November 30, 2006

Gifts That Keep On Giving

Posted in Lessons Learned at 4:58 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

By the time you finish reading this, the holiday shopping season will be in full effect. And since I know most of you don’t have time to shop, let alone think about what to get the crusty old partner or your young charming assistant – I am here to help. Really, it is the least I can do.

As you read on, it may seem I am directing all of my advice to men. Is that because I assume only attorneys are men? No. I’m a feminist damnit. I know a lot of women out there have climbed the corporate ladder. I just also happen to know women are naturally better gift-givers.

And before you men all shake your heads in disgust at such a statement and click back over to your fantasy football fansite, let me let you in on a little secret. Women are not great gift-givers because we go to the stores thinking about what you want. Oh no. That is just what we want you to think. Are you ready for this? The truth is, we go to the stores thinking, “What will make him think I am the greatest fill-in the-blank-here-with-the-noun-that-best-fits-our-relationship?”

It’s true. One year I bought my ex-boyfriend porn. Not because I thought, hey, my ex really enjoys watching two women make out. No. I was at a store thinking he would really look good in a pumpkin, cable knit sweater. Then I asked myself, will a pumpkin, cable knit sweater have him telling all his friends that I am his favorite ex-girlfriend, ever? Probably not. Some girl-on-girl action? Well that’s a no-brainer.

And why was I buying my ex-boyfriend a gift? Well, that is what happens when you say “but we can still be friends.” And then your friends decide to have a Pollyanna and because God hates you, you pull his name out of the stupid hat. But that is a lesson for another time.

Personally, I think when buying for a higher-up, you can’t go wrong with anything in a bottle, well anything but perfume or cologne. I think buying a partner a fragrance is weird and sends a funny message. You either want him or her to smell better, or you think he or she smells bad.

Nice office supplies also make great, impersonal gifts; maybe a leather caddy, or coasters and a holder for their meeting table. An added bonus to this gift is that a lot of places that sell these items (some online even) will also emboss the items at a cost. Nothing says, “I deserve to be a partner more than that the other guy” better than black leather coasters with his or her initials.

As for the significant others in your life, assistants can be tricky. My gut tells me to warn against accessories. But they are easy and plentiful. So, if you insist on going the jewelry route, buy a bracelet or earrings. These items are often small and not nearly as personal as a ring or a necklace.

If your assistant is a male, well first I would like to applaud you for being so progressive. Second, I would suggest a tie. Nothing too out there, we work in law firms for goodness sake; something with a small pattern in a neutral color would work best. And if he hates it, he can put it on and take it off in the office; no one else has to see him wearing it.

Oh wait, you thought I meant your other significant other; right, her too. Unfortunately here I am not much help. I am not what one would call domesticated. So when a partner at my firm told me he was getting his wife a bathroom sink — oh wait I’m sorry, two bathroom sinks — I outwardly cringed.

Mind you, that is a pretty expensive gift and I am sure it is something she wanted. But I feel guilty getting my roommates something that benefits the whole house, so my instinct told me no to his and her sinks.

That being said, maybe you just bought a new house and are renovating it and she has discussed wanting to replace the old patio doors with beautiful French doors. Go for it. But also get her something small and personal. Like a DVD of her favorite movie. Bonus points if it is a total chick flick that you can’t stand.

Now the only question left on your list is what to get that quirky, albeit very funny blogger in your life. I, for one, am asking for (in no particular order) Peyton Manning’s contact information, a body that looks good in both black leggings and skinny jeans or an end to that trend, world peace and a decoder ring for man-speak.

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