04 March 2007

The girlfriend birthday present.

I want to say up front that even though this post may seem self-serving, it sincerely isn't. For some cruel reason, what should be four straight weeks of celebrating all things me - a 31-day Johanna jamboree, if you will - is actually a without-a-break month of present buying for the disproportionate number of Pisces in my circle of friends.

I'm sure it sounds wholly insensitive, but I have created tiers of present-worthiness among my friends. A girl on a budget has no choice but to do so.

In my hierarchy, there are several groups: the $10-and-under just-met-you-but-think-you-have-potential friends, the $20-and-under happy-hour-and-brunch-only friends, the $50-and-under I-like-you-enough-to-tell-you-about-my-personal-life friends, and the $100-and-under inner sanctum of family members and I'm-willing-to-Tivo-your-shows-even-though-I-don't-watch-them friends.

I've also had the displeasure of recently discovering a new group: the you're-on-your-way-out friends. These special girls can expect nothing more than a one-liner in a $.99 card.

I should also mention that the price points I've set are nothing more than ceilings; if I find my preggers sister-in-law - and fellow March 6th celebrant - the perfect gift for $26.75 at a vintage boutique, I don't need to continue looking to spend $73.25. The goal, after all, when purchasing a girlfriend birthday present is not to demonstrate how much cash you were willing to drop on her, but rather, how successful you were in procuring the most so-her item.

Below, I've put together some ideas for every level of girlfriend.

Happy purchasing!

$10 and under:
- A jumbo bag of her favorite candy and a 20 oz. of her favorite soda
- Her favorite '80s movie on DVD (usually in a bin by the register)
- An OPI nail polish in her preferred color palette
- A bag of good coffee beans/tea leaves
- A high-quality card from a specialty shop
- Her own travel-size bottle of the lotion she's always borrowing from you
- Baking her favorite cupcakes/scones/muffins
- Gourmet treats or a toy for her pet (believe me)
- A bar of soap from Lush

$20 and under:
- A vintage scarf
- A manicure at her favorite salon
- A tissue-soft Charlotte tee from Urban Outfitters
- A high-quality lipstick/gloss in her preferred color palette
- An autographed copy of her favorite author's book**
- A pair of sexy underwear (when in doubt, buy them too small)
- Her favorite luxe hair product you know she's almost out of

$50 and under:
- Two tickets to a 9:30 Club show
- A vintage clutch or cocktail ring
- An on-sale Ella Moss tee from shopbutante.com
- A pedicure or bikini wax at her favorite salon
- Flowers at work (this makes every woman's day)
- A cute pair of on-sale flats
- A good bronzer brush
- A one-year subscription to her favorite magazine
- A bottle of Moet & Chandon, Veuve, or her favorite wine

$100 and under:
- A blouse she'd love but never buy herself
- A haircut or manicure/pedicure at her favorite salon
- A contribution toward the new pair of premium jeans she wants
- A cute pair of regular-priced flats
- Her favorite perfume you know she's almost out of
- A clutch to complement her new favorite shoes
- The DVD box set of her favorite TV show
- A vintage dress
- A great cuff
- $50 in singles and four drinks on you at Camelot

* credit for this idea goes to the ever-thoughtful L
** the trick is to keep your eyes open year-round for this gift


brown rowergirl said...

Awesome ideas! And don't worry, you're not the only one who puts price points on her girlfriends :-)

I do have to wonder, however, into which group *I* fall...

knew you as hannie said...

So...if I get a greeting card and nothing else, that means I'm in danger of being taken off "the list"?

I'm freaked out now!

And the world should know that you are the birthday master; in the 11 years I've known you, not once have you forgotten me!

west coast devotee said...

I second the birthday memory on our editrix. It's unbelievable. In the 8 years I've known her, I've gotten 8 birthday cards and 8 phone calls.

None of my cards, however, were of the $.99 variety...what does this mean, JC? Am I in my own special category?

I beg to differ said...

I love the stamps idea!

brown bear '02 said...

The mani/pedi idea is sooo good. It's the perfect gift, because it's something we won't always indulge in, but when given the option, we can't wait to do it. And buying the gift certificate at the person's favorite salon is a nice personal touch.

D said...

you may as well know that i spent the last few of my mornings after work reading your blog archives instead of having much needed sleep...

Thanks for these suggestions!

Crank said...

Genius, genius, GENIUS!!! But what about wedding gifts?
I'm having some complications in this field and I could use your sage advice. What's an appropriate spending limit for the suprised-she-even-remembered-your-name-to-mail-you-an-invitation friend versus the bailed-you-out-of-jail-after-the-bachelorette-party friend? Thank you!!!!