Practical presents come from the head and romantic presents come from the heart and then there are those presents – those cringe-inducing gifts so tone-deaf they must have originated in a deep, dark orifice…like an, uh, ear. Wherever they come from, you definitely don’t want to be the person giving them.
If your answer to any of the following questions is yes, stop, put down the gift and slowly walk away.
1. Is this gift really for me?
Sometimes romantic partners request sexy lingerie, and sometimes they receive it knowing that it’s really a present for its giver, and not themselves. Don’t pretend you don’t know the difference.
2. Was this item popular with 1950s housewives?
Would a new blender, vacuum or refrigerator improve your home life? Great! Then give one to your home.
3. Could this gift be construed as criticism?
Save the New Year’s resolutions for yourself. Unless specifically requested, self-help books, diet products, gym memberships and anything else that implies the receiver is less than perfect are best avoided.
4. Did I buy it on points?
Hey, if you can score a gift your loved one truly wants on points, go for it. But if you’re just taking advantage of your gonzo Optimum points to pretend a mega bottle of shampoo constitutes a real gift, we’ve got news for you: it doesn’t.
5. Can the words ‘novelty’ or ‘gag’ be used to describe this gift?
Underwear gloves, rapping hamsters, fart spray – these things are funny for exactly one second, and after that they’re just more junk in the landfill. Despite the fleeting laughs, nobody wants them.
6. Am I buying this to make a point?
Passive aggression is a holiday tradition for many families, but try to keep it out of your gift exchange. It might be tempting to buy your slacker partner a ribbon-wrapped snow shovel or a pair of dishwashing gloves, but it would be better to talk about the chores he or she is shirking. Just maybe save that conversation for the New Year, after the days for making merry have passed.
7. Is it alive?
New Year’s is a sad time for the countless young puppies and kittens who find themselves abandoned in shelters. If your family is determined to welcome a fuzzy, furry or scaly friend in your lives, the SPCA recommends finding your pet after the excitement of the holidays has passed so you can settle into your new routine with grace.