Don't let the title of this post fool you; I'm certainly no expert at picking out the best gifts. I am amazed, however, by people who give crappy presents. It's even worse when someone announces that they're a bad gift-giver. They shrug their shoulders and jut their chins when they say it, as if it's an inherent flaw they can't do anything about and damn it, they're not going to even try!
Bad gifts are oftentimes worse than no gift at all. The idea that the "thought" is what matters holds some merit, but how difficult is it to pick out an item that's appealing or pleasing on a general level? A gift card? A Swiss Colony Beef Log? A pretty candle? A trinket box?
Gift Card: Does this person like coffee? Ten bucks from Starbucks. Does she like to read? Border's Bookstore. Beauty products? Sephora.
Swiss Colony Beef Log: Eric Cartman said it best.
"Swiss Colony Beeflog, baby
That's what Christmas is all abouut!
A roly-poly Colony beeflog, lady
Makes a little boy scream and shout!"
Candle: Uh... Anywhere from Walmart to Yankee Candle to Marshall's.
Trinket Box: All over the place!
I was inspired to write this after thinking about my mother's friend, a neighbor who has known my mother for years and continually buys her the dumbest, cheapest gifts. They aren't best friends, but I can't help but wonder why this woman won't put forth the tiniest effort to get my mother something she might actually like. Not that she should spend a fortune, either, but this person makes an enormously good living. Yet she buys items like cheap, cloying bath fizzes for a dollar (price tag attached), or cheap, goofy pictures of chipmunks, and acts as if she's handing my mother gold.
It's not difficult and I can't help but feel it's out of laziness that people call themselves "Bad Gift Givers."
Here is what I believe to be a good checklist/guide for gifts:
1. What gender?
2. What's their personal style?
3. What kind of music do they like?
4. Favorite colors?
5. Favorite scents?
And very important, have they given you gifts before? You can probably get a lot of insight into what they might like by what they've given you. Did they spend a little or a lot?
Sometimes people give inappropriate gifts. If a casual acquaintance or co-worker buys an expensive cashmere scarf for you, it arouses all sorts of confused and worrisome feelings. And if your best friend buys you a pot of carmex (and you hand her a pot of caviar face mask), you might wonder exactly how important you are to her.
This post may reek of materialism and shallowness, and that wasn't my intention. Gifts are not the most important thing, nor are they even that important AT ALL in the grand scheme. But it is important to please the people in your life who are special, whom you love and appreciate. You may find that giving a good gift which excites the receiver is an instant confidence boost for you. It's nice to show people that we consider them to be important, that we want them to have a nice gift as a display of our affection.
So calm down, breathe slowly, and take a long perusal of the shops until you find the right gift for the person you want to honor.