Five Christmas gifts you might not want to give include shoes and boots, wool sweaters, sexy lingerie, gift cards and holiday themed apparel. While each of these might be the perfect gift for someone, too often it is the wrong gift and conveys the wrong message. Unless a family member or friend has specifically asked for one of these items, give them with caution, knowing it might be a mistake. Over the years, I’ve been given each of these gifts, all from well-meaning family members or close friends. I’m sure many of you have received them as well and might agree that they were not the perfect gift.
Shoes and boots are difficult to buy for anyone. They have to fit comfortably, and relying on size alone is often not enough. If shoes are a bit too tight, a bit too high or a bit too short, they cannot be worn comfortably. Nobody wants to give a gift that causes blisters or is never worn. If someone on your holiday gift list really wants new shoes or boots, go shopping with them and let them try on a few pair before choosing their favorite as a gift. If this is not possible, give them a gift card to their favorite shoe store and let them make their own selection after Christmas when prices will be lower and stores will be less crowded.
Many people are sensitive or allergic to wool. Wearing a wool sweater, no matter how luxurious, means only itching and prickling for them. Give wool and wool blends, cashmere and Merino sweaters with extreme caution. Few things are more miserable than spending the day wishing you could just take off your sweater and finding your body red and irritated when you finally do. Unless you know someone very well and know that they wear wool comfortable, choose a nice acrylic, polyester or cotton blend instead.
Almost every woman has, at some time, been given a sexy little piece of black lingerie. Romantic, well intentioned and as pretty as can be, it will probably spend most of the time in a small pink box at the back of her pajama drawer. Men are too often unaware that the women in their life are not all built like Victoria’s Secret angels and surprise them with something much too tiny, much too provocative and much too expensive. Give sexy lingerie only if you know your girlfriend’s size and taste well.
Gift cards can be the perfect gift, allowing someone to choose what he or she really wants. They’re great for sending tucked inside a Christmas card and electronic gift cards are perfect for last-minute gifting. Yet, giving a $25 gift card, especially to an upscale store can be a big mistake. I have a $25 gift card to a pricey department store that I’ve been unable to use for three years. Gift cards can also seem a bit impersonal, causing some people to feel that you didn’t care enough to take the time to buy and wrap a real gift.
Holiday themed apparel is fun to wear during the weeks before Christmas and especially appropriate for Christmas parties, drop-ins and get-togethers. Santas, snowmen, poinsettias and decorated trees are great on sweaters, sweatshirts and ties. But, when the sun sets on Christmas night, holiday themed apparel is put away for the next year. Most people will not wear them throughout the winter and some stores will not offer refunds or exchanges after Christmas. Choose your gifts carefully, remembering that these are surely not the only gifts to be given with caution, it at all.
As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending.