Sometimes, it’s not the thought that counts – some gifts are just plain awful and should not be given even as a last resort. Christmas provides many opportunities for less than perfect gifts to be shared, such as Secret Santas and restricting price limits. But don’t let this be an excuse to wrap up any old thing; what you give reflects on you, and no one wants to be remembered for their bad taste. Follow these tips for gift-giving glory.
Socks, socks and more socks
Yes, we all need socks – just as much as we need toilet tissue and teabags. But surely, we can manage to buy them ourselves when we need them? Unless there is going to be a sock shortage in 2012 then there really is no need to adorn your friends and family with toe warmers every Christmas. Be a bit more creative and treat your sock suffering friends with foot friendly treats instead. Give the gift of fabulous feet (much needed after the Christmas shopping and parties) with a foot spa. Or for a more purse-friendly option try a Feet Kit from Marks & Spencer for £5, including foot scrub, lotion and feet fizzers for the perfect festive feet.
Cheap isn’t always cheerful
Christmas is a time for giving and, despite being short of cash, you can still make your shopping funds stretch to bag some really great gifts. Being a Scrooge can sometimes leave friends feeling a little unloved so going for the cheapest option isn’t always a good idea at Christmas, especially if they’ve forked out on a lavish gift for you. So instead of heading for the cheap and tacky discount retailers, opt instead for bidding sites or vintage shops – that way you’re getting quality without having to splurge. You can find some real gems in these places, such as jewellery, picture frames, books and antiques. You’ll get that quirky vintage feel, or even a genuine bargain if you find a brand new item. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
‘Oh , thank you, that’s very kind’, exclaims your friend as they reveal their gift card. What they mean to say is, ‘Oh, how unoriginal – I don’t even like this shop!’ Gift cards may seem like a safe bet but, let’s face it, they’re a bit unimaginative. One of your friends is going skiing in the New Year and wants some kit; great – a voucher for an outdoors shop would be ideal. But buying gift vouchers for ease and convenience isn’t the way to go at Christmas and you’ll end up like Rudolph with no pals. Opt instead for a subscription to their favourite magazine, starting from £1 for three issues, or membership to a dining club such as Hi-Life for £49.95, so they can enjoy discounts at restaurants all year round.
It’s great you’ve got a, erm, ‘talent’, but there really is no need to share it at Christmas (or any other time of the year!). Misshapen, garish jumpers and extra thin scarves don’t reflect greatly on you and are probably best left in the knitting basket (or at least until someone has a baby). The classic among all unwanted Christmas presents, the knitted gift has gathered some stigma over the years. But opt for some classic leather or suede gloves with sheepskin lining, such as these cosy Ugg gloves, and you’ll be on the right track to get some gratitude. If it’s a postable gift you’re after then consider a pashmina, lingerie or designer boxers instead. Or if it’s soft and snuggly you’re after then festive pyjamas or a cosy dressing gown will be a winner.
Secret Santas, particularly in the office, can be an opportunity to really get a laugh out of someone and show your sense of humour, but novelty gifts can sometimes be nothing more than a waste of time and money. Take the classic whoopee cushion – now, who hasn’t seen one of those before? Take each gift-giving opportunity as a chance to show your personality while also giving your friend or colleague something they may actually use! (After all, there are only so many uses for a rubber chicken). Instead, go for a stand-up comedy or sitcom TV series DVD to get the comedy factor. Or to be more generous how about a DVD box set, comedy club tickets or stand-up comedy master class?