look, you could buy pretty much anything from these collections and be safe with the Charming but Single girls. It’s not the most expensive stuff in the world, but it ain’t exactly free either. I'm not as big of a fan of the olive oil fragrance (not shown online, but I’ve seen it in the stores) as I am of some of the other fragrances, but I doubt I'd complain if I got it. I've played with them all in the store and I always leave smelling like a cornucopia of yummy fragrances. I am an especially big fan of the thick body cream, because I'm a HUGE FAN of moisturization. To be Charming but Single, your skin must always, always, always be hydrated.
A year's worth of spa pedicures – A girl can dream, right? Fifty-two spa pedicures (one a week) would probably cost between $1,500 and $3,500 (and beyond, I’m sure, but in my area that’s a good price range), depending on where your very special Charming but Single lady gets her tosies treated. But wouldn't it be worth the joy in her eyes when she realizes that you want her to be relaxed and pampered all year? Tres Charming!
Dangly earrings – They don’t have to be from Bebe, I just like that they had an array of them online. I love, love, love dangly earrings. They add a special touch to dressy outfits and make casual outfits a bit more Charming. Jeans, black boots and a sexy black sweater can go from boring to bling with the addition of the right jewelry. (I swear, I’m cutting my fingers off after writing that last sentence because it sounds like something that would come from Lucky magazine. Although, this whole damn post is tres Lucky, so …)
Cashmere hoodie – There are expensive ones (Juicy) and less expensive ones (Gap). But they’re all soft and clingy and sexy. And Charming.
Are Men Necessary? by Maureen Dowd – I say “Probably not, but they sure are fun to look at!” (Don’t send me hate mail, that was a joke.) I’ve heard a bit about this book and I’m curious as to see what La Dowd has to say on the subject.
Shopping For Charming, Single Men
In-Car Navigation System — A bit pricey, but this would be AWESOME for all those dudes out there who refuse to stop for directions or who navigate based on “The Jack and the Box near the bar” or “That place that used to be a porn store.”
Outfits — I own three categories of clothes: Lounging clothes (for the gym, grocery shopping, house cleaning), work clothes (for work, obviously) and going-out clothes (to play up my cleavage). My male friends own a “nice shirt” for dates and work meetings, stain defender khakis, ill-fitting polos and free beer T-shirts. Charming men need nice, well-fitting shirts (that’s shirts with an “s,” plural, guys) in classic colors for work and sexy fun colors, styles and patterns for bar hopping and dates. My personal picks: this Gap shirt in Peninsula Blue or a relaxed Tuxedo front shirt from Banana Republic. (And while you’re there, get him a Corduroy blazer in dark brown, which is a bit retro without being out of style. Would look great with jeans and the texture is nice, which is GOOD. Ladies, myself included, love, love, love texture.)
Subscription to Esquire – Look, I’m not opposed to men’s magazines, I just think Maxim and FHM are trashy. And guys, you’re not fooling girls by reading them. I say you either read something with substance or look at porn.
Barware — This won’t work for men who don’t drink, but I’ve found barware to be a hit with single guy friends in the past. These pilsner glasses from Williams-Sonoma are fantastic, but you can probably find less expensive ones elsewhere. (Try Pier One or Cost Plus) Get him a set of nice ones and a six pack of good beer (Mackeson XXX Stout is a great dark beer with a rich taste).
Art – Bachelor pads need some style too. Help the Charming guy you know find his with some nice wall art. Even “guy things” can look stylish when matted and framed in inexpensive frames like this one from Linens N’ Things.
Season tickets – I know a lot of female sports fans who would swoon over season tickets to their favorite sports team and guys who might propose if the seats were in the correct section. If you’re dating a guy, tickets to the right team event show that you’re in tune with his likes and dislikes and also that you’re not trying to keep him from manly things and time with his buddies. Be clear that you’d like to go to the games with him sometimes, but also give him the option of taking a buddy. (This shows that you can hang, but that you’re not crowding him.)
Poker Stuff – If you buy a guy this, you must promise me that you will challenge him to a game and that you will NOT let him win.
Undies that you’d love to get him out of — Men, even Charming ones, need to know that you think they’re sexy. So feel free to slip some cute boxer-briefs in his stocking.
Accessories – Most men I know, especially the single ones, place very little emphasis on accessories. They maybe think about their shoes and belts. They occasionally focus on ties, but never on the little things that finish off an outfit and add an extra level of style. Boys, particularly adult ones, need style too. Some suggestions:
Suit jewelry, like cuff links or tie pins – I know, I know, that sounds like a grandma gift. But if your guy spends a lot of time in suits (or should spend a lot of time in suits), he needs some bling to take him from Department Store Boring to Put Together and Stylish. Something nice, in sterling silver maybe? I’d recommend the Mignon Faget Fleur de Lis line (which has cuff links, stud pins and tux pins), but a lot of the men’s stuff is sold out. A local jeweler or a nice suit store would have good options. I am also craving a guy who is man enough to wear these Enamel tortoise cuff links with a crisp white shirt. Yummy.
Man Purse (aka “Murse”) – Ah, the Murse. So controversial. So silly. I KNOW men have stuff they need to carry around that doesn’t fit in their pockets or wallets. They could fit it all in these stylish messenger bags. So classic, so masculine. So very Charming. (I’m also in love with this Brooks Brothers duffel bag, and when I am rich, I want to buy it for a Charming guy in my life.)
Charming’s General Rules Of Gifting
For Significant Others
Discuss. Try to feel out the other person for ideas on price range and such. If you’re at the point in a relationship where you feel obligated to buy a gift for your partner, you should have an idea of what is appropriate price and content-wise. Right? (I’m just saying, don’t buy a kitten for someone who is allergic, etc.)
Schedule. Set a special night aside just for the two of you, especially if you have family engagements or will be in separate cities for the holiday. This gives you a shopping deadline.
Confer. Enlist the help of a friend of the same gender as your significant other.
Impress. Keep it unique by not buying prepackaged gift baskets or sets. Although putting together your own gift basket is a great idea for anyone. Pick a theme and get the stuff that goes with it. For example, a “Relaxation” basket could have nice candles, bubble bath, a CD (Sarah McLachlan, David Gray) and a nice bottle of wine.
Spin. Explain why you selected the gift. For example, if you make a “Relaxation” basket mentioned above, make sure you point out that you picked “Calming” because you want your Charming Single Person to have a break from his or her stressful life.
Get lists. Shopping for dads and brothers is the worst.
Don’t break the bank. I always set a price that I’m going to spend on my family members. My parents always get upset if I spend too much on them because they say I should be saving my money. I also always make sure I spend about the same amount on all family members. (My momma taught me this early on.)
Be creative. Don’t be afraid to opt for a less expensive, but very special family present. For example, old family photos reprinted and touched up in black and white and framed simply make wonderful gifts. (And with the advent of Photoshop, scanners, digital photo media and big, cheap home stores, many times you can crop and adjust the prints yourself at home, print them up at your local photo center and frame them yourself.)
Team up with siblings. This can save you a lot of time shopping (and also money).
Discuss. If you’re broke and your friends are broke, come clean and opt for cheap presents or no presents at all. (My brother and I did this one year when we determined that we were going to each buy the other a $25 gift certificate to a CD store and decided to save the cash and just have a beer one night. It was great)
Play gifting games. If you are a social butterfly with a lot of friends, suggest that you do a Secret Santa thing or one of those White Elephant Christmas games. Set a price limit and have a nice dinner at someone’s house and play. You’ll have more fun and spend less money.
Keep it small and simple. Have your friends over for dinner and give them a special pretty Christmas ornament. Fun, relaxing and cheap. You can use it as a decoration on the outside of a moderately priced bottle of wine or as a table or dessert decoration. (Just call me Martha Freaking Stewart.)
Play along. A lot of companies do Gift Games like Secret Santa.
Ask your buddies. See what your work pals are planning to do. Copy them. (Because you don’t want to overdo it and look silly or annoy everyone else or make them feel bad.)
Bake. Make a big batch of muffins or brownies or cookies. Either drop them off at your coworkers’ cubes or put them in the break room with a note. (This is what I am doing for the people in my section. It is inexpensive and is open to everyone. Plus, who doesn’t like brownies at about 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon when you’re stuck on a three-hour conference call and need a sugar shock to keep you from falling asleep in front of your boss?)
Be fair and equitable. If you are good enough friends with someone that you want to give them something special, do it outside of work and save yourself the stress of slighting someone else, either accidentally or on purpose.
Look, I know most men think acceptable gifts for women only come in two varieties:
* Expensive and sparkly and shiny
So untrue. Even cynical ones (myself included) care more about the grand gesture than the sparkle. And if the one you’re with doesn’t, she isn’t worth a lump of coal. I mean, I ain’t saying she a golddigger, but …
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