You know those crazy people who buy their Christmas gifts by July? They think way far ahead or have a knowledge of bonkers sales or they always seem to find the perfect thing for that super specific someone? That’s not my family. Usually, we’re all texting each other about what’s the right thing to get who really last minute (hopefully before the 23rd, but, dude, we cut it close). With such procrastination, you need guidance: My family is a huge proponent of lists.

Whether it’s for an extended family grab bag or for an immediate fam member’s one-and-only, lists are something that are necessary to make last-minute shopping go smoothly. As a kid, I was all about it. I had specific wants and needs, and if the wrong color Power Ranger was purchased then the whole thing would be ruined. As an adult, it feels silly to write a list: All the stuff I really want or need, I usually get myself. That’s why I find it necessary to get creative with my list, thinking beyond the inevitable iTunes cards I’m sure to get in my stocking. If your family is anything like mine, the following ideas will help you think beyond the gift card with your own wish list.


1. Upgrade from Hand-Me-Downs: There are a lot of things we get by with in our first apartments — eating every meal on a cracked IKEA plate set, hacking your food because you don’t really have the right tools to cook it like the home chef you want to be, getting cozy under a throw you’ve had since college. While they’re easy to overlook day to day, now’s the time to ask for quality upgrades. Pro tip: If that ask is for a big ticket item, like the Kitchen Aid you’ve always wanted, take an extra thoughtful approach and invite whoever got it for you over to your pad to see it in action in your space. In this case, a free dinner using your new kitchen gadget would def be in the cards for them.

2. Personalize Your Place: Those extra special touches are really what makes a house a home, so fill up those blank walls + empty sills with creative trinkets that feel very you. That succulent garden you always dreamed of? The wall hanging you eyed at the last craft fair you were at (good thing you grabbed her business card!)? The rug that will really pull your studio together? Link your fam up.

3. Think Experiences: What if there’s no one thing that you want or need? Aim for something that will enrich you intellectually, like a museum membership (first dibs on exclusive exhibits? Yes please!), brewery tour or improv theater pass. Is there an event, conference or festival that is way too $$$, but with a kickback from the ‘rents, you could totally attend? We’re thinking donations toward Coachella or CES would be dope, or if travel is more your thing, money toward an Airbnb for your next adventure abroad.


4. Concentrate on YOU: Treat yo’ self by having someone else treat you! The key here is to ask for gifts that will actually fit in with your daily routines. Maybe a yoga class pass would def help you unwind after busy days at work, or taking a class would help you reconnect with your creativity and up your hobby or passion that’s been taking a back seat. Don’t want to leave the house? Don’t take easy before-bed pampering items like bath bombs, sheet masks and some nice candles that help you decompress off the table.

5. Get *Fancy*: Admit it — you’ve been really hawk-eying that necklace you pinned forever ago, but have been reluctant to shell out the big bucks yourself when the options for your week are jewelry or gas. What about that flannel PJ set that you’re dying to wear all winter long but can’t bring yourself to get? (The sweats you wear now are… fine). Act on those wish list items!

6. Remember, You Can Read: If you’ve been meaning to read an imaginary stack of books that you have yet to buy for months/ years, then throw some of them on your list. And since Amazon is everyone’s best friend this time of year, they’re easy for just about anyone to grab, even as a list-minute idea.


7. Let Out Your Inner Kid: Indulge in your inner child’s Christmas list from back in the day and have some fun with your list. Add an adult coloring book or quirky-cool gadget to the top of your list (like a freakin’ drone, people!). Or maybe you just want something to pull out at parties that will make you + your guests LOL. We’ve got tons of ideas for that…

8. Expedite Your Errands: We’re living in an era of subscription services, so why not give in to the straight-to-your-door lifestyle this upcoming year? Some of our faves include Blue Apron — because grocery shopping after work sucks — Memebox for the latest in Korean beauty trends and HBO Now, because Winter is Coming… and so is the new season of Girls.

What would you put on your grown-up list? Let us know in the comments!