Worried you've made a festive faux pas? Here are 7 signs you've chosen the wrong gift - and a few rules on how to rectify the situation!
Christmas chaos can drive anyone to make wacky purchase decisions and as a result may be left cringing at the sidelines as they watch their loved ones open their gifts. The good news is that this can be avoided by following a few simple rules by gifting expert and RedBalloon CEO Kristie Buchanan - so the only red cheeks on Christmas Day are those from the festive cocktails!
1. You deviated from the brief
Whether it’s a Post-it note in a catalogue or an email with the link to a desired item, these less-than-subtle signals are given for a reason and if you deviate from the plan you may risk disappointing. “If you want to add an element of surprise to a gift, get creative. One idea is to couple your chosen gift with something sentimental you’ve made. This will surprise them and should have little cost attached, so you can afford both,” says Kristie.
2. You’ve opted for cheap in a luxury category
If you’re buying items such as perfume, jewellery or skincare, it’s best if you avoid the cheapest options in the category. If you’re feeling the pinch, suggest a Secret Santa where each family member buys one gift only. It’s likely that your sister will prefer one prestige gift set than three mediocre celebrity perfumes.
3. Your niece or nephew’s face says it all
Kids’ reactions cannot be hidden, leaving no room for error. “I recommend speaking to the parents before you buy and sourcing items that are firmly on the ‘Christmas list’ – particularly if you want to avoid double ups and another trip back to the store to exchange the item. It’s also good to set a budget for kid’s gifts ahead of time as it’s easy to get carried away in a toy store,” says Kristie.
4. You bought everyone the same thing
This screams lack of effort and, with varied preferences in every family, you’re bound to disappoint someone. If you are buying a one-size-fits-all gift, try choosing different colours or combining it with another item specific to their personality or preferences only.
5. It’s something you’ve always wanted
Whether it’s a coffee machine for your husband or a box set of your favourite TV series for your bestie, if this gift has you more dreaming about when you can borrow it than how much they’ll love it, chances are it won’t go down well. “Take a moment to imagine the recipient using this item, removing you from the equation. If uncertainties appear, it’s best to choose a gift more specific to them,” says Kristie.
6. You’ve opted for novelty
While bubbly Uncle Frank or the family prankster may enjoy playing the clown, it’s likely they’ll appreciate receiving the same thoughtful gift as everyone else. Take a little more time to consider what they would really love and save the novelty gifts for the office Christmas party.
7. You got caught up in the last-minute rush
You’ve forgotten Nan’s gift and are planning a late night shopping dash. Panic can make you crazy. Can you really trust yourself to pick a gift in that emotional state? “In these instances its best to head online when you’re relaxed. At RedBalloon we email vouchers instantly - all you have to do is print and handover. And, if you’re unsure of what experience may be best, you can opt for a general gift voucher or buy an experience that can be exchanged for free,” says Kristie.