The holiday season is full of celebrating and enjoying delicious food, and of course giving gifts! We all prefer great gifts, and no one wants to send a gift that gets sent back. You have to figure out what your friends and family want. Then you have to figure out HOW to get it. Add in wrapping the gift, and getting it to them, and you’re almost ready to break into that holiday wine early. We are only humans, after all, and get easily emotional and on edge during the holidays. And then, there’s the gift choice. That’s why we’re here to help by letting you know which Christmas gifts to avoid this season.
With every gift you should aim for delighted squeals. But what you might see on the recipient’s face is a tight-lipped grimace trying to pass for a smile. Yes, you may have the very best intentions, but sometimes your kindness can be taken the wrong way. Even with the best intentions a gift can send the wrong message. Despite the high-flown notion that all gifts should be received with gratitude, there are too many circumstances in which the exchange falls short of our ideals. What makes gift giving such dangerous territory is that it isn’t just about the gift. It’s also about the perception of how well you understand your recipient’s tastes and needs.
As a powerful form of communication, gifts can enhance connections between people and bring them closer together. Inappropriate gifts, though, can harm or even ruin a relationship, leaving an emotional impact that’s remembered for years. So without further ado, here’s the list of 5 Christmas gifts you’d better stay away from.
1. Hygiene & Beauty Related Products
If you’re one of those people who loves practical gifts, make sure your recipient is one too. It’s true that beauty products like soaps, bath salts, and shampoos make a great gift that can be useful. Unfortunately it can send wrong messages far too often. Whenever you buy someone a strictly hygiene-related gift for Christmas, it might imply you have a less-than-flattering impression of their body. Your recipient might think you’re trying to tell them something. “Do I stink or something,” might be what they’re really thinking when they open your gift. “A spa gift card? do I look that bad?” They might be happy with the gift after all, but a bad aftertaste can linger on. It’s also better to stay away from the workout gear, unless they are an avid gym-goer and told you what they need. Avoid weight-loss products, unless you want to be punched in the face.
If you know for certain your recipient wants something hygiene-related for Christmas, keep in mind there’s a fine line between sending a message of “treat yourself” vs. “you need this” when you shop for spa baskets. To avoid misunderstanding, add a beautiful written note with a sweet message along with your gift. For instance, you might compliment your sister on how lovely she always smells and express your hopes that she enjoys this new perfume as much as you do. Or tell your girlfriend you noticed she was inquiring a lot about this new beauty brand and you wanted to give her a chance to try their products.
2. Personal Gifts for Your Business Partners or Boss
Giving your boss an expensive watch, cologne, or a new tie can make it seem like you’re closer than you really are. Or worse, it can imply you don’t appreciate their taste and are trying to give fashion advice. Either way, that’s probably not the impression you want to give to your supervisor this Christmas season. To avoid misunderstandings, play it safe and stick with a gourmet gift basket for Christmas filled with yummy treats. Extra points if it’s big enough to share with the office. Or go in with your co-workers for a gift that speaks to an inside joke at the office, or a shared memory. The best way to give a gift like that is to have an office pool so it’s coming from the whole team. No matter what you send, make sure you check the company’s gift-giving policy before shopping for business gifts for Christmas.
3. Gift Cards
I don’t mind receiving gift cards for Christmas because then I can have my own shopping spree and enjoy a big Christmas sale. But that’s only me, and a lot of people would agree that gift cards might seem kind of cold and thoughtless, especially during the holidays. Cash and gift certificates could send the message that you haven’t given much thought to your Christmas gift and just want to throw money at them. If you do go the gift card route, choose the right audience. Also, go the extra mile and add a personalized note explaining why you chose it. Pair a gift card with something more tangible. Since a gift card doesn’t hold the same kind of energy and enthusiasm as an actual gift, make it look more like one. For instance, send a mug with a coffee shop gift card, or a plush teddy bear with a gift card from their favorite department store.
4. The Same Gift as Last Year
Your Dad loved when you gave him a tie and a pair of socks, and your colleague enjoyed a delicious chocolate basket you sent…the first time. If they receive the same gift next year, the only thing they will have in mind is that you haven’t put in any extra thought or effort. They might feel you haven’t made the time for them, or thought to ask somebody else to buy a gift on your behalf. Even if you might see it as a surprise they are sure to love, giving the same gift year after year feels like you haven’t bothered coming up with anything better. The fact is, Christmas holidays don’t sneak up on anybody. They’re celebrated on the same day year after year. It just takes a little creativity and planning to come up with a gift your recipients will appreciate.
5. The Non-Gift
In households with shared finances, there’s an important rule to follow, unless, of course, you want to earn the Worst Gift Ever title. If you both need something for common use and if it is something you would have purchased anyway, it doesn’t count as a gift! Vacuum cleaners, frying pans, and toaster ovens have all achieved the “worst gift” designation by people who’ve ever gotten them. It’s an extra thought that counts on Christmas or any other holiday. We all want to be spoiled and pampered once in a while, and a new frying pan will definitely not do the trick.
Gift giving can come loaded with a great deal of emotional baggage. Gifts can send a nonverbal message of the recipient’s value. They can be used as a means of a relationship, and a way of showing appreciation. People are pickier than ever about what they like, and shoppers are overwhelmed with choices. It’s no wonder we can’t hit the mark every single time. But let’s bring things back to the basic sentiment of any holiday season: celebrating the ones we love! And before we start thinking about Christmas gifts, it’s important to think about the actual people we’re celebrating first. Because at the end of the day, it is the thought that counts the most!
Now you know what not to buy, are you ready to pick what to get your friends and family?
– Do you have people on your list with Celiac disease? Get pro tips on holiday gifts for them! Read on picking out gluten free foods Choosing Gluten Free Gifts & Foods.
– Don’t wait another minute to do your holiday shopping! Take a look at our Christmas catalogs.
– Make sure you share this blog using one of the social media buttons below. It can’t hurt to remind the people about to buy you gifts to think a little first!