Today’s advent calendar offering is brought to you by the ghost of Christmas past. I’m not a huge fan of rehashing old posts, but this is relevant and there’s no point in rewriting something that was written perfectly well the first time!
In 2010 I wrote a post entitled The Christmas Queen’s guide to Gift Buying. Within that post I try to outline what’s good and what’s bad in buying presents. You can read the whole post by clicking above, but below I’ve posted the Cliffs Notes version.
I still find it strange when people buy the wrong present for friends and family, or simply can’t think of anything to get. So I thought I’d write a guide to finding the perfect present, and simple does and don’ts for those gift-buying challenged readers.
Firstly the simple rules of gift buying: The definition of a perfect present for someone, is something they’d love to have but wouldn’t buy for themselves. Stay away from the clichéd gifts. People say if you buy something for someone which you’d like yourself, it makes a good gift, but I’d say if you buy your Nan a set of iPod speakers because you’d like them, you’re doing it wrong.
When I say stay away from clichés I mean don’t get the standard tie, socks, perfume etc. unless you know they really want them.
Gifts for women are easier than for men, in my opinion. But stay away from the obvious. If the woman you’re buying for loves a certain perfume, don’t buy that for them, because they’ll already have a bottle and it’ll take them at least another year until they use it. Instead, think around that theme – buy them an atomiser for their handbag so they can carry a small amount of scent around with them. Or get a beautiful perfume bottle to decant into. Don’t buy make up because you’ll get the shade wrong no doubt. And never ever buy a woman electrical kitchen appliances UNLESS she’s asked for it specifically. No woman wants a hoover for Christmas.
Men are very tricky, but they love gadgets or kits or puzzles. Think around their hobbies. If they like to read, get them a book journal or a set of book ends. If they like gardening, buy them a bird feeder or set of binoculars. But no to ties, socks or slippers! Those driving experiences are the sort of thing he’ll love! I know all men are different but if you think around hobbies you’ll get it right. Music lovers might like a biography of their favourite artist, if there is one. Book lovers might like books like ‘Eats, Shoots and leaves’. TV lovers might like a boxed set of their favourite show or a book guide to it. Animal lovers might like a kit where you’ve adopted their favourite animal on their behalf.
Kids – remember when you were a kid? Think about how much you loved the little off the cuff gifts you got that you would never have dreamed to ask for? I got a Funfax when I was little which I loved to death. It’s easy to spoil kids and if they’re your own, go ahead – but if they’re not yours it’s not up to you to spoil them. Buy them a book, or a small toy or a little electronic diary and leave the spoiling to their parents. And don’t forget that 10 minutes after they’ve opened your gift, they’re looking for the next one. So don’t waste your time and money – spend it on one good gift that they’ll love. Puzzles, teddys and little electronic games can be bought cheaply and will be used eventually if not straight away.
Since writing that post I’ve also become and massive fan of home-made gifts. The amount of wonderful ideas I’ve taken from Pinterest could easily fix most of my gift needs. I may even make one this year! My last present based tip for you is a fairly important one. Always wrap your gifts with a cocktail or two to hand. Makes it a lot more interesting 🙂
What are your tips for choosing the perfect gift?