Illustration by Sofia Bews.

Illustration by Sofia Bews.

Your friend’s graduation party is TONIGHT! You’ve changed your clothes, checked the mirror, and you’re walking out the door, when…Uh, oh, you realize, I don’t have a present for her.

Now, your very presence is a gift in and of itself, my loves, and no one owes anyone a gift, but! Think about it: Is it or is it not always really fun to get something small and/or silly from your friends at your party/birthday dinner/special occasion? IT IS.

At the last minute, you could stop at a drugstore on your way to the party and get your friend some candy (I’ve never met anyone who did not squeal upon being offered a packet of these shiny treats), but to prepare for all the parties you’ll attend for the rest of your life, I suggest assembling: a Present Drawer.

A Present Drawer is an awesome little drawer or box in your house that you add weird li’l gifties to all year ’round. Nothing expensive has to go in a Present Drawer! You just add things you think are great, one at a time, as you see them. Get a new, teeny sample bottle of purple glitter nail polish you know you’ll never wear? Into the Present Drawer it goes. Stumble upon a $1 book of 400 Lisa Frank stickers at the dollar store? PRESENT DRAWER. Miniature bottles of Tabasco sauce, funny thrifted mugs, a keychain with a Ouija board? You know what to do with these cute little baubles!

More Present Drawer–worthy gifts, all of which have been received with glee by my friends: small vials of extra-fine craft glitter, a stamp that says “REJECTED” (that I stole from an office I worked in), fake tattoos, enamel pins from vintage shops, five unopened plastic vending machine capsules filled with toys (a $2.25 investment in quarters, with a return of endless shrieks of delight from the birthday person), glow necklaces, wax lips, scented markers…the Present Drawer contains multitudes, folks, and all you have to do is rifle around in it to find something perfect for the recipient! If it’s small, relatively inexpensive, and you liked it when you were eight, it’s perfect for the Present Drawer.

Bonus step: Hoard any ribbons and tiny bags you come across like you’re a fancy squirrel, then hide them away in the Present Drawer with all the presents. That way, when you’re in a rush to get out the door, you can find the perfect present, tie a bow around it, and then trot along your merry way. You’ll be bringing a little bit of joy to your friend’s special day—and really, almost anything will thrill them. You remembered, and they’ll remember that! ♦