Now that Christmas is fast approaching, I’m sure you have the same questions that I do – what should I buy people for Christmas?
Do adults need a surprise?
As an adult, I wonder whether Christmas gifts still need to be kept as a surprise. Of course, it is nice to be surprised by receiving a gift you really want but I admit I don’t need more than one surprise gift at Christmas. Life has enough surprises! Also, I think that buying the right gift is a skill that requires knowledge of the other person. I think, if you don’t know, then ask. And girls, remember that the ‘hints’ you provide need to be direct. You probably need to actually say “I would like this for Christmas” (and maybe more than once!).
Don’t buy goods that won’t be used
There are a lot of gifts that get bought and don’t get used and sit in a cupboard.
Giving and receiving gifts that aren’t going to be used frustrates everyone. The buyer might get frustrated if a lot of thought has been put into the gift. The recipient might feel guilty that the gift isn’t being used or perhaps annoyed that they missed out on the gift they really wanted at Christmas.
Don’t buy the small crap
There are gifts that are used to ‘pad’ out other gifts. Men would commonly get socks, undies or ties. Women might get soaps, scarfs or hand cream. Do we need them? Will they be used? Can that $10 be better spent on something else?
Do buy experiences
A few years ago I decided that experiences make good gifts. The thought is there (rather than just a gift card or cash) and it is often something that is expensive enough that the person wouldn’t purchase for themselves.
Do try to do Kris Kringle right
If you have a large family and you need to buy for each person individually, then everyone can end up getting a number of small presents that they don’t really want. Or to put it another way – can you really get something for $10 or $20 that each family member will actually want, that they haven’t already got or that they will use?
Why not have a Kris Kringle system where each person buys for one other person only. The organiser of the Kris Kringle pulls names out of a hat to determine who buys for whom. Each person will know who they are buying for, but not who is buying for them (except the person organising the Kris Kringle).
Get a friend to organise your Kris Kringle
Or, if you know your family will complain that Kris Kringle is “rigged” (or you don’t trust anyone in your family to organise Kris Kringle fairly), swap family names and emails with a friend and ask the friend to pick people and email your family directly who they are buying for.
How much do you need to spend?
Determining how much to spend on Christmas is a question that couples and families should consider discussing. Between $50 and $100 I think is plenty.
Could you give to people who really need it?
We spend all this money at Christmas, often on things we don’t need or use, but millions around the world are in need. Consider giving gifts to support those that need it most, such as the bushfire victims or Philippines typhoon victims.
Another idea is that charities such as Oxfam, Compassion, World Vision, Tear Australia and others have catalogues where you can buy ‘presents’ to help those less fortunate (such as a goat for a family overseas!) as a gift to your friend or family member.