Gifts You Should Never Give

12/17/2011 12:16


Call me a traditionalist, but I think gifts should mean something, and although it is a cliché, it really is the thought that counts. Christmas is the worst time for rampant, careless gift giving since most people are simply checking names off a list and trying to find something which doesn't blow their budget.

One of the primary reasons gift giving has lost its meaning is because, through the years, people have convinced themselves they need to buy something for everyone they know. With such extensive lists, who has time to put any thought into what they give (not to mention people are racking up debt and generally spending way more money than they can afford to meet these expectations). What happened to simply sending out Christmas cards to your extended family and acquaintances? It lets them know you're thinking of them and doesn't require a payment plan.

The crazy part is, most people don't want to buy so many gifts, but they have no idea how to put a stop to it without offending someone. So, if you want to get your gift giving under control, you're probably going to have to be the one to put your foot down. The easiest way is to just tell people you don't plan on getting them anything (besides maybe a card) for Christmas, and you'd appreciate it if they didn't get you anything either. This probably isn't a great tactic to use on your mom or girl/boyfriend, but people such as your roommates, work buddies, accountant, cousins, and maybe even your siblings will probably be relieved.

By narrowing down your shopping list, you should have the time and money to devote to thoughtful gift giving. If you've forgotten what this means (or if you never knew), here are some things you should never buy for people you really care about:

 Gift Cards

If you want to send the message you had no idea what to get a person, but hey, you took a shot at what store they like, then give a gift card. Otherwise, just go to the actual store and pick out something. Guess what, if they don't like it, they can just return it and get the cash for it anyway. The only ones who actually get anything good out of the whole gift card racket are the stores. Think about, how many times have you misplaced or not bothered to use a card with only a couple of bucks left on it (all that unredeemed money really adds up for the businesses).

 Bath Gift Sets

I know there are whole stores related to this gift genre, but it really is the lazy way out. A few Christmases ago, my mother received about 8 different bath sets from various people -- she is still stocked up on over-priced body wash. A bath set is okay if you need to bring a generic "female" present to a gift swapping game -- not okay for someone you care about.


Nobody wants a candle. Period. Sure, they smell nice and look pretty, but could it get any more boring?

Mini Tool Set

Every guy needs a tool set, right? Wrong. Chances are that guy has gotten some type of cheap tool set for the past five years and has all the flimsy screwdrivers and hammers he needs. If someone really does work a lot with tools, then try to find one he doesn't have and needs.


Food might seem like a good gift, especially if you take the time to bake it yourself, but most food gifts suffer one of three fates:

1. Ends up in the trash because your baking skills really aren't as good as you think they are.

2. Goes bad before the person has a chance to eat it since everyone else decided to give them a food gift too.

3. The person actually eats and likes the food, but still thinks, "is food the only thing they could think to get me?"


There are plenty of other gifts to avoid, but I think you get the drift; if it is generic, overdone, or a gimmick -- don't buy it. 





Topic: Gifts You Should Never Give

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