So you’ve got a weird kid.
Your weird kid’s got weird values that you don’t understand. You didn’t raise them with these values, but there they are, smacking you in the face from across the Thanksgiving table, and you realize that yes, yet again, you’re going to need to get them something for Christmas.
It’s okay to admit that you’ve got a weird kid, a weird kid is no reflection on you. Perhaps they were always weird, perhaps they started out imperceptibly weird and just got weirder, or perhaps there was some kind of traumatic life altering event or series of events that made them weird, but no matter what happened, you love them, and you want to show it, in gift form. Since you can’t move them and their menagerie of rescue animals out of their firetrap studio apartment on the fringes of respectable civilization, I’m here to help you come up with the next best thing.
- Cold hard cash. A check is okay too, but cash really lets that weird kid know that you know what they’re up against. Odds are your weird kid has some dry cleaning they dropped off 8 months ago and haven’t yet come up with the funds to retrieve, or that they could use a little extra scratch to keep their internet on in their work/live space so they can keep posting performance art on vine. There’s every good chance that they’re gonna buy weed with it, but even so, cash is always a winner. While they may have eschewed a lifestyle that will lead to serious cash flow, they still like cash, and you can give it to them.
- Weird kids like experiences. They can’t fit too many actual consumer goods into the closet they call a bedroom in their 8 person apartment share, but they like to do things, things they’ve never done before. And you can produce that. Offer to spend time with them doing something, like going to see some big earth sculptures, or taking a trip to a kitchy local like Niagara Falls, or even taking them out to a nice dinner where they have to dress up. Bonus points for you if you don’t make any comment about their weird outfit. Get them an experience for a gift, and share it with them, and you are the hero of Christmas.
- Fancy toiletries. A nice gift basket from a their favorite toilette shop, filled with soaps, shampoos, and lotions, would go a long way toward making your weird kid smell better and be more presentable at family holiday time. The best part about providing fancy toiletries is that your weird kid won’t even know that what you’re trying to do is give them that which you know they may be unable to purchase on their own, namely soap and shampoo. Instead, they will think that this is a thoughtful gift. Meanwhile, they will get home, take the tiny slivers of soap from their shower, toss out their half water/half shampoo mixture, and bathe in luxury for the first time since last year’s toilette gift basket ran out.
- A farm share. It’s classier than a pile of groceries, and will keep them well fed. Plus it makes them feel like eco, green locovores, and weird kids who double as activists like to feel like they are saving the world, even while eating dinner. If you’re worried that your weird kid won’t be able to keep it together enough to get to the farm share pick up point, you could do a subscription snack box instead, you could even make a joke about how they were a picky eater as a kid, and you want to broaden their horizons. We all know that what you’re doing is feeding your kid, but you’ve done another thing, too, you’re letting your weird kid keep their pride. Maybe your weird kid spends a week or two a month eating nothing but ramen and oatmeal, but now they can know, with certainty, that organic gmo free single sourced free range farm raised local food is just a pick up, or a drop off, away.
- Membership. Your weird kid probably lives in some kind of major metrop, and since we already know they like experiences and are broke, you can get them a year’s worth of access to someplace cool that they like to go. Art? History? Media? Flora? Fauna? Take your pick! There are about a million different cultural institutions that offer memberships. Just imagine your weird kid waking up late after a long night in the ceramics studio, in dire need of new inspiration and eager to explore their world, but without that extra cash feeling in their pocket. They can jump on their vintage ten speed, cycle across the bridges and thoroughfares of their dear City, and take advantage of your gift, all year long.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand your weird kid’s lifestyle, and it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand yours. Know that they wake up every day trying to live honestly in the world, trying to accept the world as is stands, trying to express to the world that it ought accept them where they stand. They know you probably wish they’d rather cut a clearer path through life, one that more closely resembles your own. They may even wish for that themselves, but for weird kids worldwide, that clear path is barely visible to them, if they can see it at all. Your weird kid lives every day with their own weirdness, and it makes it worse when you point out how weird they are. They know they’re weird, they know all the little various multifarious things that make them weird. Some of these they cultivate, but lots of these oddities are inexorably linked to all the wonderful things about them that love you so much. Just remember that when they show up with flax seed vegan Irish moss gluten free bread pudding, and a big smile, on Christmas.