The December issues of women’s magazines are all about one thing: gift guides. Editors work for months on these compilations, their cubicles overflowing with both insanely awesome items and completely lame stuff that they have to sort through. It sounds like more fun than it is. Trust me—I’ve been there. So which of the major women’s magazines have been naughty and which have been nice this year? After the jump, we grade each issue for you.Lucky
I judge an issue of Lucky by how many of their handy-dandy tabs I use while reading. This was a seven-tab issue which is … eh. Overall, I was pretty disappointed with Lucky‘s gift guide. While all the items they curated were under $100—a big relief since, really, who spends more than that on presents?—I didn’t get a single genius gift idea while perusing the issue. I was, however, much more excited by their ideas on dressing for parties. Hint: lots of sequins. And their spread on the French girl style of Olivia Merilahti from the band The Do was very cute.
This mag gave me much more in the way of gift-spiration, picking out the perfect gifts for unconventional categories, like fans of Lady Gaga, “Mad Men” aficionados, and vampire lovers. Another very smart thing they did—ask cool ladies, like Phoebe Cates and the founders of Gilt Groupe, for what they’re planning to get as gifts this year. Also interesting in this issue: an interview with Stormy Daniels, the porn star who is running for the Senate in Louisiana. (Amazing quote: “A sex tape of me isn’t going to pop up and shame me; there are 150 of them at the video store.”) And their cover story with Blake Lively made her come across as much more than the anonymous cool girl I’ve always assumed her to be.
Elle‘s gift guide is, of course, stunning. But the problem is that too many items cost way more than I can afford. I get this is an up-market, luxury magazine, but really— a $3,545 Chanel blouse for a gift? Please. Who loves anyone that much? Other highlights of this issue: fashion pages featuring other worldly sequins, parrot-inspired pieces, fruit prints, and frilly bows. Creative director Joe Zee (who you now know from “The City“) making over last season’s “American Idol” stars. And a cover story on Sarah Jessica Parker (“I have a fear that they’re not going to like me,” she says of her twin daughters), with an accompanying photo spread of her in combat boots.
The gift guide in this mag is one measly, lame page. FAIL. In the cover story with Fergie, you learn deep things like that she is insecure about her hands because of her short fingers. Just as riveting: the mag’s exploration of the hidden secrets his hug reveals, mainly that pats aren’t good. (Duh.) I also appreciated the health story, “Is Stress Making You Bitchy?” just for the headline. Not. And “His #1 Sex Wish” that “71% of Guys Crave”—for you to “really want him.” Did Captain Obvious write this mag? Next.
Glamour went light on gifts this year, opting instead to give you 90 million ideas for what hair, makeup, and dresses to rock at parties this season. The real meat of this issue, though, is Glamour‘s Woman of the Year Awards. This can be a double-edged sword. The upside is Michelle Obama (photographed with seven unsung White House interns) sitting down for an interview with Katie Couric, as well as gorgeous images of cool ladies like Amy Poehler, Serena Williams, and Googlista Marissa Mayer. Not to mention a cover story on Rihanna. But the downside of this theme—celebrities finishing the lame-o sentence, “I believe …” Taylor Momsen’s answer: “… in rock and roll as a tool for spiritual growth.” Ugh, shut up Little J.
Forget gifts for a minute. The highlight of this month’s issue is, obviously, the ridiculously gorgeous photo shoot starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson that accompanies the confusingly coupley interview with the pair that we told you about last week. Other highlights: a look at how Lady Gaga has influenced the runway. A piece by a single New York mom about how awesome it is being a duo with her daughter. Oh, and as for their gift guide, it’s great, encompassing everything from chandelier earrings to portable turntables. I see my sister and mom’s gifts on page 174.