It's that time of the year again when you shell out your hard earned money, or put a bunch of junk on your credit card because your firm has delayed bonuses until January. That's right, it's Post-Thanksgiving, or whatever we're supposed to call the season to piss off Bill O'Reilly.
Gift giving can always be a struggle, especially when it comes to legal professionals. After all, what do you get the person who already has nothing to live for? It's a quandry, but we're here to help you through it with some dos and don'ts on common gift types.
What not to get: Lawyer crap. Books about law, briefcases, an ugly nicknack that says "durrr-hurrr, yer a lawderp!"
What to get instead: Some people do actually like that crap. Their entire identity is tied up in being a lawyer and they love making sure everyone who so much as smells them is aware. If your friends and family are like this, then what you should get is some new friends or family.
For normal people though, there are some fun office accessories out there, mostly from Think Geek. There's a collapsable 2oz shot glass, a whiteboard that folds up and fits in your pocket, stickers to add some personality to your inanimate office supplies, medieval weapon pushpins, and for the person who keeps pissing off coworkers and clients, a bulletproof clipboard.
For current students or people in small firms that don't have an unlimited supply budget, there's nothing quite like Post-It highlighter/sticky flag combos.
What not to get: Anything with an idiotic cutesy pattern, be it Christmas lights or Tabasco bottles. No one wants a tie they can never wear.
What to get instead: Thomas Pink. Yes, they're pricey, but they're also lovely. If you're going to get someone a piece of clothing, it needs to be at least on par with what they already have or else it's wasted. Thomas Pink ties can run close to $200 each, but you can take advantage of the holiday sales. [Thomas Pink ties on sale.]
The same rules apply to other fashion accessories, such as cufflinks. Crap is never an acceptable gift.
What not to buy: Anything related to law, or law practice, or law practice management. Dude needs a break from that shit. Also don't get Game of Thrones. Yeah, we went there. And yes, the first book is awesome. And the second book is pretty good, too. And the third book is holy shit balls fantastic. We're giving GoT the thumbs down because the fourth book is utter crap. They're also a huge time commitment (book 3 is about 900 pages), and he's not going to have much time after the holidays.
What to buy instead: For guys, anything by Chuck Palahniuk is going to be good. For the ladies, you might want to go a little bit old school, with The Devil Wears Prada. Aside from a few parenthetical exclamation points (!) it's actually a pretty entertaining read. And it's not a story about fashion, it's a story about having a tyrannical asshole boss. Something lawyers can relate to (and really, guys, you'd like it just as much).
If he doesn't already have an e-reader, you can get him a Kindle. Even better though, before you give it to him head over to Amazon and fill it up with all the classics that are in the public domain and available for free.
And of course, there's The Walking Dead graphic novels.
What not to get: Assassins Creed 3. Halo 4. Call of Duty Black Ops II. Dishonored. Borderlands 2. Basically any video games.
What to get instead: Probably not any video games. Let's face it, the gaming industry is in a major slump and has been for years. They have problems with core gameplay mechanics, the writing is bad, and single player modes often have about 2 minutes of total play time. The best game out there right now is probably Diablo 3 now that the 1.0.5 patch has made the thing not suck, but D3 is incredibly time consuming and not really a fit diversion for a learned professional.
If you're dead set on a video game, ...Halo Anniversary?
Ah, booze. Of course we were going to end with this.
What not to get: Johnnie Walker red, gold, green, or blue. They're all over priced and over rated. Also don't get any gimmicky flavored vodkas, because, and we can't say this enough, crap is not a gift.
What to get instead: Johnnie Walker Black is the go-to Scotch for its price range. If you want to go higher end, head for The Balvenies. If you want a bourbon instead of Scotch, Maker's Mark is never inappropriate, and the red wax is a bit festive looking. As an alternative, get a bottle of Maker's 46, especially if you think the recipient hasn't tried it yet.
If you want to go in the direction of something clear, Rain and Tito's vodka are both excellent and very inexpensive. Of course, you might want to go more upscale. Avoid Crystal Skull. The bottle is interesting, and yeah, it's made by Dan Aykroyd, but it's not worth the money. If you can find it, pick up a bottle of Double Cross.
On the much cheaper end of booze, there's always beer. Get something better than the normal swill most people drink. Anything from Dogfish Head is going to be good, or you can search for a grocery store that has a build your own six pack and get a variety. Just don't show up with the Heineken Holiday 5 Pack:
Heineken? Fuck that shit! PABST BLUE RIBBON!
If you go get beer, be advised that it's very bad to let cold beer warm back up. If you don't think you can get it to your recipient cold, it's best to buy beer that's not in the refrigerated section.
Lastly, we want to remind everyone that Drink What You Kill Round 2 is still going and will last until January 31st. If you're ordering anything through Amazon, you can rack up some Drink What You Kill points and maybe win yourself a nice prize. Our Round 1 winner got $130 of wine. ...Okay, $60 of wine, because we got it through Wine Woot, but still, that's a nice piece of swag for just buying the shit you were already going to buy. And it puts a couple bucks into our pockets, so you won't feel like you need to get us anything this holiday season. [Click here for the official DWYKR2 rules.]