As I prepare to start my Christmas shopping, I look up in the top of my extra closet at all of the gifts of Christmas’s past, sitting there…waiting to be used. It reminds me of the “Island of Misfit Toys” in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I have several nice items in the top of my closet, just not enough time to figure out how they work, or perhaps it’s just a “misfit” for me. But, I don’t want my gifts to others to end up at the top of their closet!
Gift cards have made buying presents much easier. I’ve heard all of the excuses, “They aren’t personal”, or “They will know how much I spent”, but none of those excuses comes close to negating the benefits of a gift card. If you know where your intended recipient shops, buy a gift card to that store. I buy gift cards for both my daughters every year for their favorite stores. With the gift card, they can take advantage of the after Christmas sales, they can save it and use it later in the year, and they can select something they really like.
Try the direct approach. Ask your intended recipient what they would like for Christmas. The Wall Street Journal ran an article by Sumathi Reddy titled “The Science Behind Gifting”, on December 4, 2012. According to the author, “People are more appreciative when they receive a gift they have explicitly requested.” I ask my daughters for gift ideas for themselves and their boyfriend or husband. It’s no surprise, I’m going to buy them a Christmas gift, might as well buy one they will like. I also try to think of several inexpensive gift ideas for them to buy me for Christmas.
Everyone loves cash. When my daughters were younger, my family gave each of them money for Christmas. I made them save the money until it was time to go back to school shopping in August. Needless to say, this was not popular with Rachel & Hannah. However, as they got older, they realized the wisdom behind saving their Christmas money to buy new clothes for school.
Who said exchanging gifts with everyone in the family was a requirement of Christmas? When I feel obligated to buy gifts for distant relatives, it makes me stressed out. My family of origin stopped exchanging gifts a few years ago and, I must admit, it makes Christmas more enjoyable. I believe most people will agree, shopping and buying gifts is the most stressful part of the holiday season. If you will be bold enough to suggest abstinence, I’m sure your recommendation will be welcomed by your family members.