Thursday, 15 December 2016

The Honest Guide: Gifts for People You Don't Know Very Well (or Forgot Existed)

You're at work. You spot someone coming towards you...what was her name again? Sally? Sarah? You helped her out once on that project, but haven't spoken since. What's this? She's carrying something? Oh God, not a gift. You haven't bought her anything! You don't even remember her name!

"Hi Liz," she says merrily. "Happy Christmas! I got you a gift, but it's only something small. I hope you like it." Sally/Sarah hands over the expertly wrapped present. Please be rubbish, please, you tear open the paper and find a perfectly thoughtful gift you very much appreciate. You well up. Sally/Sarah thinks you are touched by the gift. Really, you are lamenting how terrible a person you are for not knowing Sally/Sarah's name, or getting her a gift in return.

"!" you cry, avoiding mentioning any names. "Thank you so much! I have something for you too, I'll bring it in tomorrow." What? No you don't. Why did you say that?! It's too late to backtrack, Sally/Sarah looks so happy as she walks away. Now the covert investigations begin. First, what is Sally/Sarah's actual name? You inspect the gift in your hand - is there a name tag? YES! Oh...her name is Jessamine. Jessamine? She really doesn't look like a Jessamine.

Next, remember any scrap of information about Jessamine. Anything. Did she have a polar bear figurine on her desk that one time you were there? Can you assume she likes cute things? You'll have to go with it, it's all you remember. Next stop: the shops.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you have people you don't know very well that you need to buy gifts for (for whatever reason, no judgement here). Well then, worry not, because this is the guide for you! Find the perfect* gift for all those acquaintances, work colleagues you talked to once, and your cousin's sister's boyfriend's brother.

*loosely defined.

Category 1, The Jessamine: £1 - £10, (click descriptions to be taken to the seller's page):

She did indeed have a polar bear on her desk. Polar bears and snowmen are similar, right? These are cute. These are definitely cute.

You saw her reading that book one time. It was long.

Well...everyone drinks tea in the office.

She was wearing heavy knitwear when you saw her, even though it was mild outside - maybe she gets cold easily!

Everyone needs a diary right? Right?

You remember overhearing Jessamine say this phrase to someone. Once. Which is of course enough.

Category 2, The "My Relative/Loved One Will Moan If I Don't By This Person a Gift", £11 - £25:

You don't know much about the person you're buying for, other than every time you see them, they have immaculately painted nails. It's sort of annoying, actually.
Well they must like baking, because you've sure as hell heard, "Oh, have you tasted my lemon drizzle?" enough times

For the person who always gifts you with fancy chocolate - fancy chocolate.

What are the actual chances that this won't go down well? 

Their house is a fire hazard of open flames - what's another one to add to the mix?

For that person who is always correcting you - yes you know how to pronounce "escargatoire", thank you very much! Or at least, you know now.

Category 3, The "Dear God How Did I Forget to Buy This Person a Gift", £26 to infinity and beyond:

In my opinion, the only last minute gift you can buy that could possible make up for such a blunder on your part is a hamper. A really nice hamper.

There are cheaper hampers out there...but you really need to save face.

And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this gift guide, and maybe even found it useful in finding presents for your own Jessamines out there. I plan to make The Honest Guide a regular feature, so look out for some more honest tips to come.

Happy shopping!


  1. Ha ha! Love it! I've been on both ends of this scenerio. Luckily, if I'm on the giving end, I'm not expecting anything in return but I do realize I'm putting pressure on the givee. These are super cute ideas.

  2. Oh yes! I love all of these picks - especially the diary and candle! If I ever find myself in this situation, the person usually gets a box of chocolates! Must try harder!

  3. Great ideas!!! I usually keep a small gift on hand, wrapped. Of course, then you have to explain not having a tag when they show up by surprise! I am baking candy this weekend for neighbors...I'm just going to hold onto it in case they stop by. I'm not what you would call an extrovert! Last year the guy across the street bought us something and I was prepared with a I'm going to have a candy tin with tags for three of the neighbors we know just in case!!!

  4. Haha, this made me smile. Epsecially love the one about imaculated painted nails. It always bothers me when I paint mine and I see chips. xD


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