Friday, December 7, 2012

gift-giving and card-sending for slackers

File this post in the random {unpaid} promotion of stuff that makes my life easier.

I admit it, I'm a terrible Christmas shopper. In almost all other aspects of my life I'm on top of things, but gift shopping is usually left until the last minute when the malls are empty of quality and free shipping is a distant memory. I love giving gifts, but I think I take it too personally, and end up never finding that "perfect" present that absolutely captures the relationship between myself and the gift recipient. But thanks to the wonders of the internet, my gift-giving impairment is getting a lot help these days.

For the ladies in my life I want to give gifts that provide luxury without being over the top, and I think I finally found the right thing. Thanks to my obsessive blog reading, I learned about a now very popular sample subscription service and joined up about a year and a half ago. Each month I get a little box of fun in the mail with all sorts of things I would never buy myself: shiny lip gloss, fancy lotions, bold perfumes, etc. etc. It's also the perfect thing for a foreign service nomad, since nothing is more fun when you are far from home than getting a package in the mail (even if it is from yourself). I loved it so very very much that I bought my sister a membership for her birthday and am now trying to figure out who else "needs" a membership.

And despite my lack of gifting skills, I've always loved sending postcards. Of course, most people think of sending postcards when they are relaxing over a latte in far-flung foreign cafes, but I think postcards should be everyday fun, and thanks to a fun iphone app, they can be. Postagram takes all your fancy insta'ed, hipster'ed iphotos and lets you send a real, live postcard to anyone whose address is in your phone (or that you have memorized).  There's also a version for cards, so holiday cards may be a making a comeback and recently launched an app that lets you send whole gift packages of stuff to your friends.

Sadly, the postcards and other iphone sent cards and gifts lack the authenticity of the foreign stamp and postmark from Chamonix, Moscow, or Siem Reap that make travel gloating oh so fun.

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