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How to Avoid Giving Terrible Gifts

If people grimace when you hand them a present, it’s time to improve your gift-giving skills.


  • Step 1: Make it returnable Always include a gift receipt. Even the nicest present is inconsiderate if you don’t allow the recipient the option to exchange it.
  • Step 2: Make smart choices Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Give one small item of good quality rather than something huge but cheap.
  • Step 3: Be wary of size issues When buying clothes, proceed cautiously. Don’t give someone a 'large' unless you know that they know they’re a large—if you know what we mean.
  • Step 4: Never give pets Never, ever give someone an animal unless you are 100 percent sure they want one and are capable of caring for it. Remember, you’re not just giving them a pet; you’re giving them the time, expense, and responsibility that come with it.
  • TIP: Keep a running list of gift ideas for the people who matter most to you. By jotting down ideas as they come to you throughout the year, you'll be ready when the gift-giving occasion arises.
  • Step 5: Put some thought into it You know those gifts you only seem to see around holiday time—nose hair clippers, coin separators, motorized tie racks, cheese-and-sausage samplers? They scream 'last-minute' and lack of imagination. Steer clear.
  • FACT: According to a bad-gift survey, clown art tops the list, followed by homemade sweaters, puzzles, tube socks, and ties.

You Will Need

  • Gift receipts
  • Discriminating taste
  • Tact
  • Consideration

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