Sucky gifts that don’t actually suck

5 Dec

Ah, the most wonderful time of the year. Time for salivating retailers everywhere to fight over your wallet like the Bumpuses’ dogs over a turkey. They’ll do just about anything to grab a chunk of the money that’s flying around, including poke fun at other, “lesser” gift ideas. Some of these so-called lame gifts ideas don’t deserve their bad rap. I, for one wouldn’t turn up my nose at any of these:

Socks. As a kid, this would have been the very worst present possible. As a grown-up, a nice pair of socks is a serious boon. Why do you think adults are always giving them to kids? (But, none of those socks with the toes. The moment has passed.)

Gift cards. The perennial criticism is that they’re impersonal, but I disagree. The key is to purchase it to a specific store that you know the receiver likes, or even better, a service (like car washes or manicures). Generics like Visa and Amex gift cards do tend to make you feel like you got a rebate (or a paycheck?) instead of a gift, although I still wouldn’t complain.

Chocolate. Don’t give it to your friend on Weight Watchers, obvs—that’s just cruel. But nice chocolates (Godiva, Ferrero Rocher, Harry and David, maybe Lindt–not Hershey’s) are never a miss.

Candles. Like the chocolate, just take it upscale and you have a really nice present. This is a great option to buy local or handcrafted (by someone legit—not your aunt trying out Candle Making for Dummies) at one of the billion markets and craft fairs going on now. When in doubt, go for the subtlest scent available.

Pajamas, robes, and slippers. The trick is to never buy the kind that come out only around the holidays—you know, the conveniently packaged ones on department store kiosks? It doesn’t have to be pricey, but it should be something that you would buy for yourself. Like, I’d love to have these, not so much these.

Soap and lotion. Soap on a rope jokes aside, shower gels, lotions, etc are really nice. But there are two rules: A) make sure you either know what kind of scent the person likes, or pick something very light, such as aloe or almond; and B) never buy anything that comes in prepackaged set near a checkout counter.

Electronic singing [fill in the blank]. OK, OK. So these gifts are pretty lame, truth be told. But if you’re giving something like a gift card or cash—awesome but not as fun to open—wrapping up a silly gift can be a big hit. P received a singing Christmas Tree from my family one year, and it was hilarious, and bonus: my toddler freakin’ loves it now.

And three gifts that are not as awesome as they want you to think

Fine Jewelry. Every year my mom and I enjoy gagging over the latest “must-have give” jewelry design of the season. Some of them are so heinous they’d keep away the evil eye (remember this one?). Tread with caution unless you know your recipient’s taste really well, or they’ve picked out the exact piece themselves.

Cars. You probably only love a few people enough to get them a car. Those few people would probably prefer to have a say in the purchase of such an item–unless you’re Kimye (Although I bet some hints were dropped, even then).

Homemade items. This is at the top of the list of every “gifts on a budget” list ever written. But I would like to propose a bill that, unless you are under the age of 12 or your crafts would pull in cash money on Etsy, just spring for some socks.

Happy shopping!

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2 Responses to “Sucky gifts that don’t actually suck”

  1. Thomas December 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    the Open hearts collection is the WORST. that and Journey necklaces. (not to be counfused with a Journey Necklace)

    • janielyoung December 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      HAHA Yes! Those journey necklaces are horrid!

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