What Not to Give at Christmas and the Holidays

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But there are no great gifts ideas dancing like sugarplums in the air and the shopping list is very, very bare. With just two weeks before the big day, shopping and wrapping are still far away. What is the best gift for Uncle Ned and what about Mom and cousin Fred? To buy another tie or a perfumed sachet? What will make friends and family happy on “The Big Day”?

Holiday Gift Giving Etiquette: Ten Tips for Giving Gifts That People Will Not Hate

Remember that there is a kind of “karma” to holiday gift giving. What goes around will eventually come around. People who give useless, tasteless or last minute, thoughtless gifts, will eventually receive what they give- gifts that most people hate. This is a fate to avoid if at all possible. So, here are some tips for avoiding giving gifts that most people will hate.

  • Do not give friends and relatives a fruitcake, no matter how great a cook you may be. Fruitcakes work best as doorstops and most people don’t use doorstops. Give the fruitcake to a nasty neighbor instead
  • Never give someone special a pair of shoes. First of all, the shoes probably will not fit. Even if the shoes do fit, the recipient will probably not like the style, the color or the heels. And even if the shoes pass those hurdles, they won’t match anything that the giftee owns and he/she will have to purchase a whole new wardrobe just to prove how much he/she likes the shoes. Save the shoes for yourself instead.
  • Avoid the gift of a long chatty Christmas and/or Holiday Letter telling friends, relatives and acquaintances all about kids, travels, pets and the mortgage. No one wants to hear about these things. It’s boring and too much information.
  • Please refrain from giving bath salts, perfumed soaps, deodorant or shampoo. These imply that the giftee smells bad and that’s insulting
  • Don’t give chocolate, candy or alcohol. The giftee may either be on a diet or on the wagon.
  • Refrain from giving a poinsettia plant, especially if the giftee has pets. If the family dog or cat eats the plant, they will get very sick and may die. No one wants this to happen at Christmas
  • Never give a gift created with paper mache or marcaroni—it’s just plain tacky
  • If you give a tie, be sure that it is made of silk and not polyester. Polyester is just plain tacky, too
  • Objects with moving parts are a bad idea, especially if the giftee has small children, pets and/or no patience.
  • Don’t buy stock for anyone. This is not the year for it. Give cool hard cash instead. If you give cash, make it clean, crisp bills that snap when they are unfolded. For kids, give a set of quarters of the 50 states. Better yet, give them one quarter and tell them to collect the rest themselves. After all, the economy is bad and one must watch expenses.

Follow these tips for a happy holiday and great gift giving. Above all, give the gift of yourself. Relax, smile and have a good time because Christmas is the time to make memories and that is the best gift of all.

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