This time of year, everyone is strapped for cash. Giving gifts this holiday season may be something you’ve really got to go out of your way to do. And, let’s face it, everyone wants their gift to be properly appreciated.
Sometimes this doesn’t go as planned, however. You spend hours knitting a scarf for your girlfriend, and a month later see it crumpled in a heap on the floor of her car. You scrimp and save to buy a beautiful figurine for your mother-in-law and it ends up collecting dust in a corner. How can we be assured that the recipients of our gifts will be appropriately thankful?
Some have resorted to leaving the price tag on their purchases, blushing and bashfully pretending it was an accident. Others turn to anger, causing a scene when they see their present brushed aside. Neither of these things are very gracious or kind to the recipient. Maybe they just didn’t know how much time or money went into their present. Here are some simple ways to avoid ill feelings.
1) Don’t give meaningful gifts to people who have shown ungratefulness in the past. Susie trashed your scarf? This year, get her a gift card. That way, you won’t know what she decided to buy and stuff in a corner. Maybe she’ll get her favorite perfume or some makeup. Maybe she’ll even re-gift to someone else. Make peace with the fact that it’s out of your hands and up to her. And if you give a gift card, you’ll never know the outcome.
2) Tell them out and out. You don’t have to write “I paid $100 for this, so please take care of it” in your card. However, a simple, “I really hope this is what you wanted. I put a lot of time and planning into it” is fair. And, if your recipient says something like, “I hope you didn’t pay a fortune for this!” Don’t tell him or her that you didn’t, even if you didn’t. Smile and say, “I thought it’d be something you’d really enjoy, don’t worry about the price.” It’s a polite way of saying “I spent more than I wanted to, but you’re worth it.”
3) Don’t give handmade gifts to people who don’t make handmade gifts. Many people make the mistake of spending 10+ hours crocheting an afghan for someone who is going to throw it in the back of their car as a cover-up or bring it on a camping trip. The best recipients for gifts like this are fellow crafters who will immediately know the amount of time and effort that went into creating it. If you insist upon making a blanket for your boyfriend or a needlepoint angel for your aunt, write “handmade especially for you” in the card. For yarn crafts, taking a “before” picture is a great way to express the effort that went into it. Take a picture of a pile of yarn with the needles and label it “before.” Then attach a card to the blanket that says “after.” Making sure they know this was a big deal to you is a good way to get them to understand.
For children’s’ gifts, like knit caps and sweaters or embroidered baby blankets, it’s OK to say or write something like, “I hope this is a gift that can be passed down to ____’s children someday.” Again, express your feelings of sentiment for the item, and they’re much more likely to get it.
4) Get something you know they know the price of. Go to their favorite store and pick something out. Chances are, they know the usual price point, and will be able to guess how much you spent. Or, be a savvy shopper and pay attention to the things they like when you’re out together. If they say “I’d love to have one of these, but it’s just out of my price range.” Take note of it. When you buy that item, they’ll know right away that you put lots of thought and a good amount of green into it.
The holidays are going to be tough this year for all of us. By following some or all of the above tips, you’re much more likely to find that your recipients will be more grateful than ever for the extra cash you forked out to make sure they receive something special.