Buying gifts is risky proposition. No matter what you buy, it sends an unintentional message about what you’re thinking. And that message isn’t always good. Here are just a few ways a gift can go wrong:
- Clothing gifts say, “Tell the cat to stop dressing you. I’ve come to the rescue.”
- Clothes that are a size too large beg the question “Is this how big you think I look?”
- Clothes that are too small raise the non-zero possibility that you’re just being a jerk.
- A new vacuum cleaner says, “When I think of a dirty carpet, I think of you.”
- Sexy gifts say, “I was shopping online with my other hand.”
- Hobby-related gifts say, “I noticed you don’t do things that are, um, useful.”
- Kitchen-related gifts say, “I tasted your cooking. I hope the problem was your tools.”
- Inexpensive gifts say, “Well, either I’m cheap or you’re worthless. Pick one.”
- Expensive gifts say, “I’m hiding a dark secret.”
- Exercise-related gifts say, “I’ve seen you look better.”
The worst type of gift is anything in the home décor category. You have a 1% chance of picking something the recipient considers a perfect fit for the house. If the recipient puts your hideous gift on the mantle, it will serve as a year-round reminder of your bad gift-giving skills and your even worse sense of taste. And if the recipient opens your gift and walks directly to a dark closet to bury it under a pile, the rest of Christmas day will feel awkward.
What we all need this holiday season are some sure-fire, high probability gift ideas. As I mentioned last year, when buying for a woman, the smartest gift I’ve seen is silver jewelry with the name of the recipient’s kids, pets, or family. See Hayjac Designs. The message is “I noticed how much you love your family.” I’ll bet that gift has a 100% success rate.
And if you know someone with an office job, you can’t go too wrong with Dilbert gifts, especially the top selling calendar on Amazon.com. The message with that sort of gift is “You have excellent reading comprehension and a warped sense of humor.”
Let’s hear your gift ideas. Describe the gift and tell me what message it sends, especially if it’s funny or smart. Include links if you can.