Tis The Season to Give Wisely
The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means: gift-giving galore! But before you rush out to buy that perfect present, let's take a moment to talk about the kinds of gifts you should absolutely steer clear of this Christmas. We've all been there…received a well-intentioned but utterly cringe-worthy gift. So, to spare you the awkwardness and ensure you don't end up on anyone's naughty list, here's a list of gifts to avoid.
What Are The Big No-Nos?
First and foremost, consider steering clear of the dreaded ‘re-gift’ unless you can remember exactly who gave it to you. You know what I'm talking about—those items you received last year, didn't like and are now passing on to someone else. Don’t get me wrong; re-gifting is excellent for many reasons; it saves waste and money, and if the gift is a perfect match for someone else, it is a win. But just make sure you have kept a note of who gave it to you originally. You may love the gesture of a passed-on gift, but your recipient may not, which can end in a very awkward situation…especially if it came from them in the first place. If you must re-gift, do it with caution and ensure the item is something the recipient will genuinely appreciate.
Next up on the no-no list are the overtly practical gifts. While a new vacuum cleaner or a set of kitchen utensils might be necessary for some, they lack the holiday magic that makes gifts unique. It's hard to muster up excitement over a toaster, no matter how many slots it has. Of course, practical gifts can be thoughtful if they address a specific need or interest, but giving someone a household appliance as a Christmas gift can send the wrong message - unless, of course, they're an aspiring chef or a cleaning enthusiast. If you get the green light for this kind of gift, go for it, but otherwise, AVOID at all costs. It doesn’t scream exciting.
Oh, and please, let's put an end to the terrible trend of gifting gym memberships or self-help books. Nobody wants a reminder of their supposed flaws during the season of indulgence. If someone has explicitly requested a fitness-related gift, that's one thing, but giving it as a hint is another story altogether. You don't want your present to be a not-so-subtle commentary on someone's lifestyle. Gym memberships are for purchase after Christmas once the reality of the over-indulgence has kicked it; this is also a realisation that we need to reach ourselves – if we choose to, that is!
Yep, The List Goes On…
Another gift-giving landmine is the infamous ‘As Seen on TV’ products. Yes, they make for amusing infomercials, but that doesn't translate into a thoughtful gift. Those snazzy gadgets often end up collecting dust in a dark corner of the closet, and when they finally see the light of day, it's usually re-gifted to some unsuspecting soul. Instead, opt for something that reflects the recipient's interests or hobbies, not the latest TV gimmick. We are all guilty of getting excited over a fad but don’t buy on impulse. Ask yourself, ‘is the gift right for the individual?’.
Let's not forget about the generic gift cards. While they may seem like a safe bet, they can appear lazy and impersonal. It's the classic ‘I couldn't think what to get you’ move. If you decide to go with a gift card, though (..because it may have been requested; who am I to judge), make sure it's for a place or brand that the recipient genuinely enjoys. It's all about showing that you've considered their preferences, not just taken the easy way out.
Pets as presents are another tricky territory. While a fluffy kitten or an adorable puppy may seem like the ultimate gift of love, they also come with lifelong responsibilities. Gifting a pet should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision; it requires careful consideration and planning. It's not fair to surprise someone with a living, breathing creature without their consent and readiness to take on the responsibilities that come with it. If someone genuinely wants a pet, it's best to let them choose and adopt on their terms. And if it’s for a child, remember that they get bored very quickly, and somehow, it often becomes the adults’ responsibility further down the line. If you buy a pet for your child, there is a good choice that fast forward six months, and you will be its primary carer…are you prepared for that?
Tread lightly when it comes to fragrances. Perfumes and colognes are highly personal and are often associated with specific memories or experiences. What smells heavenly to one person might be a migraine-inducing scent to another. It is a seriously risky choice…
The ‘one-size-fits-all’ clothing is another gift-giving pitfall. Unless you know someone's size and style preferences inside out, it's another risky move. The chances of getting it right are slim, and the chances of receiving a fake smile and an eventual return receipt are high. You might think that scarf is cosy and warm, but if it's not their taste, it becomes just another item cluttering their wardrobe.
Are We Nearly There Yet? Almost!
Never forget the perils of political, sport or controversial gifts. Tread carefully if you're thinking of gifting something that could potentially spark heated debates or uncomfortable conversations. A political t-shirt or a book on a divisive topic might not be the best way to spread holiday cheer. Keep the focus on joy and togetherness during the season, and save the heavy conversations for another
And please, let's retire the novelty underwear, especially if you're not in a close, intimate relationship with the recipient. Those themed boxers or lingerie may seem humorous initially, but the laughter often fades quickly, leaving an awkward feeling behind. No one wants that. Save these gifts for more appropriate occasions or relationships where humour is welcomed and expected. It is just too big a gamble…trust me! Unless it is a Secret Santa gift, of course, and then anything goes…
Finally, let's talk about overly expensive gifts. It's wonderful to be generous, but giving a gift that's way beyond someone's means can create an uncomfortable imbalance. It might make the recipient feel guilty, anxious, or indebted. The price tag should never be the measure of a gift's worth. It's the thought and effort that count, not the dollar signs.
While the intention behind gift-giving is to show love, appreciation, and thoughtfulness, some gifts are better left un-given. Remember, the key to a great gift is to consider the recipient's interests, preferences, and needs and to put thought and care into your choice. The best gifts are not necessarily the most expensive or extravagant. With these tips in mind, you can spread festive cheer without the risk of falling into the ‘bad gift’ category. So, let's make this holiday season a time of joy, warmth, and memorable gift-giving while steering clear of these gift-giving faux pas.
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