It’s that time of year again. Everyone has a story about the “worst Christmas gifts ever” they’ve received. When choosing holiday gifts, you might want to avoid these common pitfalls.
Giving a Weight Watchers certificate, a “healthy cooking” book or a digital bathroom scale to an overweight friend may seem helpful and caring, but it can really devastate her. Chances are, she knows she needs to lose weight and doesn’t need any reminders from you. On the other hand, scroll down to “thoughtless gifts” and you’ll see that you’re not supposed to give her cookies either. Try to pick something neutral that has nothing to do with one’s weight.
Giving lacy thong underwear to your girlfriend can be fun, but if she will open the gift when her extended family is there, you may want to stick with something a bit more conservative. Same goes for any “sexy” gifts actually. If you really want to give your husband a naughty gift, make sure he opens it when it’s just the two of you.
Fancy paper weights, leather tie cases, personalized desk clocks, singing golf balls (I invented the last one) – those are just a few examples of what men are “supposed” to like. Those “Gifts for Men” stores? I say ignore them. They mostly carry useless gadgets that no one really needs. This is exactly the type of gift that would be forever re-gifted.
Noisy or Messy Gifts for Kids
Unless you truly can’t stand the parents and see the holidays as a great time to get back at them, avoid giving kids anything that has the potential to be seriously noisy (such as a set of drums) or very messy (such as a pottery kit).
A couple of years ago I gave a Starbucks card to a colleague. Much later, I woke up one night realizing that he once told me he hates coffee and never ever drinks it – the smell alone makes him ill. Sure, Starbucks sells more than just coffee, but I think this gift qualifies as one of the least thoughtful gifts I have ever given to anyone.
So what DO you buy? How do you avoid the “worst Christmas gifts” syndrome? The basic rules of gift giving apply to holiday gifts too: take notes throughout the year in case the recipient drops a hint; give a gift that expresses your relationship with the recipient rather than a generic gift; give something they would never get for themselves; and give something you would be happy to receive too (but not something that ONLY you would be happy to receive).