I know we should be grateful for every gift we received this holiday season, but some gifts can be just plain awful and leave you wondering why your friend or loved one thought you would like that item. Take the awful dollar store Christmas mugs I get from colleagues every year. If I were someone who had been drinking my tea out of my palms all year long, then I would truly appreciate their thoughtful gift, but I’m super picky about mugs and have 3 amazing mugs at work so the dollar tree mug is more about the gift giver’s need to find something cheap to give everyone rather than thinking about whether each person receiving their gift would like or use their gift. I’d much rather receive a $1 lottery ticket than a $1 mug. Given the choice of receiving a useless gift or no gift, I’d rather receive no gift at all.
When I returned home from work a few days before Christmas, there was a box at the house that had been hand delivered by a friend who lives a couple towns over. A couple weeks ago we had gone out to dinner with said friend, her husband and their adorable son and I had mentioned that my husband and I were still building our ornament collection. I made a reference to an owl ornament I had seen and how I was determined to find a pineapple ornament too. Well, she had found both for me! I was so touched by how personal and thoughtful this gift was. I will remember her every year as I place these ornaments on our tree. She also knows how much my husband loves cocktails so she had included those cool stone ice cubes for him. He loved it! She killed it with this gift!
In past blog posts I’ve mentioned that consumable gifts like food items, cocktail paraphernalia, candles and other items that disappear over time are my preference, but there can be useful tangible gifts that stick around too. This year I gave my colleagues Office Holiday Stress Kits that I blogged about here it wasn’t anything fancy, but a handful of them have already told me they used some of the items I included which really made me happy. Earlier in the year I also asked my female friends and cousins what their favorite colors were so I could get them crystal stylus pens that I had bought myself and found really useful. I leave mine in my purse and when I need a pen, it’s right there. When I find myself waiting for a doctor and grab my phone to check emails or catch up on social media I use the stylus side. These weren’t meant to be their Christmas gifts, but just something I want to give them whenever we saw each other because we all use our phones incessantly and I don’t want any of my favorite people getting finger cancer!
Here’s a list of cool things I received in 2015:
- Bracelets (Alex & Ani & a few homemade ones) I love bracelets so these people really knew I’d use what they gave me.
- A clay mug from Anthropologie (LOVE it! It’s clay and keeps beverages warmer longer and doesn’t have a Santa Claus on it!)
- A magnetic car air vent mount for my iPhone (useful)
- A portable air humidifier for when I travel. (useful)
- Tamales (consumable)
- Bath and Body works travel size lotion and anti-bacterial (useful)
- Pineapple mango jam (consumable)
- Gift card to Morton’s (consumable & my husband’s favorite spot!)
All of these items are useful and/or involved some thought. As long as you think about what people would use versus what you want to give them chances are they will appreciate the gift more.
I’ve already started thinking about things I can give people next year. For example, earlier this month, we were in New Jersey visiting family and I noticed that my father-in-law clips all his keys to his belt loop (even when he’s home) and they jingle and jangle. I saw a gadget called KeySmart which will keep his keys tidy and silent. I think he may find this useful. I’ve seen an iPhone bluetooth keypads have caught my eye as well. I think that people who compose lots of emails for work might find it useful. A beer slushie machine caught my eye and I now EXACTLY who would appreciate this and then there is the raclette for foodie friends who like to host small dinner parties. I can’t wait until I have opportunities to give these gifts!
What were some of the great and not so great gifts you received this holiday season?