Monday, 23 December 2013

Yes, I finally have an excuse to google season appropriate lolcats.

Penafiel is soaked in Christmas spirit.
Not only you hear Christmas songs in every shop you enter, there's also a public soundsystem all over the main street, playing carols all day long. Teenager temp workers were hired by the Shopkeepeers' Union, to dress up like Santa and hand out balloons, screaming "hohoho" with their squeaky pubescent voices.
To make it even better, a dutch Circus is coming to town. Their poster is too good for words to describe it:

There's no snow, but that just means you can get to wear prettier shoes to all the Christmas dinner parties. Facebook events are all over the place and though I cherish the prospect of eating loads of desserts, it's time to start worrying about getting presents for all this people.

Do you feel confused about the weird tradition of wrapping things in flashy paper and handing them away? Are you clueless about what to offer this Christmas?
Don't worry.
I'm here for you.

This seasonal blog post will be about

When deciding what to give someone for Christmas (or any other present-giving holiday) keep in mind this golden rule: All gifts fall into one of this 3 categories - useful, fun and/or sentimental. 

A great gift would fulfill all three, but that's pro-level gift giving. The best trick for you beginners is to just focus in one category and the rest will follow.

This has been my dad's technique for years. My mother needs a new mixer...we shall give her one.
People always need more stuff. From keychains a high-tech GPS. You just need to pay attention. Practical gifts can't go wrong, unless your aunt has been complaining how much she needs a cheese grater to everyone in the family, and on Christmas day you're not the only one offering her that. But, even then, that's her problem not yours.

And, to be honest, there's no such thing as too many cheese graters.

This are my favourite. The main idea is to give people something they probably would love to have but won't buy it for themselves, because it's not a priority.
For example, a party wig. No one ever buys a wig without having a purpose, people get one when they're planning to dress up for a costume party. But it's so nice to have a new wig just for the sake of it! 
A karaoke machine, glow in the dark face paint, inflatable palm trees are some of the things a responsible adult wouldn't buy, but are super cool. You wouldn't know how much you needed them until someone gave them to you.

This gifts that are somehow symbolic of your relationship with the giftee. A photo, matching friendship bracelets, a sweet mixtape... The sentimental gift can be handmade, but not necessarily.
It's nice when it's about an inside joke between the both of you. When I say it's sentimental I don't mean everyone will hug and cry after unwrapping it. It can be hilarious! 
Sometimes the best thing you can offer is a few good laughs. So go ahead and record yourself clumpsly dancing to one of the new Beyonce songs and send it to a special friend.

After considering what kind of present you want to offer, bear in mind this two tips:


I know it's a cliché to offer socks. But, it's a cliché for a reason - it's an awesome gift!
Everyone wears socks!
(except that international student from Brasil, two years ago, that wore sandals all his life before he came to live in Porto)

Socks can be slick and sexy, or comfy and silly. They come in all sizes, and colours and materials! THE CHOICES ARE INFINITE! SOCKS ARE INFINITE!


offer live animals.

If you're friend wants a pet, let him get one. Offer him a kitty litter, NOT the kitty.
There are other ways to make animal-loving people happy besides giving them something to adopt. Some dog shelters have a special days when you can take the dogs for a walk. Make that your present - take your friend there for a fun afternoon. Or donate to a animal charity in their name. Or buy this Gemma Correl's totebag.

Any of this things are better than giving someone a living thing they will need to feed, clean and take care of from now on.

So, that's about all the advise I can gather.
If after this you still have no ideas of what to offer your loved ones tomorrow night, check the wikipage for Saturnalia, the ancient roman festival that preceded christianity. They also gave presents to each other:

"In his many poems about the Saturnalia, Martial names both expensive and quite cheap gifts, including writing tablets, dice, knucklebones, moneyboxes, combs, toothpicks, a hat, a hunting knife, an axe, various lamps, balls, perfumes, pipes, a pig, a sausage, a parrot, tables, cups, spoons, items of clothing, statues, masks, books, and pets.[38] Gifts might be as costly as a slave or exotic animal,[39] but Martial suggests that token gifts of low intrinsic value inversely measure the high quality of a friendship.
In a practice that might be compared to modern greeting cards, verses sometimes accompanied the gifts. Martial has a collection of poems written as if to be attached to gifts.[42] Catullus received a book of bad poems by "the worst poet of all time" as a joke from a friend.[43]"

Isn't this great? I wouldn't mind receiving a hunting knife, or a mask or a bad poetry book. Apart from the slave giving thing, this is full of precious gift ideas.

Now go and find a shop that sells knucklebones.
*Merry Christmas*


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