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The Best and Worst Holiday Gifts

When it comes to holiday gift giving, the main thing to remember is that it’s about the other person. Many people inadvertently give gifts that they think are thoughtful, but in fact can be upsetting or even, in a worse case scenario, actually offensive to the other person.

So, what’s a contentious gift giver to do? Information Nation has some tips that may help.

Charitable contributions are thoughtful, but only if the recipient actually likes the charity. Stay away from political charities, unless it’s absolutely clear that the person who’s receiving the gift believes in that particular cause. Generally, safe places are animal shelters and charities for children.

Another gift-giving faux pas is to give a gift that makes the gift giver look good. We all want gifts to be liked, but to give a gift that points out a difference in financial circumstance isn’t really a gift at all. For instance, giving an unemployed friend a Gucci bag when they’ve just been laid off, isn’t a gift – its thoughtless. No matter how polite the intention, presents should have a monetary equality. If someone has undergone a drastic shift in their financial circumstance, it’s tactful to keep in mind that they may not be able to reciprocate, and to anticipate that.

“Gifts” that make a statement aren’t usually the best way to show affection either. If a friend has gained weight, buying her something intentionally too small as an incentive to lose weight is likely to backfire. On the other hand, giving a friend a pair of work out shoes with an offer to walk together once a week to rekindle a friendship is a thoughtful gesture with benefits for both parties.

Re-gifting is a beautiful thought in theory, but it can be a dicey proposition. Shopping from the closet can be useful as a gift-giving tool, but it’s not a solid base for thoughtful presents. When in doubt, it’s better to take that extra blender and sell it, and then use the money for a gift that’s really what the other person wants.

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