An Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide (Part 7): For the Young Adult

It's here! The final day of our holiday gift guide. That means you're basically done with your shopping, right? RIGHT? Awesome! Great job! [Insert mild guilt trip for those who haven't finished up yet.]

So, we've covered most of our bases thus far (click on each to get their specific gift guide): Artist, Sartorialist, Literati, Techie, Homebody, or Hipster. Some of our giftees may even fall into more than one of these categories, giving you even more gift-giving leeway. Who doesn't love a little consumer flexibility?

But, wait...WAIT! There's one more category we haven't covered! Some may consider it the most difficult of categories. The funny part is, we've all been part of this category at one point or another. The challenge, however, is that times are always changing and so are their tastes.

Who am I talking about? THE YOUNG ADULT!

Good grief, these guys are probably the hardest to gift. They are no longer tiny children who are endlessly amused by blocks, stuffed animals, pop-up books...straws, napkins, sand, air... Nope. Young adults are opinionated, secretive, painfully judgmental (even if they say they aren't), and haven't yet honed the skill to look like they love your gift. THAT skill only gets better with time as we all know.

So, what can we get the future of America without fear of having our hearts crushed to smithereens when you see the utter disappointment in their eyes? My goal with my young adult giftees is to prime the pump for appreciation of design and style. Otherwise, I'd just get my niece One Direction everything and my nephews videogames. (By the way, I do that for their birthdays. It's about balance, people.)

I enjoy torturing myself and being that aunt who is relieved to find out later that their gift is actually being used and, what more, is actually appreciated and helping to shape my young lovelies into better human beings...but the road to success is paved with uncertainty and insecurity. (DRAMATIC!)

Now, let's get down to business, shall we?

Find links to these items below!

Under $25

2014 Bubble Calendar (Get it here.)

I don't care how old you are...popping bubble wrap is one of the best things ever. So easy and satisfying. So fulfilling. And because I can't think of a single person who can't keep themselves from going to town on bubble wrap if given the opportunity, I give you one of my favorite gift ideas that will deliver year after year.

If anything, this calendar will teach your young adult giftee the hard lesson of patience and willpower. (Faced with this calendar, I would have to place it on the floor and writhe all over it, popping every bubble in my joyful, manic wake - I don't have the best self-control when it comes to things of this nature.)

Not only will it teach will power, but it's also a great way to show your giftee how quickly time flies and how they need to really appreciate the time they have. One minute, you're a 5 year old full of wonderment. The next minute, you're worrying about the unemployment rate and whether you've truly followed your dreams or if you're settling. Am I being overly dramatic again? Maybe a little...but there's some truth to what I'm saying. Young adults need to stop trying to grow up so fast and just enjoy their lives, as angsty or confused as they may be.

This gem is on thick 80 lb paper, the numbers are printed in Helvetica Neue font (I'm a fan), and the bubbles are extra big for additional popping satisfaction. Weekends are in bold font to keep them motivated...because no matter how old you are, we're all working for the weekend, yeah?

Happy holidays, young adult. Time to show you that time is of the essence.

$25 - $50

"Art is what you can get away with" Andy Warhol Framed Canvas (Get it here.)

You know what? Young adults don't have enough art in their lives. Decorating their rooms with posters doesn't count...especially when said posters have been moved around a handful of times and now resemble tattered paper towels (unless they have neurotic parents that make them frame everything...and with the advent of Ikea, it's now not only possible, but affordable - I'm digressing.)

So, yes, why not gift this gender-neutral work of art to your loved ones. It will likely convey the very thought that ran through their head that time you took them to the Modern Art Museum and they were standing in front of the 12 ft. x 12 ft. canvas painted all one color. You know, the one all the art critics were gushing about, calling it a tour de force.

With this piece, you're setting your young adult giftee up with an appreciation for tasteful interior design. Soon they'll grow into a wise adult and get over Warhol as we all did when we were growing up - sorry, but soup cans just don't do it for me. (They might end up selling this at a garage sale at some point, but hey, it did its job.) Rest assured, you've prepared them to make keen choices in their lives in regards to wall decor. Thanks to you, they'll be steering clear of neon beer signs (unless they're being ironic) or singing bass (again, unless they're being ironic...but let's hope they get over that phase quickly.)

The future of apartment walls everywhere is counting on you!

$50 - $100

AIAIAI Capital Headphones (Get them here.)

Music has always been the universal glue that holds the psyches of young adults together. Whether they're social beings or hermit-like D&D junkies, a pair of quality headphones are where it's at...and even if they already have a pair they like, there's nothing wrong with having options.

And staying with my tradition of wanting to teach them about design and style, AIAIAI's are, hands down, one of my favorite companies in terms of quality audio gear. They're definitely more popular with the world's DJ's than Beats which, between you and me, are overpriced and underperforming.

These babies are not only super high quality in terms of sound, but also have a crazy durable fiberglass design that withstands unrelenting weather and dirt. So, your young adult giftees can do things like walk dramatically in the rain listening to the most heart wrenching ballads or loudest metal rock without anything short-circuiting. Not only that, but it also has a three-button mic that allows them to take calls (in case Mom calls about the swim meet their suppose to be at right now) or they need to control the volume of their music.

I mean, you can only listen to Slayer for so long at max volume before you start to feel your ear drums shredding.

Also, these are Danish. Extra cool points for imported goods, gift-giver a.k.a coolest aunt/uncle a.k.a "I wish you were my mom/dad" a.k.a "you've set my expectations really high in terms of gift-receiving, just so you know."

Over $100

Tickets to Their Favorite Musical Artist (Get them here.)

Remember when I said that music was the glue that kept the psyches of young adults from dissipating into space dust? Well, this is where you become the coolest aunt/uncle/mom/dad/crazy family friend. Before you go ahead and purchase tickets,  scheme with their guardians to make sure your giftee doesn't miss any bar mitzvahs, dentist appointments, soccer tournaments, and epic sleepovers and schedule accordingly.

Now, let's go over your options:
  • If the young adult is old enough to navigate a venue - get a ticket for them and a friend
    • If your'e not made of money, plan with parents of a one of their friends.
  • If the young adult is not old enough to navigate a venue - get a ticket for him/her and yourself and pray you two really bond over the diner food you'll be eating beforehand so they're not ashamed to be seen with you in public.
    • You can also scheme with their friend's parents to get their friend a ticket and you can just play the chaperone. Take a minute to come to terms with the fact that you're at an age where you are a chaperone. Ok. You good? Good. Also, you like One Direction, right? Guess what. It doesn't matter. It's not about you!
Now, get a big box and handwrite a note inside that says "You're going to the so-and-so concert on such-and-such date with [insert their friend's name here]!" For extra confusion, wrap that note around a brick inside a massive, fully wrapped box. After the initial "you gave me a brick?" expression fades and they read the note, they'll be grateful...and THEN super excited.

Depending on how secretive they are, they might pretend it's no big deal, but they'll probably do a happy dance on their bed later after they close their bedroom door. Good job, gifter! Getting a young adult to do the happy dance is like discovering a dodo (which everyone thought was extinct) hanging out on your couch, pouring tea and asking you if you have any cookies. That's my convoluted way of saying "UNBELIEVABLE & INCONCEIVABLE."

And with that, let's raise a hormonally imbalanced glass to the beloved young adults in our lives. Hopefully, our gifts will give them something to (secretly) smile about in the privacy of their own bedroom while they pretend like it's no big deal.

I will say this, though. If none of the above gifts work for you, my best suggestion is to just take them out to lunch or dinner and talk to them like adults. As long as you're not their parents and you're not condescending, they'll likely start to open up to you within the first hour or so...though I can't promise the first hour will be all that comfortable as you annoyingly pry into their personal lives.

Just be yourself. They're much more likely to respond to that than to someone who's trying to be cool. (But, clearly, I'm not talking about you because your'e cool. So am I. Right? Hello?)

Alright. So, that's it! This concludes my 2013 Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide! Hopefully, you got a few ideas from my musings and if not, feel free to leave comments, ask advice on any other gift ideas for anyone in particular, or email me if you don't want your inability to give gifts to be recorded in public on the Internet. (I'm kidding. Gift giving is super hard. It's nothing to be ashamed of.)

Hope you and your loved ones have a magical holiday season and, really, at the end of the day it's not about the price of the gift or the gift itself, but it's about giving in any way you can and that doesn't actually require any money or material. It just requires lots of love. Happy Holidays! xo!

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