the evil female gift guide
tasteful. refined. delightful. whimsical. for all of the loved ones in your life!
The days are getting shorter, the nights colder, the wine more mulled, the music more festive. Looking for gifts for your friends, lovers, enemies, parents, polycule, coworkers, and children? Look no further! I would like to think of myself as an excellent giftgiver with great taste, so I will graciously let you in on some of my favorite gifts to give out.
Penguin UK Classics Books ($2-20)
When I moved to London for grad school, I fell in love with the Marxist bookstores that dot the city and the gorgeous UK editions of books I already owned. The UK Penguin really truly is superior to its American branch, and they ship to the US. Some of my favorite series are the Great Ideas books and the Penguin Modern collection, which run at about $2-5 each.
Real Vintage Movie Posters From VintageCinemaArt on Etsy ($50 and up)
I cannot recommend this Etsy store enough. They have beautiful, well preserved posters from some of the best and most fun movies of the last several decades. I bought a poster for La Chinoise, and after a big kerfuffle with shipping I was able to get my poster beautifully packaged and preserved and I cannot wait to frame it and hang it on my wall!! They’re high quality historical documents. I’m even scared to share this because there are so many that I want for myself. (If anyone’s interested, you can send me the posters for Female Trouble, Portnoy’s Complaint, Barbarella, Eraserhead, Gummo, Harold and Maude, or this totally bonkers poster for a 1960s movie called Revolution.)
Archival prints in thrifted picture frames (FREE)
Wikimedia Commons and the Smithsonian have large, public domain archives of high-quality prints. In addition to not stealing from small artists, you also get to engage in the wonderful practice of digging through archives and finding something unique and special. A charming vintage frame ties the gift together, and your recipient will have a thoughtful and curated piece of art to hang in their home. (Bonus: I also love to frame things that weren’t meant to be framed: greeting cards, plane tickets, book covers…thoughtfully framing your sentimental scraps and matting them with some colored paper can make for a really meaningful gift.)
An instructional class—cooking, woodworking, etc (VARIABLE)
Tuesday is date night in the Charlie-Charlie household, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s taking a class. They can vary in cost, from free classes at the library to expensive and bespoke multi-session courses in obscure skills. Skill-based classes will teach you something new, and many classes let you take things home after! Rug tufting, tango, sushi making, upholstery, ice carving…I think doing something you’ve never done before puts off a lot of pressure to be good and you can focus on just enjoying yourself. If you want to extend the gift, combine a class with a dinner or lunch reservation before or after.
Vintage Swatches ($60-80)
At first, I was just going to suggest the whole of the MoMA Design Store. Then, I was going to suggest any of the great museum stores: SFMoMA, Brooklyn Museum, the Tate Modern, LACMA (their Yoshitomo Nara collection is to die for), the Bauhaus Museum…but I figured anyone who’s opening up my gift guide knows they can buy beautiful and expensive things in the gift stores of museums that display beautiful and expensive things. The great thing about vintage Swatches is that they are relatively inexpensive, very unique, and you can match them to the personality and tastes of the person you are buying them for. Etsy is the place to go.
Belvoir Syrups and Cordials ($12)
A beautiful, timeless, and tasteful gift. I think it’s a perfect alternative to a bottle of wine. You can drink them with a bit of seltzer water or lemonade, or use as a cocktail syrup. The drinks are fun and unique and the bottles are stunning, even seeing them on the shelf at World Market paints a prim picture of picnics in the park and a freshly picked peony in the empty bottle. Perfect for a new friend, coworker, or relative.