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Do know who you are buying for and focus on what they like and where they like to shop. Think about their hobbies and interests. If the person is a close friend this should be a no-brainer. If the person is your business associate, boss, or employee do some detective work and use common sense.
Do include a gift receipt for easy returns.
Do give cash. You might be surprised how many hair stylists, dog walkers, and other helpers love cash. So take whatever money you spend on hand lotion etc…and stick in card. It doesn’t need to be a fortune to be appreciated. Younger relatives will love cash too.
Do listen! People tell you all year long what they love. If they go to the movies think about giving movie gift cards. If they are never without their iPod then iTunes gift cards are a good gift. Actually good iTunes gift cards are available everywhere and a good bet for anyone under 30.
Do be careful about scents. Give someone their favourite scent – not yours! If you know a close friend loves a nice body product then standards from Body Shop, L’Occitane or Jo Malone are usually good choices. But giving perfume or cologne if don’t know the person’s fragrance is not a good idea. A younger trendy friend might enjoy a sampler of the latest new fragrances, but be sure you know that it is someone who enjoys that type of thing.
Do give edible gifts, but be aware of allergies and preferences. Don’t give a ham to a vegan!
Don’t give gifts of “self-improvement” unless they have been specifically requested! This includes books, DVDs, or memberships related to weight loss or exercise. Nowadays, many people on your list may love yoga DVDs, clothes, or other health-related items, but be sure they are wanted. A gift shouldn’t make anyone feel badly about themselves. This rule includes anything related to self- improvement or self-help.
Don’t feel guilty about regifting if the gift is new, unused, and perfect for the person you are giving it to. Also do not give away gifts from close friends and family. But regifting corporate gifts and other really fabulous brand new swag is fine. Some of my favourite gifts have been regifts and some have even been vintage items.
Don’t feel you need to overspend or go crazy. It is the thought that counts so aim for a thoughtfully-chosen gift within your budget.
Don’t give gifts with scent or nuts for secret Santa games or at schools where you can check on allergy situations. Stick to neutral gifts such as unscented lip balms and hand cream, or nut-free creations. Better safe than sorry!