And a partridge in a pear tree…

24 12 2010

These days, for most of us, Christmas is a festival of food, drink, glittery stuff and….presents! But how do you choose the gifts you give? How do you select from the dizzying range of gifties available in our shops, which go from sublime to kitsch to crap?

The JC Penney commercial linked here, is an advertiser’s guide to how not to approach the matter – for men at least. (The solution is –  jewellery!)

We found the whole thing disturbing in many ways….yet interesting as a view on what presses people’s buttons.

How do you buy gifts for the people you love and live with?

1.

When I go gift hunting I think quite carefully about the person I am buying it for. If they like Lady Gaga, that’s what they get, whatever my own opinion of the dreadful LG might be. Price is a factor too obviously, but I try hard to find something I can afford, that they will like too.

The other point I consider when buying gifts, (and this is why the man in JC Penney went into the doghouse) is to try and get something the giftee would not usually get for themselves, and certainly nothing – god forbid, useful. In other words, a little Luxury.

However, when buying gifts for one’s wealthier friends who have vast disposable incomes, this always becomes a major issue, because what the hell toys/treats/accessories can you get them that they haven’t already bought? This is when ingenuity has to be used, to pick out/ create and devise something no one else would think of, to bestow upon your unfortunately rich bud – a meal at Pilawoos or gift vouchers from one of those tiny shops in Pettah spring to mind…

2.

I have to say I am very bad about this gift giving business. I usually forget people’s birthdays, Christmas and New Year are upon me before I’ve remembered that I have to give gifts and sometimes, even after I buy the gift, I forget to give it till much later! Come to think of it, the only time I remember and make plans and buy gifts is when I come back from a trip abroad.

When I do buy gifts, though, I like to think about what would please the other person. There are times I’ve given useful gifts because at the time that I was buying it (usually in the middle of rushing around somewhere just before the event) I knew they needed and were looking for such a thing. Most times, I am boring and give books and chocolates – the easiest when you are surrounded by people who love reading and sweet things! Sometimes, I’ve given gifts that were useful but that others wouldn’t think of, like a little mortar and pestle as a housewarming gift. At other times, I just see things that make me remember a specific person, like random books and gizmos I pick up for my father or coffee for my coffee-loving friends. And at times, for people I love, I go looking endlessly for things that they will be amused and surprised by!

3.

When I buy a gift for someone I love, I try to think of what it is they need…you see, I am the practical sort. I bought my best friend a cutlery set when she moved into a new house, and this year was thinking of getting her a microwave but changed my mind! As for my partner, I usually buy her books. She loves books, particularly political books, so I guess I tend to buy her something I know she would enjoy. The same goes for friends. My friend who loves night clubs and is a DJ, will get a disco light; my sporty friend will get a sporty spray and my girlie friend will get another pair of earrings!

I generally try to avoid gift vouchers. Mainly because they have the value of the gift voucher displayed on them and somehow the gift becomes less personal. I have to admit that I have once or twice recycled gift vouchers I have received, i.e re given them to someone! Terrible I know! But so easy to do if you don’t know the person very well.  However, overall, I do love buying people gifts, wrapping them and sharing them. It makes me very happy!

for more partridge humour

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