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Friday, May 30, 2014

How to choose a gift they won't return or exchange

The perfect gift
Ideal gifts are customized to the receivers interests and likes
By Sophie Evans

English businesswoman and entertainer Victoria Beckham once confided, “I’m not materialistic. I believe in presents from the heart, like a drawing that a child does.” If only my mother-in-law would take this bit of advice!

Bad gift? Return to sender!

I have returned so many terrible gifts from my mother-in-law that I feel like the National Consumer League should use me as an example when they discuss how stores track customers’ return habits. Yes, stores really do this and they have been doing it for years!

Returning a gift is sometimes so stressful that it is easier to keep the gift and try to find a way to get rid of it later. Some people are notorious for donating unwanted gifts to charity or a thrift store. At least this way you can still feel good about your gift helping in some way. But other people might re-gift an unwanted present to an unsuspecting person on some later occasion. 

And I know a few people who are not above throwing unwanted gifts right into the trash! Either way it is a waste of your time and money when people do this.

Finding the perfect gift

Unfortunately finding “The Perfect Gift” is a rare achievement. This is true whether the gift is for a male or female, regardless of their age. Will they like the gift you spent so much time carefully selecting?

What if your gift sends the wrong message, such as a cookbook for someone who lacks talent in the kitchen? Here are some tips for finding a gift that will leave you the hit of any occasion.
  • Likes and dislikes – Take into consideration what the person likes and dislikes now, and make sure those tastes are current. Don’t assume that something they enjoyed ten years ago is still something they like, and don’t assume that just because something is trendy means they will like it, either.
  • The laugh factor – Gag gifts may not be perfect, but they are usually a safe bet. One year for Christmas we bought my father-in-law a toy chicken that laid candy eggs along with a gift card to his favorite diner – whose specialty is southern-fried chicken. While he was touched by the gift card, he still laughs about the silly toy chicken!
  • Stay appropriate – The gift that is appropriate for one person you know may not be appropriate for another. Just because your sister enjoys chick flicks starring Matthew McConaughey does not mean that your middle-aged male boss will feel the same.
  • Avoid clothing – There are just so many areas where clothing gifts could go wrong. The fit, the style, the color – the possibilities of failure are endless. Unless it’s something safe like a t-shirt they are guaranteed to love, stick with a gift card to a clothing store instead.
When you take the time to select a meaningful gift that comes from the heart, then you have a higher chance of your gift being received with broad smiles and exclamations of gratitude instead of awkward expressions and mumbled words of thanks.

Don’t be afraid of asking the person’s family and friends what they might like as a gift. And if all else fails, then come right out and ask the person what they want for a gift! The right present not only shows the recipient how much you really care, but it can also help you form a closer bond with that person.

The 3 P’s of gift giving

When choosing a gift for someone, I like to remember “The 3 P’s” as my grandmother would call them. The first is price. Stay within your budget, but don’t cheap out on the recipient. If all else fails and your budget is extremely tight, go for the homemade gift.

The second in “The 3 P’s” is promptness. Make sure you gift the gift on time, or as soon as possible after the event passes. There is a difference between a belated birthday gift and waiting so long that you have tripped into the realm of complete rudeness.

The third in the list of “The 3 P’s” is presentation. Even the plainest presents can turn into great birthday gifts with some careful attention to how you wrap it up, whether it is a gift bag that you embellish or personalize, or wrapping paper that you spruce up with some glitter spray or a bow that will really dazzle them.

About the author: California freelancer Sophie Evans is also a wife and a mother of two. Although she loves shopping, her busy lifestyle does not always allow her the time to devote to it, which is why www.gift-wiz.com is such a handy resource especially for birthday gifts. When she is not working or spending time with her family, Sophie’s hobbies include planning her family’s next Disneyland vacation and sneaking off to Starbucks for lattes.

Image license: Christmasstockimages.com, CC BY 3.0