Well, here we are, the final week before Christmas. In all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed with the holiday shopping process. Poor Santa, can you imagine the stress he must be under as he attempts to please kids all over the world in one night? Some of us find Christmas shopping completely overwhelming–others really seem to embrace the whole shopping experience and seem to always get gift giving just right. For those of you that seem to be struggling a little bit with finding those perfect gifts for the recipients on your shopping list, here are a few pointers to help you in your quest for that perfect gift.
According to our shopping pros, here are a few gifts you should always avoid:
Household appliances: Let’s face the facts, if you need one, you are likely to buy it yourself, getting one as a gift just isn’t very fun. Even if your recipient is the most practical person on the planet, avoid these–no matter how you wrap up an iron or a hand held vacuum, it’s just not very exciting to open on Christmas morning. If you were to give one to your spouse, you may even find yourself getting the holiday cold-shoulder.
Pets: Unless you are 100% positive that your recipient is ready for the responsibility of a new animal in the family, the gift of a pet is best avoided, especially if it is a legitimate surprise. Not everyone is ready to become the new parent of a pet on Christmas morning. This is a gift that although well intended, could easily backfire on you. If your family has been considering adopting a pet into the household, find a less chaotic and exhausting time to introduce a new pet into your home as having a new animal around has challenges of its own.
Heavily advertised on TV: Whether it is jewelry you’ve seen about 1,000 times in holiday ads, warm body wraps with sleeves, pottery that grows plant life that looks like hair, or light switches that go on with a clap of your hand, no one really ever gets very excited about the cliché, oversold gifts that are heavily advertised on television. These gifts often end up in the return stack for the weekend after the holiday-don’t be a victim that gets caught up in an advertising gimmick.
Pre-made Gift Baskets: Assume your recipient has already received a few of these type of gifts, as they are everywhere that shoppers go over the holidays. These baskets are very tempting to buy as they are packaged very festively and are a shopper’s dream as they are all ready to go. The problem with them is that what is inside is often small on content and big on packaging–and some of the items grouped together may not necessarily appeal to your recipient. The best gift baskets are those you put together yourself–then you can select the best goodies and items to fill your basket with based on the likes and needs of your lucky recipient.
Pre-Paid Gift Cards: Be extremely careful with these as they often have fees attached to them when you buy them, or can be difficult to use if you are loading them with a smaller dollar amount. Many of these cards (if not used promptly) will charge a monthly maintenance fee after a certain number of months have gone by. This will lead to a lot of disappointment when the card is actually used. It’s better to stick with a gift card or gift certificate for a store you know your recipient will enjoy as these type of gifts rarely have an expiration date or fee attached to them.
Still out of ideas? There is help! Here Are A Few Ideas …
Gift an Experience: Sometimes the best gift isn’t something that can be put into a box. Tickets to an upcoming event that you know will be enjoyed make a fantastic gift. You can go out on a limb and gift something crazy like a hot air balloon ride or scuba diving lessons. Sometimes the gift of relaxation is wonderful, too–a spa day or a relaxing massage makes a perfect escape after enduring all the chaos that leads up to the holidays.
Gift of Imagination: Kids get bored with the most popular holiday toys very quickly. Consider the gift of imaginative playtime–with a gift full of fun accessories and children’s costumes just for dress up and creative adventures. This type of gift never seem to lose its luster with kids and will give your children hours of playtime fun.
Family or Couple Getaway: After the holidays are over, a family getaway may be the perfect way to recharge your battery. If you live someplace cold and wintery, it may be fun to go someplace warm in order to unthaw yourself and relax a bit. If you are lucky enough to live in a warmer climate, it’s still fun to go visit a colder, wintrier place to get a true taste of winter fun and to play in the snow.
Finding the perfect holiday gift doesn’t have to be stressful or hard, with a little extra thought you will find that perfect present that brings Christmas smiles to all those on your own Santa’s gift list!