Everywhere you look right now there’s a guide on what to buy for him, her and the dog in pretty much every price category. These guides are so proliferous that collectively they actually make choosing the perfect gift harder.
But what about when Christmas giving goes wrong?
Let’s face it, we’ve all recycled or donated unwanted gifts, typically small tokens from folk outside our inner circle. But when our nearest and dearest get it wrong the results can be catastrophic.
Remember it’s the thought that counts, and to help you think through the real meaning of your Christmas pressies this year we’ve put together a top ten of not so cracking Christmas presents…
1. A Toolkit
Only tools give tools and as a gift on Christmas day - they’re a powerful reminder that the day that follows is actually a Bank Holiday, which means you expect the recipient to uphold tradition and undertake some kind of DIY project before the turkey goes cold.
2. A Dishwasher
Don’t you dare give a domestic appliance to a loved one for Xmas. Even if the intention is to lighten their load, nobody wants a reminder of the drudgery of their Cinderella (pre-prince) life. Irons, washing machines and tumble driers have a similar effect.
3. A Treadmill
So what if it’s a state-of-the-art, iPad-enabled, Bluetoothed gizmo with multiple programs, speeds and functions. No amount of gadgetry can camouflage the fact that a Treadmill is a gift that screams ‘you’re fat’ as do its cardio cousins the cross trainer, exercise bike and rowing machine. Couple any of these gift with any diet or nutrition publication and you’ll be the one who needs to run faster to escape the wrath of whoever unwrapped the offending article.
4. The scarf you knitted specially
A veteran on the unwanted Christmas gifts world - the overlong, odd-coloured scarf knitted by Nan is destined to line the dog basket as soon as she pops her falsies (teeth in most Nans’ cases) on top of the Quality Street tin and settles down for her nap after the Queen’s speech.
5. Clothes that don’t fit
Without doubt the lose/lose gift that keeps on insulting. Buy something too small and the recipient is made to feel fat, get something too large and they think you think they are fat. Best to avoid clothes unless you know their dimensions inside out.
~Novelty socks, elephant trunk pants, willie warmers and edible knickers all come into this category. The socks may get one day’s wear but unless you’re certain the person you’re giving to can cope with the embarrassment of opening said gift in front of the family the result will backfire and ultimately equate to giving a chastity belt.
7. Grow your own boy/girlfriend kit
This is the Christmas equivalent of sending your single friend a Valentine’s Card. There is no good outcome with this type of gift. Either the recipient is happy and single and will find your gift annoying, or they're desparately seeking the love of their life and this reminder of their relationship status is plain insensitive.
8. A picture of you
An image of you - be it a photo in a frame, a portrait on a mug or as many as 12 shots of you in varying contexts, get-ups and moods in a Photobox calendar is narcissism extremus. In fact it may be the last recorded image of you looking that way!
9. Drum kit
Typically the recipient will be delighted with a drum kit, it’s the ‘recipient once-removed’ you’ve got to consider here. Cohabitees and even the neighbours of the giftee will have to suffer long, loud and in all likelihood unbearable drum solos from Christmas Day onwards. Don’t forget there are two drum sticks, one for the drummer, one to beat the giver of the drums.
10. Hair Trimmers
Hair trimmers of any kind – nasal, facial, underarm or bikini simply say ‘you’re hairy, sort it’ and few will fail to be insulted getting such a gift. If you want to avoid a hairy protest opt for a Boots gift voucher so they can buy a trimmer for themselves in the privacy of the January sales.