Buckle up Palo Alto, it’s December. That means decadent Christmas lights wrapped around houses, incessant holiday tunes blaring through the static-filled speakers of every grocery market in town and my personal favorite, the seasonal drinks that Palo Altans unashamedly drink by the buckets. With all of the holiday festivity and cheer comes the traditional exchanging of gifts, a custom practiced by Americans of all religions. If you receive a present, but you’re not sure what it means, have no fear. I’m here to help you analyze all of your assorted holiday gifts.

Book: If your parents give you a book for the holidays, then you know you’re from the Silicon Valley because it’s probably an SAT study guide. Better get to work. If you’re a boy and receive a book from a guy friend, then his mom probably told him what to get because he didn’t know what to get you. If you’re a girl and got a book from another girl, it is most likely a romantic novel that you may use to compare to your love lives. What fun.

Makeup: If you receive makeup this holiday season, then you’re probably a girl, and another girl most likely gave it to you. The gift of makeup doesn’t really mean much because girls tend to give each other make-up, whether they are best friends or just acquaintances at a Secret Santa party.

Sweater: If you’re a girl, and you receive a sweater as a gift from a sister or friend, it probably means that either she bought it for herself and it didn’t fit, or she plans on borrowing it sometime in the near future. If you’re a boy, and a girl gave you a sweater, be cautious putting it on for the first time because it is very likely that it is doused in her perfume. If it’s from your grandmother, embrace it forever because she probably knit it herself. If that’s the case, lock it up in your closet for “safekeeping.”

Soap: The frugal population of Palo Altans, myself included, heavily rely upon the various scented soaps as staple gifts for family members or friends. If you are given soap this holiday season, don’t fret, because it doesn’t necessarily mean you have poor hygiene practices. Instead, soap likely implies that the gifter thought, “I don’t know what this person wants, and I’m not sure I care enough to figure it out.”

Something related to an inside joke: When you get a customized present from your closest BFF that reminisces one of your fondest moments together, they probably spent a minimum of $20 on customization, and you two are probably going to have a good laugh about it when you open it. Enjoy it because as we all know, the best of friendships are defined by both shared moments as well as the amount of money one is willing to spend on the other.

Expensive Jewelry: A gift of nice jewelry could mean one of two things. It could say, “I like you, and I’m ready to take our relationship to the next level,” or it could say “I like you, but I also really want to get in your pants.”
Tech gadget: If you’re 15 and you get an iPhone from your parents, then they’re probably fed up with hearing you complain that everyone else has one and you don’t. If you get some snazzy electronic device from a friend, it probably means they spent half their allowance on it and you should bake them some cookies or something to thank them.

Band Merch: If you and a friend spend excessive time fangirling (or boying, no judgement) over a band, then your friend probably got you a T-shirt, poster or other object with the lead member’s face or inappropriate slogan branded on it. This most likely means that they were expecting something in return, and you probably got them the same thing, maybe in a different color or something.

I hoped this helped, fellow members of the Palo Alto community. Enjoy your time with loved ones in the ceremonious exchanging of gifts, and remember, you only have 30 days before most gift receipts expire.

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