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LAP’s Awkward Situation Holiday Gift Guide

It wouldn't be the holiday season without at least one awkward gift-giving situation that has you completely stumped. Luckily, awkward is pretty much our specialty here at Long Awkward Pause. So without further ado, here's the very first edition of LAP's Awkward Situation Holiday Gift Guide. awksit


Dealing with your passive aggressive in-laws is complicated, because if it weren’t for your sig oth, you would never let these people into your house, let alone buy them a present. What gift could possibly be appropriate for this situation?

A food storage set: Walk right into Bed, Bath, and Beyond and pick out the most impersonal, 17-piece set of knock-off Tupperware that you can find. Do not get a gift receipt. Nothing says, “I wish you weren’t here,” quite like food storage.

A gag gift that will hit a nerve: Think back on the past six months. Did your mother-in-law recently fail at starting her own handmade soap business? Get her some business cards. Did good ol’ father-in-law fall into the pond while fishing last summer vacation? Get him one of those singing fish. This is your chance. Don’t hesitate to take it.

Pamphlets for a senior living community: Subtle reminders and holiday gift-giving go hand in hand.



Of all the people in the office you could’ve pulled out of that Santa hat, you got the coworker everyone hates. You have to spend exactly $10 on this person. What in the world do you buy?

Gas station gift card: Ten dollars worth of Slurpees and gasoline are probably more than that coworker deserves.

Air freshener for the car: Two out of five office jerks drive cars filled with the funky aroma of pompousness, incompetence, and white cheddar cheese.

A weird bobblehead: Make sure it’s not a from a TV show or movie that they actually like–that’s a rookie mistake. Generally, Betty Boop or Yosemite Sam will do the trick.



No matter what you buy The Guy Who Only Likes Video Games and Expensive Electronics, it’s going to be wrong. You’ll accidentally buy last year’s version of something that doesn’t have enough memory or this super special feature that he doesn’t need and won’t use but really wants to have. How can you be sure you’ll get the right thing?

A Best Buy gift card: No guy that likes movies, electronics, or video games has ever been let down by receiving a Best Buy gift card. If you don’t know exactly what he wants, get the gift card so he doesn’t have to stand in the return line the day after Christmas while some bespectacled Geek Squad employee gives him the hairy eyeball.




For the past 3-6 months, your significant other has been dropping subtle hints (like leaving her elaborate wedding board on Pinterest open) that she’s ready to get engaged, but Santa can’t afford a ring and/or isn’t ready to commit this Christmas. How do you get through the holiday alive?

A puppy: Sparky kind of sounds like sparkly which is what a diamond ring would have been if you had bought one. Getting a puppy proves that you’re committed enough to have a pet together, and it might just be enough to buy you a little more time.

Some other kind of jewelry: DO NOT BUY ANYTHING THAT COMES IN A SMALL SQUARE BOX. No brooches, pins, or earrings. You do not want – even for one second – her to think she’s getting a ring. Get a beautiful necklace; like one engraved with the latitude and longitude of where you two met.

Something thoughtful and romantic: Seriously, just go on Etsy’s website and search for “custom anniversary gifts” and pick something good.



You thought you were clear. ‘Twas the week before Christmas Eve, and this person just dropped a gift bag with your name on it. What happens now??

The Silent Treatment: Do you really want to associate with someone who can’t follow simple instructions? You don’t need that in your life.

One of the expensive cards from Hallmark: You know the Signature collection that features cards bedazzled with half a pound of glitter and music that plays automatically when the card opens? That’s what you need. Don’t get a gift, because that’s not what was agreed upon. Giving a nice card displays your gratitude, maintains justice, and saves you money.

The gift you thought about getting him or her, but didn’t buy because you were totally cool with not exchanging gifts: Sometimes going back to square one is the easiest. After all, maybe he or she thought, “Don’t get me a gift” really meant, “I want a gift, but I feel uncomfortable admitting that I’m expecting a really great surprise from you.”



Ah, parents. The ones who remember a simpler time before The Twitter. They hate just about everything, so what gift should you get for dear old mom and/or dad?

When you find out, let me know. 



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About Katie (16 Articles)
Katie Hoffman is a writer living in the suburbs of Chicago. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @bykatiehoffman.

10 Comments on LAP’s Awkward Situation Holiday Gift Guide

  1. I know which parent you’re talking about. The one who doesn’t fish, play poker, hunt, watch sports, or use the computer, and lives in the tundra. I’m opting for a warm piece of head apparel — the kind that covers everything except the eyes. That, and maybe a bottle of red.


  2. Perfect suggestions! I’ll take the ones about the in-laws – though I might extend these ideas to my own immediate family. The most difficult is buying for a techno-phobe husband with VERY specific and expensive hobbies. Socks all around!


  3. What about framed pictures of yourself? This ought to alienate everyone you know, so every Christmas afterward will be easy. Yes, I knew someone who actually did this.


  4. Reblogged this on The Busted Up Blog and commented:
    lol nice… reposting


  5. LOL … just leave it at that 😛


  6. At one time or another I’ve received all of the above from my Mister. However, I won’t be showing him this post. I’m still hoping for something that sparkles this Christmas. And that’s not a new toilet…like over at Oma’s house.


  7. I got an inflatable unicorn horn for a white elephant exchange.


  8. I should probably send this to my co-workers so they can know what to get their annoying co-worker for the gift exchange. Too late this year, but maybe they can use it next year.


  9. These seem like good suggestions. Then again, I really enjoy it when I get socks and cereal as gifts.


  10. Someone I worked with got his “crush” as a Secret Santa recipient and proceeded to give her some lingerie. Needless to say that person was no longer employed. And it was the end of the Secret Santa there.


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