With that in mind, I'm exasperated each holiday season when the gift guides start appearing in magazines, catalogs and websites. I love the concept of a guide of the season's best picks for everyone on your list (I've even written a few myself). Thing is, my list doesn't include Kate Middleton or Oprah. Throughout the recession, I've expected to see dialed-down gift ideas, presents you can buy on the cheap or even make. Instead, we get suggestions like this, featured in the November issue of Lucky: "Brit designer Charlotte Olympia's cheeky little cat flats strike the perfect balance between playful and posh."
These shoes retail for $895.
Call me catty, but who is buying these shoes, for themselves or as gifts? When a gift guide recommends keeping bottles of Dom or a case of $60 Diptyque candles on hand to give to a hostess or letter carrier, I wonder who gifted the editor with a box of delusion?
Then there's the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. For a cool $250,000, you can buy a dinner party for ten prepared by Chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Jerome Bocuse, and Richard Rosendale. What's a quarter of a mill for an unforgettable evening and a Christmas gift a loved one is sure to appreciate? I mean, who needs to retire, really? Tap that 401K and get your Bocuse d'Or on.
When I read these far-fetched gift guides, I'm constantly reminded of my anemic bank account and what a loser I clearly am (always an awesome attitude with which to enter suicide season, fa la la). I may be delusional myself, but I don't think most families are rocking a five- or six-figure budget for their Christmas list.
Until there are more articles like Real Simple's "50 Gifts Under $50," I'm going to scare up a French Laundry Cookbook or make salted caramels for the lucky ones on my list. Let's hope they appreciate the sentiment, if not the cents, behind the gift.
(photo: Neiman Marcus Christmas Book)