We all have one – that person in our lives who is the bane of gift-giving holidays. The One Who Has Everything. Impossible to shop for, they are used to receiving whatever schlock you snagged at the last minute when something better failed to come along. They’re always polite about it, but really – why buy them a sweater when they already have a closet full of designer clothes? What can you get them to compliment a house full of carefully-curated antiques and collectibles from around the world?
To spare you from the embarrassment of (yet again) giving them something to return (or hide), or worse – a “coupon” book for free hugs, we’ve compiled a list of things that even these people probably don’t have. And if they do, they’ll still be happy to have another one.
So this person has everything in the world, but do they have anything outside this world? Like a star? No? Thought not. You can give them one, in several different ways.
You can have a star named after them, and the Star Registry will send them a certificate with the coordinates of their very own star namesake. Great for the Narcissist, and fun for the rest of us. The Pale Blue Dot Project allows you to “adopt” a star, and the proceeds go toward funding research on that particular star – an ideal gift for the scientifically-minded and the sci-fi geeks. Planetariums around the country allow you to adopt a star within the planetarium, and the proceeds go toward the planetarium’s support – this is great for those interested in community involvement, and it’s pretty cool that they can go “visit” their star.
An Endangered Species
Your gift-receiving friend may have every gadget known to man, but does she have a tiger/elephant/polar bear? Didn’t think so.
Various conservation groups have programs that allow you to adopt a member of an endangered species, with the profits going toward conserving that species. Of course, they don’t name it after the person, but most of them send a squishy stuffed animal representation of the chosen species and a nice certificate. The World Wildlife Fund, Discovery.com, Defenders of Wildlife and Wild Hawaii all offer this type of program, but check out local conservation groups for an even more personal touch. At the end of the day, your friend gets to sit and hug a stuffed Gila Monster and think about how one was helped because of her.
If you’re close at all to the difficult recipient, you must know bits and pieces of his bucket list. Things he’s always wanted to do that he never got around to. If you could make one of those things happen, your name would go on the “gift-giving legend” list forever. An experience trumps a material gift every time because it creates memories (and also bragging rights, if you choose wisely). Swimming with dolphins, skydiving, SCUBA diving, race car driving, tiger petting – all of these experiences can be bought, and all are common bucket list items. For the less adventurous, look for things like wine-tastings, painting classes, day cruises and spa packages. Groupon and Living Social are great for these kinds of gifts, especially if you’re on a budget.
One caveat here – do you go or not? If it’s something you’ve always talked about doing together, it’s okay for you to go along. But remember you’re giving a gift here, and automatically inserting yourself into the scenario is like saying, “Here, I got you something! And I got me something, too!”. But don’t buy one ticket and force the recipient to shell out cash to bring a companion, either – receiving a gift should not be expensive. Either buy two tickets so the recipient can choose a date (still might be you), or offer to go along as an observer (unless asked otherwise).
If you really can’t think of anything at all this person doesn’t have or hasn’t done, make a charitable donation in their name. Choose a charity that supports a favorite cause of theirs (not yours), write a check, and send them the card. If the recipient gets ticked off about their gift going to someone less fortunate, it serves them right for already having everything. If the recipient is human and has a soul, she will be touched by the gesture, and warm fuzzies will ensue.