Shopping for children is relatively easy. Find a plush toy or the latest game, and you’ll get the wide smile and excited hug you were expecting. Shopping for adults, however, can be a challenge. How many striped ties, golf clubs, or jogging pants does Dad really need? How many gallons of perfume, buckets of lotion, or leather gloves does Mom really need? Is that combination fingernail clipper-letter opener really the best you could do? And what about the adult children in your circle whose electronic gadgets change monthly? Buy them a new phone or music player, and it will be obsolete by the time New Year’s Day rolls around. Forget it if you want to buy them something that will make a lasting impression.
Gifts can get stale. Finding the right one can be almost impossible in this day and age. Do you go to a store? Do you shop online? Do you browse a catalog? Remember when department stores had everything you could possibly want? The best advice we got this year was to think outside the gift box. Instead of clothes that may not fit, consider an exotic, over-the-top, or creative home accessory for a different kind of present. Unlike a vacuum cleaner or toaster, a kitschy home accent piece is both personal and practical. Find a fun framed print you know they’d like or a set of throw pillows with a Warhol print in different (but matching) colors. Lamps are another great gift idea. They aren’t just for practical lighting anymore. There are so many new sleek, colorful, whimsical, and ornate lamps on the shelves that there’s a lamp for every kind of taste. Get Dad a new floor lamp to set beside his reading chair. Give Mom a set of lamps with silk shades for her sitting room. Grab a mismatched pair of art deco lamps for your young adult’s new living room. Of course, you can always splurge on a new recliner, especially if you know the old one has seen better days. If you want to make the chair a surprise, bring the recipient’s measurements to the store when you shop so the salesperson can help you find just the right recliner to support his or her frame.
Whatever you buy, make sure it complements the person’s current theme. You’re always safe with brown leather and wood, which matches most every kind of space, but don’t be afraid to take chances. The better you know someone, the more outrageous you can safely venture. Just remember: you want your gift to be appreciated, not taken as a hint that they should change the entire room. Home furnishing gifts don’t have to be obvious either. Rug & Home stocks unusual items such as the latest collection of recycled wood benches, ottomans that turn into video game seats, or solid wood, hand-painted boxes that can hold all the other same-old, same-old gifts they got for Christmas this year. Your thoughtfulness will surprise them.