What do I do concerning gift-giving? Well, to be honest, not much anymore. Maybe I picked that up from my Dutch hub who has never been a gift giver? Or maybe I find the whole concept of trying to find something suitable for giving is a mind-boggling experience? Maybe I am just too thrifty (read cheap!)? Or maybe I have seen and heard how too many gifts have been "regifted," returned to shops, or just stashed in the back of closets and drawers.
This week my two brothers, one sister-in-law, and my hub started sorting out my mom's home. Of course, we found some wonderful old and dear mementos of our youth and some of Momma and Daddy's treasures, but we also ran across quite a few items that were in the original boxes or wrappings and had never been used. Gifts from the three of us or our children to my parents that were completely useless and perhaps not even wanted.
As I collected some of those (still in the original packing) gifts I had schlepped across the Atlantic Ocean in overfull suitcases, I thought it might be a good time to give my holiday shopping advice.
1. Know your gift receiver's clothes/shoe size before purchasing any clothing. If it won't fit, it won't ever be worn! Plain and simple.
2. Know what colors your receiver likes/hates.
3. Find out what your receiver has really been needing (according to them, not you!).
4. Tell your other family members what you are planning to gift to the receiver. If it is an expensive item, they might chip in. If not, at least you can discuss if the item is really something that will be used and not left in the closet for someone to find in the future. (Side note: I once told my dad what I would be gifting everyone in our family, and he duplicated the entire list. I am still trying to figure out that one!!!)
5. Back to the "know your receiver," if you know they never do something (like serve hot tea), don't give them a gift (like a tea set) that will collect dust.
6. And just come right out and ask what gift the receiver would like and really use or enjoy having. Maybe it is time for adults, as well as kiddies, to write letters to Santa (or whatever) with gift requests.
I know some readers are raging at my suggestions, since gifts should be special and a surprise.
But one of the best gifts my dear mom ever gave me was a warm pair of gloves. They were just my size, just my color, just what I needed, and she decorated the wrapping to give me a hint of what would be inside. And I am sure they didn't stretch her budget.
They were the perfect gift!