Top Ten Things Not to Do When Buying Gifts for Others

Here is the 23rd installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.

10.  If you are buying a gift for a girlfriend, do not plan to give clothes unless you are double dog sure of the sizes. If you’re lucky, you buy something too small and she feels bad (yet happy) because you think she’s smaller than she really is. If you’re unlucky, you buy something too big and she makes you feel bad for thinking that she’s bigger than she really is.

9.  If you are buying a gift for a boyfriend, do not plan to give him one of those latest mechanical gifts from an on-line gadget store. Best case: he won’t be able to figure out what it is for and will feel stupid. Worst case: he will know what it is for since he already has one.

8.  If you are getting a gift for a mother-in-law, do not plan to re-gift something you received from a family member or even a complete stranger. In the best case, you’ll have left the gift receipt in the box with last year’s date. In the worst case, it will be the very gift your mother-in-law gave you two years ago. To make it even more embarrassing, you raved about how perfect the gift was when you got it.

7.  If you are buying a gift for a father-in-law, do not plan to give any kind of hat. The best case is your mother-in-law will tell him he looks ridiculous in it. The worst case is he will actually like it and wear it just to spite the mother-in-law, and then you will be on the hook for the resulting friction.

6.  If you are buying a gift for a spouse, do not plan to give them anything they asked for when you asked what they wanted for Christmas. At best, your spouse will consider the gift as a no brainer on your part and wonder why you didn’t get something else. At worst, your spouse will have changed their mind and you now have a new door stop.

5.  If you want to give a gift to a teen-ager, do not buy anything. Simply give them the money you would have spent. If you do buy an unwanted gift, the best you can hope for  will be an eye-roll followed by the teen-ager getting a cash refund for the gift. At the worst, you’ll soon find the gift, with the gift sticker still affixed, at your local thrift store.

4.  If you are buying a gift for a co-worker, do not buy any intimate apparel or anything that could be considered personal. In the best case, you will be thought of as “kind of creepy.” In the worst case, you will be explaining to Human Resources what you had intended by the gift.

3.  If you buying a gift for the postal person, do not give anything you have baked. The postal employee is fully capable of putting their own cookie together. At best, you will see your baked goods handed off to the next mailbox on your street. At worst, you will wonder why your mail stopped after the holidays.

2.  If you are buying a gift for a white elephant gift exchange, do not buy anything you might not want to take home. The best case is you manage to avoid being stuck with what you brought. The worst case is you will be the proud owner of the gift you brought which then you will have to store away until next year or gift to your mother-in-law.

1.  If you are buying a gift for your boss, do not try to keep up with his tastes. Simply get a gift card from Amazon and let him pick up a book. The best case is whatever you give other than the gift card will never cost enough. The worst case is you might actually spend enough to find out your boss has one of what you bought. Unless it is a new Ferrari, you will never recover.

About Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, and cat lover.
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25 Responses to Top Ten Things Not to Do When Buying Gifts for Others

  1. Jade Reyner says:

    Ha ha ha – excellent advice Marie! Loved this one!! 😀


  2. Rules to live by. Makes me think of some of the worst presents I’ve gotten over the years and how it could have been avoided.


  3. Great list, Marie! Number 5 is right on!


  4. Expat Eye says:

    Fantastic! Glad I read this before starting to shop! Figure I still have a couple of weeks anyway… 😉


  5. sknicholls says:

    I have regifted my elephant gift from last year for this year many times, somehow, it keeps coming back to me.


  6. Good Morning Marie.
    All good reasons to be careful when selecting gifts. Makes one wonder why we all don’t just go out and find what we want and hand the loved one the bill? Too practical? Well…..


    • 1WriteWay says:

      Yeah, it’s all so silly, especially these days when too many of us have too much already 😉 I’m trying to get rid of stuff, not get more stuff 🙂 (well, except for books.)


  7. Then there was the year my “step-mother” gave my wife an Epilady hair remover…


  8. Great advice, I wish I had know some of these 25 years ago, it would have saved me embarrassment. 🙂


  9. ericjbaker says:

    Whenever I buy lingerie for my co-workers, I always make sure it’s a size too small so they feel happy. Same deal with the sex toys.


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