Who are we trying to fool? Selecting the appropriate gift requires an uncanny understanding of the intended recipient, and even then and in the right hands, it’s highly risky.
The closest success in this field that I recall hearing involved a coworker who was at a unique point in his love life. He wound up buying three identical items at Victoria’s Secret. Need I explain? Things were quite different after Christmas.
And even then, not everyone would want to receive one of those wrapped intimacies.
So let’s think of ten factors to consider.
- Does the recipient already own this? Oops! How well do you know this person, anyway? Well enough to go through their shelves or closet?
- Or even want it? Not every woman likes getting flowers or chocolate. Not all that many guys do, either. As for kids?
- The dollar signs. Some people measure your affection by your willingness to shell out on a big gift. Others see it as trying to buy their love. Gift cards, by the way, often go unused. Retailers are not a charity. Don’t go overboard, OK?
- Is it a suitable surprise? One they might actually use? Your grandmother will likely be surprised by that box of golf balls but never set foot anywhere near a tee. Yard sales are full of these misfires, often still in their original wrappings.
- Does it say something about your relationship? Some of the best gifts are things you can enjoy together. Jigsaw puzzles, for example, can keep everyone going, especially during the holidays.
- Not everyone appreciates receiving a homemade present, but for others, it’s the ultimate. One friend’s woodworking skills are especially anticipated. Pie boxes, anyone?
- There’s something to be said for gifts that won’t take up space. Things you can eat or drink, for instance. Tickets to upcoming events. (In my part of the universe, few things would beat a pair of seats at a Red Sox-Yankees game.) Museum memberships or contributions to causes they support may also be welcome.
- Does it improve the quality of their life? My family has edged me upward in the digital world this way.
- Hobby gear. Think sports equipment, cooking gadgets, sewing supplies, arts and crafts, gardening, and so on.
- Dream fulfillment. Was there something they wanted as a child but never got?
What other considerations would you suggest?