Let The Atlantic Help With Your Holiday Shopping

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

It's not a competition (it is), but I won Christmas with Biggie's Book of Names and Faces.

A photo posted by Caty Green (@caty_green) on

Three years ago, I won Christmas.

I was living in San Diego, and was still new to the auntie game with a 1-year-old niece who happened to live 2,066 miles away.

While surely a onesie or stuffed animal would’ve sufficed, I wanted my gift to help orient her to her place in the world. And, selfishly, I wanted her to remember my face so she wouldn’t be quite so shy the next time I saw her. So over Thanksgiving, I took some headshots of my and my brother-in-law’s families, organized the jpegs, and sent them off into the internet to become a spiral-bound facebook.

On Christmas morning, it was a standout in our wrapping-paper rumpus. Ellen was fascinated by the familiar shapes and smiles, and from what I’m told, frequently consulted her guide to the fam from then on. With little evidence besides the near-celebrity treatment I now receive during visits to her house, I like to think the tailor-made facebook helped establish a solid aunt-niece relationship despite the sizable mileage between us.

Not every present, to every loved one, at every holiday is a win, though. We all have people on our lists who prompt low-grade anxiety attacks within us when we go to buy them gifts. Maybe it’s because of the newness of a relationship: What present sends the right message to a guy you’ve been seeing for just two months? Or, what do you get your grandma who seems less and less interested in collecting more stuff?

The Atlantic is here to help. Tell us about your loved one using this Google form, sometime before 5 p.m. ET on Monday, November 7. Similar to last year, we’ll sift through the responses, pick several, and brainstorm the perfect gift options for our readers to give. Look for those in our gift guide, publishing online come December.