What She Wants

Gift Guide: What Do Truly Rich People Give Their Friends (and Frenemies) For Christmas?

Christmas gift ideas for the woman who has everything and the frenemy you have to play nice with, according to the Truly Rich Lady.

Anyone who takes Christmas seriously would have already finished the ever-welcome task of bestowing people with objects that sum up how you feel about them. Of course, not everyone is the Truly Rich Lady, a festive Christmas person, who is currently on a pre-holiday escape, because her gifts have already been signed, sealed, and delivered.

I will return in time for the proper celebrations, but in the meantime—and at the cost of giving away my secrets—here is what I usually give to my Truly Rich Family and Friends (and everybody else).

For the Truly Rich Mother Who Has Seen It All

The woman who has everything is the most difficult person to shop for. If you give her something expensive, she will show you the same thing but even more precious. If you give her something unique, she will just leave it atop the pile of other curious things in her collection.

I’ve realized that the best course of action is to give her a gag gift. Yes, that’s a joke gift that will, at least, produce a smile on her face. A few Christmases ago, I gave her an absurdly large pillow in the shape of an open book, because she was always complaining about the aches she gets after spending the day reading books in bed. This year, she is complaining about how bright the lights are in our home. I am planning to get her a medieval knight's head armor.

For the Truly Rich Acquaintance Who I Need to Play Nice With


Mind you, there are only a handful of people that I need to cozy up to. Maybe three. Okay, four. Right now, I am in the middle of remodeling a hillside manor that requires one more signature from a most beautiful and generous member of the board, who happens to be a neighbor

For her, a big orange box in a big orange bag. It really does not matter what’s inside because what’s important is it is from this old French house. I have found that the large scarf, a heavy change tray, and even a set of placemats soften hearts the most. (It is because the box is bigger.) As with all presents, this comes with a note: “To my dearest friend...”

For the Truly Rich Sister With Whom You Have an Agreement

The agreement is you give her something nice and she gives you something nice. And if one of you are dissatisfied with the gift, you must have it exchanged at the store for an object of a higher price.

That last bit is an incentive to give her what she really likes.

Of late, the sister has returned to baking, so I went to the grocery! In her gift basket, woven by indigenous tribeswomen, are gluten-free flour, confectioners sugar, and salt. Okay, there’s also a linen apron, a glass cake plate, a cinnamon bun pan, and a set of copper beating bowls. I do not want to go back to the grocery.

For the Truly Rich and Old Aunt Who Expects Something Fabulous

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She has a big mouth. If you do not give her something impressive, you will hear about it from… the friend of the yoga instructor of your second cousin. Luckily, Old Aunt is easily dazzled by the many number of things that come in gift sets, especially beauty sets.

Advent calendars with 24 little surprises are a godsend, but this year, I am putting together a set of Tom Ford beauty things and lipsticks. For her big mouth, the Fucking Fabulous lip color, the Extort lip sculptor, and the L’Enfer lip color. She will not get it.

For the Truly Rich Best Friend Who Insists She is in Her 20s

I support the impossible dreams of a friend who struts around like a person who hasn’t figured out what she wants to do in her life, but nevertheless looks good while being clueless.

To go with the duck pout on her Instagram feed are all things trendy from specialty boutiques: an ear cuff that I could never pull off, that beach cover up to cover up her bits, a bucket bag dripping with seashells, or a handpainted scarf. These also work for a woman who is actually in her 20s.

For the Truly Rich Frenemy (or the Holy)

I am still not over that time when she said that my face was as big as her favorite fruit (a cantaloupe!) and I am sure she has never forgotten the day when I complimented her shapely cankles.

But even if she does not contribute to my joy, I want my frenemy to become part of someone else’s happiness. In her name, I shall make a (reasonable) donation to the charity of my choosing. Of course, the certificate of donation, wrapped in a big orange box, shall be sent to her house.


For the Many Other People on Your List

This also applies to members of the club, the wife of that person, the teacher of your children, and the tireless workers who make your life easier. A lush arrangement of flowers or a tray of food or sweets are the go-tos, but these are temporary. 

I prefer sending a monogrammed set of papers that they can use throughout the coming year. I shall choose the design based on how I met them: an antique broom for the cleaners, a generic flower for the person I cannot remember much about, and so on. Do not make the mistake of stamping your initials on the stationery. You are giving a gift, not running for office.

For The Truly Rich Ex

Under normal circumstances—as in when we were still together—I would give my Truly Rich Ex a carefully selected piece from my favorite fashion stores (a set of cufflinks, a not-for-work watch) because I was on a quest to improve his style.

And he would give me, Si-si Coo, the Truly Rich Lady, something extravagant, which I would try to turn down: “Silly, I don’t need a car! ...But what colors did you say it came in?”

This year, because I have my pride, I am not sending the usual bouquet of flowers with a little box (his present) to his family home. I will instead light a candle and say a little prayer: Merry Christmas to you. And I hope you change your mind. I am kidding, of course.


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