Got ... you didn't want last ... Or the ... before that? Well, you're not the only one. They got stuff they didn't want either. "They" are your ... the ones you gave a
Got something you didn't want last Christmas? Or the Christmas before that? Well, you're not the only one. They got stuff they didn't want either. "They" are your gift-recipients, the ones you gave a stale fruitcake or a can-opener or that tacky multi-colored Christmas-themed sweater to. The same fruitcake and sweater that someone, most likely, gave you.
You hated it didn't you? So why pass it on? Probably because you just didn't know what to get them. In today's fast-paced world, we hardly have time - or take time - to listen to what our family and friends really want.
Or we half-listen and think we're on to something. Your wife complains the microwave is on the fritz all year. But do you think she wants to find a kitchen appliance under the tree? And really, does your husband need yet another color-coordinated shirt and tie?
So what's a clueless gift-giver to do?
First, tune in. Listen to what your loved ones say they want, they wish for, they'd like to have someday.
Second, understand gender differences. Men and women don't generally desire the same types of gifts. Most women like jewelry, for example, but only some men wear jewelry, many do not. Not everyone is the same, of course, so make sure you know the taste and style of the person you're buying the gift for.
Third, don't confuse personal gifts with business gifts. A man shouldn't give a ring or "eau de sexy nights" cologne to his female colleague. She's bound to take it the wrong way.
Finally, if all else fails, just follow this simple gift-giving guide:
For her: Women want to feel pretty, no matter how old we get. My 70+ year-old mother still slathers on scented lotion and dusting powder after a bath. Bath and body oils or a spa basket, which can include fragrant soaps, lotion and bath gels are always a good choice. Or buy her one of her favorite fragrances. Many come in gift sets, coupled with scented lotion or soap. And please, don't forget the jewelry!
For him: Men like their toys, whether it's a powerful stereo system or a new Ferrari. Of course, if neither is in your budget you can always get him a high-tech gift such as a handheld computer from Palm, Casio and other companies. Is he a golfer or into fitness? A new golf shirt or gloves, even personalized golf balls make great gifts or stocking-stuffers. Men like personal gifts too, but know your man. Would he prefer a new watch, to a gold chain or bottle of cologne?
For kids: Children change so rapidly from year to year, that it's often hard to know what will hold their interest and keep them challenged. Make sure the gift is age appropriate so he or she can play with it now. A pre-schooler will get much more use out of an activity center than an older child's toy like Merlin. Give them different types of toys so they have a variety of activities to choose from. In other words, don't give them all dolls or all trucks. Add some educational games to the mix. And buy what the child likes. If he prefers a train set to racing cars, the train set will get used.
For mom and dad: You can pretty much follow the For her/For him suggestions. But, depending on how old they are, you may have to age-up a little. An older woman would probably prefer a more traditional fragrance like Chanel No. 5 or Halston to Harley Davidson's Destiny. A string of pearls or a pretty brooch are always nice. If dad's a golfer, a fisherman or enjoys some other activity, find an item he can use or something related that's fun.
For friends and others: If you're close to the person, gifts can be more personal: bath sets, clothing or accessories, a piece of jewelry. Give a business associate an organizer or a small travel case. Or you can give anyone a more generic present like a gourmet gift basket that may include candy, fruit, nuts or other food items. This kind of gift makes a lovely addition to any home.
L.A. Nelson is a cable television marketer, a freelance writer and a member of the Writer's Guild of America. This article may be freely published on your website, in your newsletter, or in your eBook, as long it is used in its entirety and the copyright notice and resource information at the end are left intact.