Six tiny tips for a disaster-free gift giving season

‘Tis the season of giving.

But not all of us have the luxury of time, so that we’re done gift-shopping as early as October. Or the luxury of wealth, so that we’re not constrained by budget. Or the gift of gifting, so that all recipients of your gifts jump with joy when they open the package.

I’m no expert in gift-giving either. I’ve had my share of tacky gifts, both as giver and receiver. So here are some small lessons I’ve learned through experience, or the experiences of friends, for a hopefully disaster-free gift giving season:

1. Regift with caution. if you don’t like a present, pass it on to another family member who might like it (cross your fingers, eyes and toes he/she doesn’t hit you with it, if it’s that tacky!), the house help (I find my ates just love it when I give them stuff), the friendly neighborhood mailman or street-sweeper. Or donate it to charity. I’m pretty sure the gift is not that bad and, somehow, someone in this big world will find some good use for it.

There are instances, though, when regifting is permissible – such as when you pass on to your niece a totally acceptable but so girlie gift that your son gets.

2. If you must regift, follow the cardinal rule of regifting – don’t get caught. Do not do it within the same circle of people from which the gift came. Well… unless of course you want the giver to know how tacky/unwanted the gift is. (But I find that kinda mean and so not-in-the-Christmas-Spirit… ).  Besides, the truth finds beautiful/amusing/shocking ways of letting itself out.

Which leads us to…

3. Do not switch gifts, for goodness’ sake! Methinks this is more abominable that regifting. You might ask, “do people really do that???” Shocking, but yes, some people do – at parties when no one is looking at the gift table. And they think they will never be found out. But, like what I said, the truth always comes out. 😉

Which leads us to…

4. Securely tape your gift tags. Uh-huh! I saw that my sisters’ gift packages always have gift tags taped on all four sides. That’s because her gifts travel all over, and she doesn’t want tags falling off and gifts getting lost. I think this is a good gift-switching deterrent. Gift tag stickers are a great idea which you can actually print at home.

5.  You can almost never go wrong with food gifts. Unless it’s a fruitcake (uhhmm, but my Dad loves getting fruitcakes, no joke!). Or undercooked oatmeal cookies (gaaaaaah. Kaya pala “chewy”….). Or over-ripe fruits. (Eeeek, guilty! I once gave away over-ripe persimmons to a neighbor. He gave me moldy kakanin in return.)

6. “It’s the thought that counts” is the most misinterpreted, over-rated gifting cliche. If you really thought about the person while shopping for the gift, he/she would love it, no matter how simple and inexpensive it is. Sometimes, “it’s the thought that counts” is our poor excuse for a tacky gift.

Can you add to these tips?

Have a happy, disaster-free gift-giving season, everyone!

(Image source)


Here is a very good thoughtful gift for family or friends visiting for the holidays – arranging transport service for the day (if not the whole stay)! They’d surely appreciate that you thought of their convenience. If you can’t do it yourself, there are car rentals (like alamo car rental) that can take care of your guests. Jiffeh!

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