I'll admit it. I'm a TERRIBLE gift giver. I've known my best friends for years. I know some of their deepest darkest secrets, I've seen them take part in terrible fashion fads (don't get me started about one of my friends who wore a Paul Frank shirt everyday for years), I feel like I've seen it all with them. I can tell you what their drink is at Starbucks and what they will most likely order at any given restaurant.
But when it comes to buying my friends gifts, I'm usually stumped. I don't know how it's possible to know someone so well, but not be able to pick out a gift for them. I frequently cop out of the whole gift giving situation by getting them a gift card. I drop the line, "this way you can get what you want." But everyone knows that just means you are too lazy to physically pick out an item. The few times I have ventured into a store and actually purchased a gift it has turned out terribly. I once gave my friend a snow globe. A SNOW GLOBE, does anyone actually have use for that!? The answer is no, but I thought it was brilliant at the time. More...
So while I still struggle when the holiday season comes around, I've found that I can actually find some great gift ideas in Boulder. There may be hope for my gift giving abilities after all! There are some really great little stores that don't sell just the generic department store stuff. This could mean that my dad might get something other than a tie this year. And since I worked on putting part of the Downtown Boulder Gift Guide together, I was able to spend an afternoon browsing through stores along Pearl. I went into stores that I have never been in before and found some great gift ideas. The gift guide has great ideas, and I would highly look at for inspiration for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life. Plus, um, I wrote it, so it's really cool.
My personal favorite store (I could probably find 39,280 items I would like to have for myself) is Paper Doll. They have unique items for everyone and all of the items are actually gift worthy! In my opinion, gifts should not be practical (aka boring) items that someone "needs." The point of buying a gift is to get something for someone that they would not indulge in for themselves. A gift from Penzeys Spices can be a great gift for the foodies out there (and usually results in a delicious home cooked meal--a win-win situation). The weird hippie shops along Pearl are a great place to find a gift for the "cultured" person. I found prayer flags and incense for 50% off for my friend's birthday. It was a huge hit and I only spent $10.00.
I know everyone enjoys gifts, but sometimes you have to draw the line. Even small gifts will add up, and before you know it, you have spent a couple hundred smackeroos on trivial gifts for mere acquaintances. I try to keep my Christmas list to a minimum, which pretty much means immediate family and few close friends. I'm glad the roommates and I have come to an agreement--no gifts. Instead we go on what we refer to as "a roommate date" to a nice restaurant and enjoy each other's company and some delicious food. Last year we went to The Melting Pot, but since one of the roommates has discovered that she is lactose intolerant (thus no gooey cheese fondue) we will be trying something different this year. My vote is the newly remodeled Frasca or Jax.
I know this sounds kind of cheesy, but whether you are on the hunt for that perfect gift or just looking to have a nice holiday dinner, Boulder has options that you won't find anywhere else.