Buying gifts will depress you. You’re only human, and spending money and time pampering and adorning anyone other than yourself is always a bummer. This year, try a different tack. Get creative: Use that act of gift-giving to settle old scores. Selecting the right gift is a great way of making passive-aggressive commentary on loved ones who have displeased you. Caution: Hostile gift-giving requires more effort-but isn’t it the thought that counts? Here are some suggestions-a mixture of hostile and heartwarming-that should help get you started.
Gifts for him:
1. To the macrobiotic boyfriend who was not only cheap but turned out to be gay, give an organic, edible, crystallized Swiss pansy. These can be purchased and individually gift-wrapped from Lunettes et Chocolat (925-2958) at 25 Prince Street for a measly $5.
2. To the anal-retentive style-Nazi who disdainfully re-gifts everything you’ve ever given him, give a reflexology gift certificate from Angel Feet (924-3576) at 77 Perry Street. A half-hour foot massage is $40; an hour is $70. The hour session also includes an optional 15-minute “hand job”-hand reflexology, if you’ll pardon the expression.
3. To the gonadless, non-confrontational guy-and label-king-who dumped you over the phone, give a set of balls. I’m talking Prada bocce balls, priced at $832. Also available from Prada, at 841 Madison Avenue (327-4200), are designer tiddlywinks for $334 and dominos for $658.
4. To the two men in your life, give three logo items from Gucci, 685 Fifth Avenue (826-2600): specifically, the horse-riding whip, $185, the slingshot, $170, and the Frisbee, $50. Buy all three for both potential husbands and, marry the guy who comes up with the most imaginative simultaneous use for them.
5. To the boyfriend who has insisted on growing a sleazy mustache, stop nagging him to shave and work with it. Sleazy can easily become romantic with the addition of the right accessory. For example, a black Persian lamb officer’s hat from Fendi, 720 Fifth Avenue (767-0100), priced at $595, can help him achieve the Omar Sharif– Doctor Zhivago look.
6. To your old hippie Dad, give an original drawing by R. Crumb. Call the Paul Morris Gallery (727-2752) and ask about the Placemat Drawings . Prices start at $4,000. On second thought, just buy the old geezer a catalog. I recommend Waiting for Food , volumes one and two, $25 each, also from Paul Morris, 465 West 23rd Street.
7. To the live-in pot-head lover who leaves his third-rate drug paraphernalia on your Danish Modern furniture, give a modernist bong ($220) from Jonathan Adler (265 Broome Street, 941-8950). This baby-blue-and-navy-striped, hand-thrown ceramic is just as lovely with a gerber daisy or a mottled head of California’s finest. Don’t forget to throw in a few filters. Most of the pot-heads I spoke to recommended buying filters at a head shop on Christopher Street, but most of them were too out of it to remember the exact address.
8. To the munchie-afflicted pot-head Philistine who has no interest in a Jonathan Adler bong, give a French Confections gift basket from Martha by Mail (800-950-7130) for $195. While you’re at it, get a load of Martha’s Pussy Willow wreath for $24-“assembled by hand from the velvety heads of the pussy willow.” Also of note: her giant gourd wreath, $225, which looks like a million gorgeous little prostate glands all having a party. Yes, Martha Stewart is a total genius-and if you have any doubt, check out her daringly scrawny Christmas trees ($198 to $675) on page 55. They are totally chic, and positively the only tree on the market that allows you to dangle your ornaments and see them properly !
Gifts for her:
1. To the lazy-ass, borderline-anorexic, trendy roommate who refuses to even enter the kitchen, give a Burberry apron ($75) from the God’s Love We Deliver catalog (800-889-6515). She will love the strong vertical stripes-very slimming! For a hostessy look, she may want to chop eight inches off the bottom and wear it over last season’s black Capri pants and a short-sleeved black turtleneck.
2. To the demanding chick who requires so much foreplay that, by the time she’s ready, you are invariably too knackered to perform, give a Bracli thong-it’s the ben wah ball of the 21st century. This $69 Brazilian thong hybrid incorporates Mallorcan pearls into its design and, according to user testimony, lends new meaning to the term “auto-eroticism.” Braclis are flying out of La Petite Coquette (51 University Place); purchase direct or from lapetitecoquette.com, or call 800-240-0308 and, for once, rub her the right way.
3. To the sweet friend who not only brought you chicken soup when you had the flu but also reassured you that you’re still pretty even though you’re not, give a brown plaid cashmere blanket by Agnona, $1,340 from Barneys (660 Madison Avenue, 826-8900).
4. To the bluestocking who goes into a frenzy of Freudian interpretation over everything you do, give a white Scottie-dog evening purse by Judith Leiber (987 Madison Avenue, 327-4003). The fact that it cost $3,750 will leave her in no doubt that this was a deeply significant gesture. This enigmatic offering will keep her analytical faculties occupied for weeks (“Why did he give me back my own vagina in the shape of a dog?”).
5. To the short-sighted, Jackie O–obsessed friend whose roots are showing, a $300 gift certificate to the Avon Centre Salon and Spa (725 Fifth Avenue), where Lee Radziwill is now working as a colorist. It’s not really Lee, but rather Brad Johns, who now looks exactly like Jackie O’s Armani-clad sister. But your vision-impaired friend need never know. It should be emphasized that Mr. Johns is far more than just a Lee Radziwill look-alike; he is artistic director of the Avon Spa and is reputed to give the best dye-job in town. Call 755-AVON.
6. To the girlfriend who has been taking assertiveness-training workshops, give a “spontaneous” opportunity to road-test her new empowered self. Catapult her into a meticulously choreographed nerve-wracking situation. First, steal her grandmother’s inherited fur coat (the one she never wears because it’s too mumsy). Take it, along with a pair of her favorite vintage Levi’s, to J. Mendel at Bergdorf Goodman (872-8963) and ask for Gilles. This master furrier is a fifth-generation member of the Mendel family. (His great-great-grandfather was a furrier in service of the opulent Russian court in St. Petersburg.) He specializes in recycling furs, and he will flawlessly fur-cuff your shrinking violet’s Levi’s (after shredding Granny’s old sable) for $500. Gift-wrap and bestow. Then, arrange for your girlfriend to wander into a PETA demonstration and hope for the best.
7. To the anxious friend who is retaining water, give a Kazuko “Floating Wishes” necklace made of gold wire and aquamarine from Barneys. According to New Age high priestess Kazuko, “aquamarine not only reduces fluid retention and calms, it also enhances creativity, helps banish phobias and fears.” Necklaces are approximately $2,500; aquamarine-encrusted pins start at $135. If the recipient has self-destructive tendencies, substitute citrines for aquamarines.
8. To the office funster who kept you screaming with laughter all year, give the Rejuvenique. This lavishly boxed (an oversize picture of spokeslady Linda Evans adorns the lid) skin-toning system sells for $199; call 1-800-449-1780. The Rejuvenique is a Pandora’s box of screech-making fun comprising a hilarious instructional video, some lubricant and the terrifying Rejuvenique mask itself. Everyone will blow a gasket at your holiday party when your friend opens the box and tries on the mask, thereby transforming herself into a glam-rock Hannibal Lecter. When the party lags, pop in the instructional video. When the holiday food arrives, don the mask and scare the crap out of the delivery guy. Happy Holidays!
P.S.: Buy all your holiday cards from MAC Cosmetics (113 Spring Street, 334-4641). A pack of six cards-with illustrations by members of the Kids Helping Kids program-sells for $6. Every penny of the proceeds goes to support children living with H.I.V. and AIDS.