12.18.2012

A Merry Little Christmas: the "Oh No!" Gift Guide


We've all been there. A very well-meaning friend or relative hands us a gift, we tear back the paper or open the bag, and ... uh...? The result isn't what they intended, but, like any good person, you smile and say "thank you" and place that gift in the back of your closet. Maybe someday, you think, I can re-gift it to someone... ironically? 

And of course, we've all been on the other side too. We've wrapped up that gift and handed it to someone and watched their smile wither, just a little bit, and then the fake smile slide onto their face just as quickly. It's awful. 

So this year, let's avoid all the drama. Here are five gifts you just should not give anyone. 

1. Expensive technology. The logic goes that everyone loves gadgets, so why not give them another one? I mean, who doesn't want an iPad or a new iPod touch, or a new phone? 

The number one reason why these gifts are impractical is because they are so darn expensive. Unless your boyfriend has been begging for a new iPod for ages, save your money and go for simpler gifts. Why? Technology is variable and some people might love a new iPod, and some people might see it as another frustration. Plus, with how connected technology is today, a new iPad or iPod or phone means dooming someone to an entire day of downloading new software, transferring data, connecting accounts... which is exhausting. 

2. Anything you see on QVC. Remember when everyone was jokingly giving their friends and family Snuggies a few years ago? And remember how Snuggies are not warm or funny at all, and made out of the most disgusting fleece of all time? Yeah, let's not repeat that. 

3. Appliances. When I was younger, my dad got my mom a toaster for Christmas one time and I really think she considered beating him with it. Appliances are super fun, but unless you're purchasing a gift for a newly married couple (which, if they have stuff left on their registry, is a super good idea), skip appliances for anyone else. Buying someone a new toaster, or blender, or -- gulp -- vacuum  might accidentally suggest they need to spend more time improving their cooking skills or cleaning their house, and that's not super nice. 

4. Stuff that "goes with what they do"! It's the thought that counts, but sometimes, this one isn't great. Buying a writer a journal might seem like a great idea, but it seems like a great idea for about half of their friends and family. Buying an artist a set of colored pencils is a  nice plan, but unless they ask for a specific set (and brand), you might be giving them something redundant and/or low-quality for their work. 

5. Regifts. Seriously. Shame. Ok, it's ok to regift things sometimes -- it really depends on what it is. A nice beauty product you already own and don't need another of? Perfectly fine to regift to a beauty-loving friend. A pretty candle with a scent you don't love? Wrap it up and give it to your mom for Mother's Day. However, the white elephant gift you received at work (a hula girl, a cheesy magnet, something suitably impersonal) is not a good thing to gift. Also included: anything edible; anything obviously personal (a frame with your name on it that you think is hideous); gift certificates or gift cards; and clothing. Give the gifts you don't love to a thrift store, or ask for a receipt if you feel like you can. The distinction is: if you immediately think of someone else when you open your gift, it's perfectly acceptable to give it to them as a future present. If you open up your gift and immediately think of ways you can pass it on to someone, anyone, else, you should just take it to a thrift store!

Do you have any gifts you just don't give people? 



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xo Michelle

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