Gift Ideas for Poor People

If you’re anything like me, you’re poor. The holidays are a really hard time for poor people. Suddenly you’re expected to spend money that doesn’t exist. On other people, no less. Or maybe you have just enough money to buy gifts for your family, but you have friends you know are getting you something, so now you have to get them something (which is the true spirit of the holiday season). Or maybe you had plenty of money but you spent it on yourself.

One thing working in your impoverished favor, is that during the holidays, no one can fault you for a bad gift if it appears that you put thought into it. That is our goal here today: gifts with feigned thought put into them. Gift baskets are great for this purpose.

Now, I know when you think gift basket you’re thinking fancy pears and Boursin cheese, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The beauty of a gift basket is you can make it as expensive or inexpensive as you want, and the fact that you gathered things in a basket gives off the illusion that you put a lot of thought into your gift.

The most important aspect and step one of these gifts is the basket. Look around your basement. If you really are an American, there’s a cheap basket from a yard sale somewhere in your house. If somehow you don’t have a basket, it’s past yard sale season and you’re going to have to buy one. Try a craft store.

So with that, gift basket ideas for those of all varying poverty levels:

1. Movie Night Basket

For the super poor: Look around your house for an old DVD still in its cellophane (this actually points to a greater lesson: always keep your DVDs in cellophane until you’re ready to use- you never know when you can use Legally Blonde 2 for a last minute gift. You won’t miss it). Steal 2 cans of soda, candy, and popcorn from around your house.

For the poor: Go to Walmart and look through the big bin of $5 DVDs. Bonus if you can find something fun like Spice World, but you’ll probably just end up with White Chicks. Look for random candy around your house, maybe buy a box of Goobers. Get two cans of diet coke from the super market vending machine, buy a couple of rum nips, and a box of popcorn.

For the barely employed: Movie passes or a season of something like Breaking Bad. Buy a 6 pack of glass Coke bottles (put two in the basket and keep the rest for yourself), rum nips, assorted boxes of movie candy, a box of popcorn, and those little popcorn flavor shakers. Instead of a basket a cute idea is also getting one of the buckets of popcorn you can get at Blockbuster… if you can find a Blockbuster.

2. Fiesta Basket

For the super poor: Hopefully you have an unopened bottle of tequila or some nips around. If not, you probably wont’t get out of this cheap. If you do, then take a lime from the fridge, steal a bunch of salt packets from McDonald’s, get a bag of tortilla chips and call it a day.

For the poor: Get like, 5 nips of various tequila brands (pass it off as a tequila tasting. I think that sounds pretty legit), buy chips, salsa, and then go to the dollar store and buy some maracas.

For the barely employed: You can get a bottle of Chi-Chi’s light margaritas for 7.99 (don’t spring for some brand name Skinnygirl. You’re not made of money). Get a taco making kit at the super market (they probably have that, right?), and then obviously the maracas so they have something to do after they finish the Chi-Chi’s.

3. Wine Basket

For the super poor: Your options include 3 Buck Chuck or regifting a bottle if you can. Don’t worry, there is no shame in 3 Buck Chuck. It’s still alcohol. Again, steal what you can from the house. Maybe put crackers and cheese on your parent’s grocery list for “yourself.” We must be resourceful in these trying economic times.

For the poor: Do what you can with the bottle of wine. Then head to CVS and get some jerky, a bag of Hershey’s kisses, some generic crackers, and cheese.

For the barely employed: Wine. Then try the Christmas Tree Shop if that is an option for you geographically (and God help you if it isn’t), and look for some festive wine glasses, which usually only go for $1.99, but really up the overall production value of the basket. Then assemble any other wine-y things we’ve discussed based on how much money you have left.

As you can see, there’s a basket for every price range. Only your own creativity can limit you now. Now go forth and spread cheer like you were always meant to do.

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My Grown Up Christmas List

Do you like that blog post title? That’s my clever ploy to get the traffic from all the people googling the lyrics to that song. Sorry, you won’t find them here! But please, read on despite my trickery.

To the real information: I think one of the most depressing things in life besides like, dying, is the time spent celebrating holidays right after you grow up but before you have little kids. During this time, the magic is all gone from the holiday until you have kids of your own and can experience the holiday through their eyes (but no pressure to have kids and stuff. This is not a blog that feeds into social conventions, no sir. Live your life, okay?)

Sure, there’s some new, fun things about the holidays when you’re young and fabulous- sparkly red dresses and the excuse to get tanked like, every day between Thanksgiving up until New Years, but I don’t think it matches the happiness of being a kid and getting presents from your gift list.

When I was a kid I remember getting so pumped when the new JCPenny toy catalogue would come in the mail, and I’d chill out in the bathroom for like, an hour and read it. Getting a ton of frivilous presents was expected. It was okay for me to make lists, actual lists of things I didn’t need. Last year I think I got some Crest Whitestrips… like, I asked for them, but still how depressing that this is what my life has come to?

Anyway, this year I’m going to make a list with no real expectation of getting anything, but I figure it’s like a little vision board? I’m attracting presents into my life! Here’s some things I want (it is important to note that I will accept these gifts from anyone, hint hint Northern New Hampshire Male Correctional Facility 😉 ).


{Hunter Rain Boots, $125. I feel like these are an investment- I had to throw out my cheapish J.Crew ones because they started to leak. Ya know, rain boots have ONE job to do. Not to look cute, just to keep water out and it’s crazy how few of them actually accomplish that.}

{Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, $39.99. It’s kind of expensive for hair product, but I read in Allure once that Mary Kate and/or Ashley used this at a shoot and told the stylist they were “stealing it,” so I’m all in.}

{Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook $20 on Amazon. Momofuku is a trendy-pants bakery in NYC where they sell things like cereal milk ice cream or something and chocolate chip cookies with pretzels in them. This book teaches you how to make all that and more, including something called ‘crack pie,’ so I need to know what that’s all about.}

{Fancy Coat. This one is from Piperlime.com for $109. I need this mostly because I bought this fabulous/ridiculous faux fur hat that I can’t wear with a North Face. Also, apparently huge parkas aren’t appropriate to wear for every single occasion, like weddings, funerals or clubs.}

{Limited Edition Urban Decay Book of Shadows Gift Set, $64. I will also happily take any of the cheaper gift sets, this one just comes with a portable speaker… which I’m not sure that I need or can use (I don’t have an iPod, and my iPhone speakers are nice and loud) but I want it anyway!!!}

This is just a working list, of course. I probably want more stuff.