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I just read an article about the worst gifts to give during the holidays. I’m not sure which Grinches were surveyed, but I disagreed with pretty much every item on the list. So I want to share something about gift giving.
I’ve learned over the years that most people fall into two categories when it comes to gift-giving talents: those who are good at it, and those who are not.
Do you know which category you fall into? If you have no idea, you’re likely in the latter category.
Poor gift givers are not bad people — they just don’t think much about the whole thing. If you’re a man who has ever gone to the grocery store on the way home from work and picked up flowers and candy for your wife’s birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day gift, you’re in this category.
I’m not judging. I’m just going to give you some advice. And before you get defensive, please remember if you follow the advice (especially for men), you’ll be richly rewarded. In fact, you may even consider giving me a gift because of this possible life-changing information.
Being a good gift giver — similar to what you learn in any basic sales job — is all about knowing the client, or gift recipient. Putting thought into what you are buying is the key ingredient.
That may sound like a no-brainer, but the reason stores put together “packages” is because so many shoppers don’t know what to get, so they just grab whatever looks pretty.
Before you head out for some last-minute shopping — and we’re on a serious countdown — think about who you’re shopping for. What are that person’s passions?
Try seeking out a specialty shop and put together a few gifts into a customized package. Trust me, your loved one will appreciate the effort.
Many men (sorry), think something in which they’re interested is what their significant other will want. For example, I like beautiful lingerie as much as the next woman. But at this point in my life, I would probably appreciate some really comfortable, cozy pajamas more than, err, some other ensemble.
We all know what I’m talking about. Things that look fantastic on a 95-pound supermodel, aren’t going to look the same on 99.9 percent of other women.
Another example — If your wife loves to run, exercise or play tennis, attire related to those activities may be a good gift. If, however, she needs to lose weight, giving her running shoes is certain to fail. A gift should be something to enjoy, not a suggestion to change something about yourself.
OK, so now that I have your attention, the good news is it’s not too late for change. As you’re reading this, you have four more shopping days before Christmas. Yes, you’re going to have to go out there with all of the crazies and major procrastinators.
But trust me, when you see his/her face opening a gift you put thought into, you’re going to receive a present of your own — that feeling of surprising someone who knows you really went above and beyond.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.