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  • Writer's pictureDebby Raill

How NOT to buy a dud

Have you ever received a gift that was so off the mark that you didn’t know what to do with it but you felt like you had to keep it?

I used to feel that way about collectibles and ornaments. Over the years I have been given some beautiful but useless items. I would always thank the giver and place the item in my china cabinet.

Then three things happened… 1. I now had an extra item to dust. 2. The items multiplied. And 3, I began to resent the gift givers.

Why did I feel resentful? Because I hate dusting! Those gifts caused me extra work and cluttered up my china cabinet. The items I did truly love were now hidden in the back.

I know you want to give little tokens to your friends, family, and colleagues this holiday season, but before you make your purchase, ask yourself these questions.

1. Will this gift enhance this person’s life? If so, how? If not, put it back on the shelf. Be honest here. Buying someone a mug when they already have 20 is not enhancing someone’s life. This actually causes stress because now they have to figure out what to do with it.

2. Is it possible this gift will cause the receiver more work in the end? – Is it something they will have to maintain? Do they have the ability to maintain it? Do you think they are even going to want to maintain it?

3. Do I know for a fact that this person wants/needs or has room for this gift? – there’s no point buying someone a new mug when their mug cabinet is full and they already have a favorite.

4. Does this person already have a lot of stuff? Are they the type to hang on to items just because someone gave it to them? If you don’t know the answer to those questions, assume the answer is yes. Then ask yourself if you really want to contribute to their clutter problem.

5. Am I imposing my own taste on this person? This might be ok with a bottle of wine, but not so much with artwork or clothing.

6. Would this person prefer an experience or consumables instead?

I love questions 1 and 6. A gift should always enhance a person’s life, not complicate it. And experiences are awesome. I would rather receive a gift card for my favorite restaurant or have my car detailed than receive something that is going to require dusting. A small bag of expensive coffee that I wouldn’t normally buy shows me that a person is actually thinking about how I spend my time and what I like. It may not seem like much, but that little bag of coffee tells me that there was actual thought that went into the gift. The person thought about me and what I like, not just buying a gift.

There you have it, my 6 questions to make you the gift giving hero of the season.

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