When you don’t have any idea what to give someone at Christmas it is terrifying, and when that person is your significant other and your relationship depends on how well you perform, then it is life or death.
Many of these are actual mistakes I have made in the past. As the Generosity Guy, it is my job to help you learn from my mistakes. I’m still not great, but I am getting better.
Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Don’t give cash, unless they want cash and say, “I only want cash”. Even then it could be a trap, so at least wrap the cash up in a pretty bow.
- Don’t spend all the money you have on their present. Christmas is important but so is paying rent the week after Christmas
- Don’t go into debt to pay for an outrageous gift. See the previous point about paying future rent.
- Don’t buy them a gym membership. Even if they say, “I would really like a gym membership”, this is also a trap and will come back to bite you.
- Don’t buy a dolphin picture. They are never received as well as you would think and just create tension.
- Don’t buy just one thing. If you are super uncertain about what to get someone, just buying one thing is a pretty big risk. Hedge your bets, buy a few smaller items which gives you more of a chance of getting something right. You can always return the things they don’t like and give them the cash from that (in a pretty bow).
- Don’t write them a song, unless you are a professional song writer. Even then I’m not sure how well it would go down. Most of the good ones have been written already anyway. Probably don’t sing them a song that someone else has written, that lacks originality.
- Don’t ask your ex what to give your current partner. That’s just messed up.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Remember, it’s the thought that counts and the fact that you are trying your best is a great start.
- Do ask the person you are buying for to give some ideas or suggestions. If you need to be subtle about finding out, ask “for a friend”, that always works (about 60% of the time).
- Do get clarity about gift expectations. There’s nothing like the anxiety on Christmas morning when you realise that the agreement not to buy each other a present was one that you made up in your head.
- Do ask their family members what they think (but beware of the family member who doesn’t like you and pretends to help but is secretly throwing you under the bus by suggesting that you buy them something that will bring back traumatic memories of a childhood experience, promptly ending your relationship).
- Do try and think of things that you have done together over the last year that they seemed to enjoy. Things like events you went to (sporting, or music, or other things that people do) and buy tickets to that again. You will soon find out whether they really enjoyed it when you went together or whether they were just pretending to make you feel better. Either way you get to go again so win-win.
- Do take them to their favourite store for a shopping spree to a set amount. Sure, it’s the same as cash or a gift voucher but it feels a bit more personal when you take them.
- Do buy them a book. People should read more.
- Do buy them music. People should listen to more music.
- Do buy them an Opportunity International Australia Gift of Opportunity – that is guaranteed to make them feel good, because, really, who needs more stuff?
Any other tips are warmly welcomed.