Don't believe the hype . . . .

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  1. My dad and I were having a discussion about the 'stereotypically good' and 'stereotypically bad' Christmas gift, and whether or not it's deserved.

    The fruitcake has this unfair reputation of being the 'stereotypically bad' present. I think people liken it to concrete because they're threatened that the cake is so heavy. It's heavy because of all the little nuts, fruits and orange rinds in there. It's delicous. It isn't a bad gift at all! It's actually a good gift! (Hostess gift, maybe, or something you'd give to a neighbor. My point is, it shouldn't be as dreaded as it is . . . . although the jokes made about it can be funny!)

    The 'stereotypically good' gift is always in the Sears pages for the handyman on the gift list . . . it's one of those screwdriver sets that have 56 different sized screwdrivers. Growing up, I would see those ads and think, "Daddy would really like that for Christmas!" Um, no, he wouldn't. It seems like such a wonderful thing, but nobody needs 56 different sized screwdrivers. They need one screwdriver with interchangable tips (and maybe a special little one used to fix glasses).

    What Christmas gifts do you feel have an unfair reputation (both good and bad) that you'd like to address?
  2. I think that gift certificates get a bad rap. I personally love them b/c it means I can go out and pick my own gift. Okay - perhaps not much thought involved in it - but the person has to think about where to buy the gift certificate from! That takes a certain amount of thought!

    Bad gift - KITCHEN CRAP. I am a mother of three and I spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen... Yes, I love to cook, but 90% of the time I feel like a freakin' short order cook and it is a CHORE. Kitchen utensils are boring. They make me feel like YOU think all I am is a cook. I'll puke if I unwrap a cookbook this year.

    Thanks for this thread Caitlin. I hope everyone I know reads it. Umm, actually no, scratch that. Tpf is my little secret. he he!
  3. Sweaters-on TV they're always really ugly....and they always have a reindeer aplique or something like that...but actually, I've gotten a few really nice sweaters
  4. My stereotypically bad gift, which I admit I have been guilty of conferring on a number of unfortunate relatives are warm fuzzies, meaning the entire range of winter-fabric n' textured bathrobes, pajamas, slippers, and yes, I am sorry to say, the dreaded throw.

    There are many reasons this is a bad idea, but one of the major ones is that people are perfectly capable of purchasing their own sleep and loungewear, even when it gets cold, and even if they are very "cold-natured" people, meaning that they start breaking out the angora when the mercury drops below 80. Especially in that case, for such people, as you (and I) will notice if we happen to just glance in their closets, already have an impressive arsenal of anti-winter weaponry, that they chose themselves, according to their own tastes and needs, and the likelihood that what they were really hoping to find under all that gold paper is another polartec snuggler is so small as to be statistically non-existent. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I have never stooped to presenting anyone with such an item embellished with snowflakes or other popular Chriskwaneidukahstice motifs.

    The stereotypical GOOD gift is something that the recepient has actually said they wanted, or something that your personal observance of their possessions indicates that they need but do not have. For me, this year, that would be either Chanel No 5 or Arpege perfume, or that Universal Red Lipstick that a poster in another thread who will know that I am stereotypically evil because I don't remember her name said looked equally good on Sudanese and Nordic skins. I wrote it down so I could mention it loudly to people but I don't remember its name right now either. As usual, I blame the pills.
  5. Bad gift to me is the regift. If you didn't want it, why would I? Seems tacky to regift and pretend you didn't. Also, I've never gotten a good regift.

    Bad gift that is not so bad is plants. Some people seem to hate them, but I love em.
  6. this is funny cuz our store windows display these stereotypical xmas gifts.. like it has a picture of a xmas sweater, and the text reads, "Really? Another sweater? How about a..." and it gives suggestions for other cool gifts and it goes on the same with a picture of a fruitcake, cologne bottle, and red/green striped tie.

    imo, the stereotypically bad gift would be a gift cert or gift card.. i would rather get money or things like this cuz it's easier on both the gift giver and the gift reciepient. and if they're from a nice store, at least the packaging is nice!

    stereotypically good gift: winter-wear. Hellooo.. it gets cold in southern california like.. 2 months out of the entire year.. why bother? a jacket is fine.. i dont need 10 cable-knit sweaters. however, i like recieving scarves and gloves, but please stop with the sweaters! I don't even wear sweaters.. i wear hoodies and zip up hoodies.. lol.
  7. Bad - anything household related. Including cookbooks, irons, toasters, microwaves etc.

    Good - requested items or cash
  8. omgoodness.. this lady last year bought some glass cleaner that we sell, and asked us to gift wrap it.. i jokingly asked if it was for her maid and she said yes! lol. i'm like.. wtf.. why would her maid WANT glass cleaner for xmas.. that's a retarded gift.. that's like, "here, you dont clean well with your cleaner, i'm giving you this one.. it's better.. now go back to cleaning!"
  9. hahaha thats horrible!!
    kind of like when a woman gets a vacuum cleaner for a inappropriate and so not right, but i know it happens.
  10. Stereotypically bad gift: gym equipment, gym membership, or some other weight-loss related product, because the recipient will be insulted by the implication that s/he needs to lose weight. It's probably true that most folks would feel a little insulted by a gym membership/machine, but I don't think I would.

    Also, some feel that it's insulting to give a woman an electric shaver, but not so for a man. I guess some women don't want to be reminded that they do indeed grow body hair. I actually asked for an electric shaver once.

    The worst type of gifter in my opinion is the person who buys something that is obviously more for themself than the actual gift recipient. Recall that episode of the Simpsons when Homer bought a bowling ball engraved with his name for Marge's birthday? Well, there are some people who actually do that. My mom knew a lady who received a battery charger for X-mas from her husband.
  11. OK, I have too many rebuttals to quote them all.

    First I will defend the re-gift with the classic and ever-popular "Now wait. It depends."

    For instance, a pair of pink flannel shortie pajamas emblazoned with cartoon cows (and yes, I did receive this very item, from a relative - but wait there's more - at a time when I weighed 175 pounds, randomly distributed over my 5'2" frame). This is not the kind of thing that is a good candidate for re-gifting. There is no human being on earth who would want such a thing, and no explanation for how such a garment ever reached the market, and the only sensible thing to do with it is cut it into squares and put it where your husband keeps his collection of oil-change related fabric squares.

    If, however, the gift is something perfectly respectable, that you received or own duplicates of, like the year I got 7 - count 'em - 7 bottles of Amarige, because I had said I liked how it smelled on someone, then 6 of those bottles will make perfectly respectable re-gifts, or at least they did at that time, when Amarige was a very popular fragrance, even with people with whom it should have not been a bit popular, for reasons involving incompatible body chemistry and wet poodles.

    Or it could be something that is once again, perfectly respectable, but just the wrong gift for you, like the times we have received everything from George Foreman grills to yet another absolutely beautiful crystal decanter and matching glasses, when we have almost no counter space to speak of, and what there is is non-negotiably spoken for.

    Which brings me to my next rebuttal: Toasters, decanters and matching glasses, George Foreman grills,etc are all perfectly fine gifts for people that you know do not have any of these things, or the funds with which to purchase them. This might include newlyweds, young people "just starting out" in their first apartments, people who have recently undergone a challenging situation involving disaster, natural or man-made, such as hurricanes, fires or relationship-related events that have had a devastating impact on the potential giftee's lifestyle, inventory of possessions and/or funding to replace same.

    And don't forget those collectors! We were able to find a loving home for several of our decanter sets with an individual who inexplicably maintains and cherishes an ungodly assortment of the things.

    So re-gifting is in many ways, no different than gifting in that the first and most important element of the process is thought. About the recepient, about the gift, and the likelihood of compatibility between the two, and the absolute worst gifts are always ones that are hastily bestowed, without any consideration of either.

    Gift certificates are, in my view, the ideal gift solution for employers with a large number of employees. They will be appreciated much more than a fleece hoodie (or crystal decanter set) with the company logo, a throw emblazoned with a digitized rendition of the corporate headquarters, or a 20 lb ham. And yes, all of those really did happen. And you can just imagine how much the Muslims and Jews appreciated that big ol ham.

    The lady who gave her maid a bottle of cleaner actually gave her a much more valuable gift. Confirmation, in case the maid needed it, that there are some things that money cannot buy, and how much money we have, and whether we earn that money by being a maid or if we earn so much of it that we are able to employ one, is no indicator whatsoever of either class or taste.
  12. You're welcome!

    I don't cook, but I occasionally bake. And my cookbook is usally the back of a bag of Tollhouse Chocolate Chips or a box of cake mix.

    Buying a book for someone is so personal. Unless the person specifically tells you what they want, your best bet would be to get a gift card to that bookstore. Another thing that gets people into trouble is knowing what their interest / passion is, and getting them the newest book about that subject. What seems like such an interesting, original idea to you might be the same exact interesting, original idea to three other people.

    I used to work in a bookstore, and a customer returned a copy of Kevyn Aocoin's Making Faces. Making conversation with her, I asked her why she was returning it. She told me she's a makeup artist, and four different people got her that exact book.

    Then there's the "I love you, nice try, but horrible book." If you don't know much about a person, don't buy them a coffee table book on tractors, thinking this might be something they would possibly like. (You're safe if the person specifically mentioned that particular book.) I've gotten returns the day after Christmas from people basically saying, "I got this yesterday, and I don't like [whatever the book was about]."

    I would think buying a cookbook would be just as personal, right? You thumb through the book, looking at the recipes, thinking, "I would LOVE to make that someday!" That's the criteria you have before you buy it. So if someone else were to buy you one, they would either buy you one you already have, or they'll buy you one that has absolutely nothing to do with your genre of cooking. (If your passion is cooking Indian curries, for example, you'd have no use for The Big Book of Cookie Recipes.)

    In short, for both books and cookbooks, unless the person gives you the exact title of a book they want, your best bet is to do a bookstore gift card.

    And don't buy them something because you think they SHOULD be interested in it. The gift should be something they enjoy and there shouldn't be any of your expectations surrounding it.
  13. It really seems to depend on who you're giving it to.

    I think, for a very close relative or friend (like your mom or your best friend you've known for years) then a gift card is unacceptable. It just seems to impersonal. However, for anyone else, it's perfectly fine.

    And I think fruitcake isn't exactly the most acceptable because even if most people haven't tried it, about 99.9% of people will just throw it away if that.

    Also, if you buy someone who you barely know a very expensive, flashy gift it seems a little rude. It can sometimes put people in akward positions. This isn't always true, I guess though.
  14. I love gift cards and gift certificates! I get to buy what I want on a sale price! :yahoo:

    Bath and body stuff would be on my list just cause I make my own and have friends who makes it and they're IMO better than those made commercially.
  15. i love when people give me gift certificates to places they know i love (i LOVE getting ones to book stores and stuff)...but, for the love of god, don't give me one to home depot! (yes, i really got one last i ended up giving it to my dad)

    bad presents to me are the cheapo version of what they know you really want. if you want bath/body stuff, they don't buy you the nice stuff they know you love- they get you the cheap stuff that you don't/won't use (though i certainly realize funds are limited and i dont ask for uber expensive stuff...thats not the point).