(FeatureSource) If you’re not already, you’ll soon feel the pressure of finding the right gift for that special person on your list. It’s fair to say that a certain percentage of the population has the inability to buy the right gift. Last year, on December 26th, Sam Goody hosted its first Bad Gift Boycott, inviting bad-gift recipients to “return” their gifts to Santa. Gift Givers in the following classifications gave most of the ill-conceived gifts collected. If you fall into any of the categories, Sam Goody offers some advice on how to break the bad gift cycle:
Procrastinators are the people (mostly men) who are forced to fight for parking spaces at the mall on December 24th. Once in the mall, they find most stores have a limited stock on hand, heavily depleted from all those annoyingly, calm people who buy their gifts in advance. Rash and often regrettable gift decisions are made as procrastinators scurry from store to store with a wild-eyed look of desperation.
Solution: Turn off the football game, create a list and make some purchases well in advance of the 24th. Spend the holiday with your family instead of the other procrastinators.
The Homemade Gift Giver
Homemade gifts have the potential to be the most thoughtful and touching of all gifts, if done properly. Keep in mind that just because you are thoughtful, it doesn’t make you an artisan. Craft projects tend to get better with time and trial and error. Waiting until the last minute and passing off first attempts at craft projects is a bad gift waiting to happen.
Solution: Collect your materials and do a dry run of your project as soon as possible. The last-minute scramble adds undue pressure at a busy time of year and leads to sloppy work. Only give homemade gifts that you would proudly display in your own home.
Scrooges and penny-pinchers are known to fall into the re-gifting trap. More often than not, the gift you didn’t find any use for is equally useless to your intended target.
Solution: Re-gifting can provide comic relief if the receiver is in on the joke, but if you intend to “recycle” a gift from previous years and pass it off as a bona fide gift, be sure to remove any evidence of the crime, i.e. price tags, old cards, etc.
The Giver of Self Improvement
Even if your heart is in the right place, the gift of a diet book or hair removal system can only lead to disappointment and a barrage of, “Aren’t you happy with the way I look?” related questions. If your mother-in-law has a weight problem, chances are she could do without the reminder as she sips her spiked eggnog.
Solution: Only give a self-improvement item if you are certain the receiver has it on their wish list. Aside from that, you run the serious risk of offending someone.
The Clueless Dad
Most teens will say their dad fits this description. Clueless dads typically have their wives do the lion’s share of the shopping, but feel compelled to make a quick trip of their own to add a personal touch. Forget even going to the mall, this person makes one stop to the local drug store and hastily finds a gift for each person on his list.
Solution: Shaking the “Clueless” tag can be difficult. Try talking to your kid’s best friend. A quick consultation from a friend can yield some great ideas. If all else fails, a gift certificate for the mall music store is always a welcomed gift. Imagine the looks of shock and joy on their faces after they open a gift from you that is actually cool.
The Ultra Conservative
Gift givers of this type refuse to go out on a limb and risk the chance of giving something the receiver can’t use. Look for them during the holidays in the area of the store that sells socks or in the department that sells pocket umbrellas.
Solution: Try something more fun this year, like tickets to the local theater or a certificate to that hip new restaurant in town. It’s safe to say that your loved ones have enough umbrellas.
Most families have one: despite setting a spending limit for gifts, there is always one person who ends up going overboard. It’s a little uncomfortable for the rest of the family who abided by the limit because it makes them seem somehow less generous.
Solution: Stick to the limit and resist your urge to overspend by giving thoughtful gifts within the budget that reflect the personality of the receiver. Your credit card bill will be easier to handle as well.