The Persistent Childhood Figure

Among the most onerous to shop for are the childhood friends and distant cousins who insists on upholding an annual holiday gift exchange even though you now live on different coasts and haven’t been close since you hit puberty. The only way to end this Christmas cold war is through drastic escalation. Monitor her Facebook activity to figure out the particulars of her current social life, and then give her a gift so specific it’s stalkerish. If she’s tagged in an album called “Real Women Eat Meat,” for example, send modest gift certificates to a local chain steakhouse to her and seven of her most prominent Facebook friends with personalized, knowing notes, like, “Hope your babysitter’s free, Mallory, because next ladies steak night is on me. ;)”