Oh, yes, it was another major gift giving mistake committed by Yours Truly, once again. The dining table was strewn with trinkets for baskets, the little pieces of
goodies junk piled high. I proudly surveyed the haul, looked up expecting to see pleased faces, and was met with stares that stated loudly and clearly, “Are you kidding??” Cue that I want to hide under the nearest rock feeling…
Gifts are my love language — not the receiving, but the giving. There have been many times I’ve knocked it out of the park with a specially chosen gift, but also many times I’ve struck out spectacularly. And I do mean spectacularly!
The good news is, I can usually pinpoint a reason my gift choice fell flat. The bad news is, I can usually pinpoint that reason in retrospect. So to help keep you from the same 20/20 hindsight that so often plagues me, I thought I would share some of my biggest gift giving mistakes. Hopefully this will keep your gift giving reputation resembling Santa rather than the Grinch.
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Not considering the recipient’s personality and assuming that just because you like it, your recipient will like it, too.
This is one area where I have had great success and great failure! My young niece loved the trunk full of dress-up clothes, and my nephew had a blast with the kit for writing and publishing his own book. The niece who wears tall boots all the time loved the long boot socks; the niece who wears only ankle boots, not so much…oops.
I love Brighton jewelry. My mom loves almost any jewelry except silver. Surely I wouldn’t give her silver Brighton jewelry — more than once — would I? Umm, fail.
It is important to remember that just because you like something doesn’t mean your recipient will love it. His or her personality and personal taste should be your deciding factors when making a gift choice.Avoid my #GiftGivingMistakes + get a FREE gift giving planner! Click To Tweet
Ordering online and shipping direct without a card or gift wrap.
There are times when this makes sense and is perfectly acceptable. For example, I order gifts for several nieces and nephews, and send the whole box to my sister who is sweet enough to wrap it all and save me a fortune (yes, I’m lucky!). But there are other times I’ve won The Tacky Gift Giver Award for this one! Like when I’ve ordered White House Christmas ornaments online and had them shipped directly to the recipient — no wrapping, no card, just a packing slip. Don’t be like me on this one. “Tacky” is not a pretty color on anyone.
Giving gift cards to stores that are not easily accessible.
Gift cards are such an awesome mixed blessing. On the one hand, it is a chance to give exactly what someone will want and use. On the other hand, it can seem pretty impersonal. Especially when I didn’t do enough research to make sure that 1) my recipient actually liked the store in question, and 2) said store was easily accessible. It’s not much fun carrying around a card for a restaurant 45 minutes away whose food you really don’t like.
A quick Google search will tell you if there is a particular retailer within a reasonable distance. And if you are not certain what your recipient will like and can’t find out surreptitiously, it is better to ask than guess incorrectly.#GiftCards & direct shipping are fine for #gifting - when done right! Don’t make my mistakes... Click To Tweet
Waiting until the last minute.
We’ve all been there and done it. It’s the week before Christmas and we still have 18 things left on our gift list. There is no time left to find or make that perfect something special. Seeing the gift I gave in the giveaway pile later, or worse, having it re-gifted to me at a later date (yes, this has happened to me!) is a pretty big indicator of a gifting fail!
A blown budget is another downside of last minute shopping. I may have gotten lucky on occasion and found that perfect gift, but unless I got super lucky and found it on sale, chances are I paid full price (and then some!).
On a side note, if you are going to be an awesome early shopper, make a note of what you have purchased, and where you have stored it. Not that I’ve ever found a Christmas gift (or five!) in the back of a sock drawer…in July… So start as early as possible, be organized and make a list. And even though you may love the experience of shopping in the store (yes, I do love it at Christmas 🙂 ), shop online when you can if it saves time and money.
Spending an inappropriate amount money.
This is such a tricky one. While most people — including me! — truly believe it’s the thought that counts and the money is irrelevant, some are offended if you spend too much, and still others get their feelings hurt if you spend too little. I have made some real mistakes with this one.
Look again at that example back in the first paragraph. In this particular instance, I lived halfway around the world where stores like Walmart and Target did not exist. I happened to be visiting my family at Easter, and decided I would make baskets for my nieces. Walmart made it into the black that year because in one day I tried to make up for seeing those little girls once a year! But I took one look at the faces of the adults around the table as I filled these baskets, and realized in one heart-sinking moment that I had just spent a ridiculous amount of money on a ridiculous amount of junk and that made me look, well…ridiculous!
I’m not suggesting you cheap out, just consider the appropriateness of not only how much you are spending, but what — and who — you are spending it on. And while we should never give a gift with an expectation attached, we need to consider whether our recipient will feel obligated to reciprocate. I’ll say it again — this is a tricky one!Don’t be that ridiculous aunt - a little #GiftPlanning goes a long way + FREE #GiftPlanner! Click To Tweet
Not giving something from the heart.
On our 17th wedding anniversary, I wrote a love letter to my husband. That letter meant more to him than any gift worth any amount of money. It was my heart on a piece of paper for him to keep forever.
One afternoon my mom and I were walking through a craft store and she commented on a print of a famous painting that she loved. I was learning how to custom frame at the time, and for Christmas I purchased that print and framed it for her myself. This was a double win because 1) I paid attention to what she said she liked, and 2) I did the work myself.
Is it bad that I’m still patting myself on the back for that one 20 years after the fact? Considering the many fails I’ve had in this category, I prefer to look at it as savoring the wins! 😉
The most meaningful gifts often don’t cost a lot of money, but they may cost time, thought, and effort. I doubt I’ll ever have a year when I get this all correct, but I keep trying. And the less often I repeat these mistakes, the more often I’m likely to score a win.
If you have made it this far, I would love for you to comment with which gift-giving faux pas you think we should avoid. And if you found this post helpful, please share!
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