Giving and receiving gifts is a special gesture that makes the receiver and the giver of the gift feel all warm and fuzzy inside – if the gift was appropriate that is. There is nothing more uncomfortable than giving someone an awkward gift that will embarrass both you and the person you are giving it to. Or even worse, making them feel sad or angry resulting in tears – which is heartbreaking.
And, no matter how well-intentioned your gift may be, or how well you think you know the person, it might not always be received with your good intentions abundantly obvious and yes you might be making someone’s special event memorable, but not in any way that anyone would like it. When choosing gifts take extra effort to ensure that they are age-appropriate, as that is the first wrong corner people take is getting something for a teenager, young girl or sophisticated Grandfather that is entirely not age-appropriate and comes across as cheap and tacky.
So if you are looking for a list of the ultimate faux pas when it comes to gift giving, I have compiled a list of presents you should never give to anyone for a birthday, anniversary, Christmas or other special occasion.
1. Charity Donations
This is a tricky one and really does come across as something that has nothing to do with the person who is receiving this ‘’gift’’, rather absolutely everything about the gift giver and their philanthropic tendencies. And yes, if you want to support the Underwater Ballet Association for the Underprivileged go right ahead – but your friend might never have heard of them – neither have we – and your little publicity party stunt, staged so that everyone can just look at you, will have stolen your friend’s thunder completely and you can be 100% sure your invite to next year’s party has been revoked.
2. The Upcycled Gift
So you get yet another basket of rose scented bath salts and add them to your ever growing collection of unwanted presents in your cupboard, which is fine, but be careful who you gift them to. Giving your child’s teacher bath salts every year is actually okay, but make a note of these things.
There is nothing quite like the slap in the face when you receive that handmade tablecloth from Portugal you gave your Mom two years ago as a 30th birthday present. Don’t be that guy that does that to somebody else, it hurts like a beast. Rather exchange the unwanted gift for something else and be upfront to the person who gave it to you, that way you won’t have to lie and remember anything.
3. Weight Loss Products
This is a huge never, ever, ever as you will deeply offend, hurt and humiliate the person who is receiving anything slightly related to weight loss. Even if they blab on about being on diet all the time, get them something that says you actually thought about them, who they are as a person and the things they like other than their weight loss issues. Everybody has a hidden weight-related anxiety tucked away somewhere and their birthday or graduation is not the day you want it to come out and play.
If you are not sure what to give somebody who is on diet or having problems losing weight, give them a voucher for a Spa day or a personal photo shoot. This will give them another focus and something to help them pamper and celebrate themselves, rather than stare down at the annual fitness magazine subscription that came with the fat burning herbal drops.
4. Gifts from the Adult Store
‘’Oh my word this is going to be insanely hilarious!! “, you and your mates may think as you are rolling with hysterical laughter at the nipple clamps in the adult store. Just don’t go there at all, what may be funny to you, may offend your friend on many levels, especially if they are carefully unwrapping a box of handcuffs and lube in front of their Grandparents.
Take care to remind yourself that this is the number one tacky present reserved for girls nights only – even Bachelorettes Parties have Moms and Grannies there these days, so don’t unnecessarily humiliate your friend.
An up and coming art student in her twenties, with two exhibitions behind her name and a website selling her work, was given a paint by number set for her birthday by her boyfriend’s mother. Needless to say, it was a huge insult and she felt totally and utterly gutted.
I think the best present to buy somebody – a safe present – if you don’t know them that well is a gift card. That way they can buy something they really like and they have maybe wanted to buy, but didn’t have the money.
I love getting socks and towels for Christmas! I could never be bothered to buy them myself and while everyone thinks it’s a lame gift, I love the feeling of new socks on my feet. I don’t know if I would give socks to anyone else than my dad, but I love getting them.
My gran always used to re-gift our gifts; she would keep them for a couple of years and then give them back to us – still in the wrapping we gave them to her in! One year she gave us back our chocolates that we had given her 4 years before, in the same wrapping of course, but when we opened them the chocolates had gone from milk chocolate to white. Yuck!
I really like the one about the day spa package or photo shoot for a friend who is struggling with their weight. They sort of become obsessed with dieting that they forget that they are already beautiful, and this will definitely make them feel like a million bucks! I am going to do this for my friend for her birthday next month.