Holiday gift guide: for your unemployed loved ones


I have decided to use my expertise for the good of others, make like proper bloggers do, and create a magical mystical gift guide. But not just any old jewellery-couture-saucepansmadeofgold gift guide; nor even a sports&beer DAD GUIDE: this shall be a very basic gift guide for those of you out there who are buying presents for the unemployed. Or perhaps even, unemployed people.

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Unemployment, as we all know (but don’t necessarily really truly comprehend) is crap. It’s kind of okay not having to do anything all day, but okay in a very neutral, addictive, degrees of death fashion. The bene gesserit were wrong; fear is not the mind killer. It’s stagnation.

It saps your energy, and you can’t forecast a change. People may ask you to your face what you are contributing to society if you don’t have a job, and one of these people may be you. Or they might be your closest family, and they might not be trying to hurt you. Why don’t you get a job? Well, I’m not actually the person who runs human resources, kid. If I was I’d have one already, and I wouldn’t need two.

Basically, it either is or feels like a long-term problem and the road ahead is foggy. One of the more obvious responsibilities an adult has is the circulation of money; the buying, the paying, the banking, and such. An unemployed friend probably doesn’t want you to be all “oh you’re unemployed, here you poor thing, take this cash gift! Ragamuffin!” (although don’t be put off, like, if you’re close) and they probably don’t want you to pile bizarre fripperies upon them when they have enough to worry about without what to do with an objet d’whatever. What’s needed is: silent encouragement, morale and possibly things or services that happen to save them a little money but are appreciably fun and delightful.


1) My (last?) issue of the Oh Comely subscription I treated myself to when I was a little flush last year came today, which is what spurred me to formulate this guide. A magazine subscription is truly a gift that keeps on giving, because it literally does. It’s nice to get post and it’s nicer to get post that’s relevant to your interests, a little island of you in a day of when-will-I. The right magazine will share out good will and care over a few months, a year, or more, depending on how much you have to spend, and a really well-chosen one will inspire and motivate someone who needs it rather badly. Above are my personal top choices, but I’d also recommend Worn, Coven looks interesting, Sideburn is good.. if you know their taste in fiction better than in hobby, try Comixology or Ace.

2) Luxury versions of existing staples. If they love to cook, flavoured oil or upmarket seasonings, even living herbs or two if you know they’re the watering type. BUT YOU HAVE TO KNOW THAT FOR THEM THIS IS LUXURY NOT OBLIGATION. You want them to feel pampered and catered for, not like they need to start doing something that they weren’t before. Unemployed people are told they’re “doing it wrong” quite enough.

3) Nice gloves or arm warmers. Not super-functional ugly ones, and not pretty but incompatible ones either. Think: does this person wear patterns? Ruffles? Are they utilitarian? Do they wear wool, leather, or acrylics? Ask in passing if wool makes them itch, because it’s the warmest. You don’t have to freak out about their precise personal style, you just have to think a bit.


If they’re responsible for all household bills, heat is expensive through winter, and let’s be real: if you give someone with low cash a reason to wrap up warm and feel good about it, they get to lower energy costs under their own steam. If they choose not to, at least they’ll be toasty when they go out. Don’t make hints or judgements. Just provide the option and do it nicely.

4) Are you rich? If you know their hobbies, book an evening class for the both of you. If you’re their parent or other very close relative, offer to pay for their motorcycle CBT (worked for me!) or driving lessons (or car engine? etc…). If you’re not rich, just say “I can’t afford a really nice gift, so lets go to this club together”. Learn or improve a skill or hobby with them. CV advisers LOVE skills and hobbies. And they’re good for the psyche. But you have to do it together, or it’s just setting them homework.

5) Now you may think that this seems like the “charity” that the station porter in The Railway Children so despised. But Christmas hampers have a long tradition and fresh/seasonal/organic/whatever is a luxury, so there. If it comes in a box, it’s a present–and this does.


Veg boxes ask a certain amount of creative dexterity (not too much, just a bit) which is good for the heart. Fresh and dried fruit, nuts or vegetables are good for the mind and body, and these box schemes feel modern: they’re refreshing literally and metaphorically. It’s nice to arrive home to deliveries. Riverford, Abel&Cole, Graze. That said, if they’re in a tricky area with communal post boxes, this might not work.

6) Sweets. They last forever and remind a person of simple joys.


7) Longevity is the gist, here, and this is a good one for that: the first in a series. “I’ll get you the next one for your birthday”, you can say, and then they have something to do AND something to look forward to. Give them one you really love, and then you have plenty of guaranteed conversations. Conversations are nice.


Here’s a list of series, if you’re stumped!

8) Remember how we aren’t judging what people do with their abundant time? Video gaaaames. People like these, they’re fun. And if employed people have time (they do) then so do everyone else. Whether you’re buying for length of extended experience or “replay value”, you should check if they already have a console, and if so which. Alternatively, buy a retired machine on the cheap and pick up a couple of games for it. Just because a console is old, it doesn’t mean there are no games worth playing on it. I don’t game too much but I can recommend any version of Guilty Gear (a fighting game with multiple channels of play) or anything that comes under the Shin Megami Tensei title. Scrolling beat’em ups are hours of happiness for me, too. Ask a salesperson to help you; they need to make you happy.


9) I dunno, people seem to love Starbucks. The high-ups are naughty but the street-level franchise owners can’t help that, and a Starbucks cake and pastry counter is like a freakin’ Marie Antoinette still.


Happy holidays, reader. Go show some love to a jobless fool.

This post was not sponsored.

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About Claire Napier

Real cool gal
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5 Responses to Holiday gift guide: for your unemployed loved ones

  1. As an unemployed person, I feel like I need all of these. Especially the glove. They look very cool. And sweets – I love sweets.

  2. mapsalesdotcom says:

    Food is always a great gift. A fun gift would also be a road map to help them get around town for those interviews!

  3. Pingback: “You’re Gorgeous”: Guest Post | MELMAK BG

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