Gwyneth Paltrow’s Gift Ideas

if you do feel like splurging, there are some legitimately adorable or impressive things on the GOOP list, like the Penny Skateboard ($74) and the Light + Ladder Air Plant holders ($150).

Gift for Teacher

“Because you don’t know what everyone else is giving,” says Kim Egan, a mother of two in Santa Monica, Calif. “You don’t want to under-give. You don’t want to over-give.”

Gifts to President Obama

• Large, black Hermes golf accessory bag including set of lock and key, and extra strap in bottom compartment, presented in cream colored drawstring bag. Est. Value - $7,750.00 From: His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic, and Mrs. Carla BruniSarkozy, First Lady of the French Republic

Spend More on an Austen than Austen Herself Made in her Life!

Until recently, the poster languished in the bedroom, leaning against a wall like Jordan Catalano. Then Ben decided that Something Should Be Done and started emailing auction houses.

A Sociologist Looks at Gift-giving

The individual message [of a gift] says, “I value you according to the degree of our relationship” and anticipates the response, “I value you in the same way.” But the compound message that emerges from the unwrapping of gifts in the presence of the whole gathering allows more subtle meanings to be conveyed. It permits the husband to say to the wife, “I value you more than my parents” or the mother to say to the daughter-in-law, “I value you as much as my son so long as you are married to him” or the brother to say to the brother, “I value you more than our absent brothers, but less than our parents and much less than my children.” These statements, taken together, would define and sustain a social structure, if only because, by their gift messages, both parties to each dyadic relationship confirm that they have the same understanding of the relationship and the bystanders, who are interested parties, endorse that understanding by tacit approval.”

The New Republic looked back on a 1979 study by a University of Virginia sociologist named Theodore Caplow who interviewed 110 adults in Muncie, Indiana (AKA “Middletown, USA”) about their Christmas gift-giving experiences the previous year, and explained what he learned. Apparently it’s not just the thought that counts, but it’s also what the gift is and how it’s wrapped. “Money is an appropriate gift from senior to junior kin, but an inappropriate gift from junior to senior kin, regardless of the relative affluence of the parties,” Caplow wrote. That’s actually not how it works in my family, but then again, there’s no indication that Caplow spoke to any Asian American families where cash gifts are so common from junior to senior kin.

Photo: Queen Bee

What to Get for a Person Who Wants Nothing for Christmas

As an adult, when people ask me what I want for Christmas, I say: "Nothing".

La La La (Do 1 Thing)

Thursday is a great day to do that 1 thing you don’t want to do but also don’t want to continue thinking about doing.

My 1 Thing I need to do this week is get some gifts for some birthdays that are coming up this weekend. One of my friends is having a get-together this weekend to celebrate his birth and that of his baby, whose birthday is also this month. Now, does the baby get a gift? Maybe? We’ve talked about this before. In any case, that’s on my list.

What’s on your list?

And as reference to the title of this week’s 1 Thing, here’s that Sam Smith song:

What to Buy When Invited to a Birthday Party for a Baby

I have reached that stage of my life where I've begun to attend the birthday parties of children produced by friends. "What do you buy for a baby?" I asked myself as I looked at the invitation inviting me to a one-year-old's party.

WWYD: Chipping in for the Boss

Your coworkers ask you to contribute $100 for a gift for your boss.