Glittery Holiday Gift Boxes<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Glittery Holiday Gift Boxes<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson
What do you buy for the person on your list that has everything? Or the mother who says, "Oh no, I don't want gifts, just spend time with me." And how about the other extreme; the person who is very specific and always chooses hard-to-find gifts that are far too expensive to even consider?
It's the thought that counts
Canada's etiquette experts maintain that it should always be the thought that counts, not how much you pay. Most of us know this but we still find ourselves running around at the last minute choosing a gift that suits our budget better than it suits the recipient. Or, we just grab one of the generic "just in case" gifts we bought off season and on sale. You know, the stash of wine glasses, candles, towels, scarves or screwdriver sets we keep in the basement cupboard. Think about how many times you have been on the receiving end of one of those "just in case" gifts. Recall how obvious it was to you just how little thought the gift giver put into it.
High exchange rate
A recent national poll conducted by Decima Inc. suggests that many of us are not choosing gifts carefully enough. Some 42 per cent of Canadians said they've wanted to re-gift, return or exchange a gift they received in the past year, at least once. Ontarians are especially difficult to please, with 52 per cent admitting that they've wanted to re-gift, return or exchange a gift they received in the past year, at least once. Students are also among the most difficult to please, with 62 per cent saying they have wanted to re-gift, return or exchange a gift they received in the past year.
How do you ensure your gift won't be returned, re-gifted or tucked and tagged for the next big garage sale? Canada's etiquette ladies suggest the following:
Think before you buy
Always think about the recipient. What does he/she do for fun? Do they collect something? Do they have a favourite author? What about a favourite restaurant? A favourite flower? Try to remember a recent conversation or interaction with that person and recall what they talked about or what they were wearing to get a hint of what they might like.
Page 1 of 2 – On page 2, find essential tips to make your shopping trip a success.Avoid buying what you think they should want or should use, as these gifts usually end up being more for the gift buyer than for the recipient. Once you have the type of gift in mind, choose something that fits the theme -- and your budget.
Indulge a little
One approach to gift-giving is to always buy something the recipient wouldn't buy for themselves; some small luxury or indulgence or guilty pleasure. If your sister loves perfume but would never consider buying the good stuff, buy her some. If Dad loves gardening but thinks it's crazy to spend $30 on gloves, buy him the really good ones. Give your girlfriend the $23 lipstick she always lingers over before she buys the $3.99 lip gloss.
Think of the gifts as a treat, something special. Even if you can only buy three Godiva chocolates or a small quantity of any luxury, wrap it beautifully, add a thoughtful note and make a big deal out of it.
Gifts you can't wrap
For parents and others who have possibly experienced several years of thoughtless gifts, and probably do have most everything material they would need, consider giving experiential gifts.
If your mother has always wanted to go to Egypt but it's way too expensive, partner with your siblings and book her into an Egyptian-themed suite at a local hotel for the weekend, or maybe the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. If your dad loves to golf but can't walk the course anymore, take him to play a round at the golf simulator. Give Uncle Joe the skydiving lessons he's always wanted. Maybe your friend would like a cleaning lady for the day so she can spend her birthday lying in the sun. Maybe little cousin Jenny would enjoy the magazine subscription that means 12 little mailbox surprises instead of one. Or, how about finally fixing the eavestroughs and painting the shed (like you've been promising for six years) while Mom and Dad are away.
When you think about it, the options are usually endless. Another great idea is the new SHOP! Card from Cadillac Fairview. It's a gift card that allows the recipient to buy whatever they want from any of the stores in Cadillac Fairview malls Canada-wide. A gift card, a day shopping at the mall and a little lunch. What could be better?
Good luck and happy gift-giving!
Page 2 of 2 – Find great advice on buying thoughtful gifts for your loved ones on page 1.