Avoid these common mistakes when buying gifts so you don't disappoint your loved ones this holiday season.
Gift buying is a tricky business so you can be forgiven for getting it wrong occasionally.
Because no matter how well you know someone it can be difficult to guess what they really want.
However, there are some gift choices that I can't give you a free pass for.
As these are things that should never even be considered for gifts in the first place, let alone wrapped up and given to your loved ones.
So, to help you avoid getting it so completely wrong this Christmas here are 15 things that should be avoided at all costs when it comes to choosing a gift.
And let's start with a mistake that many people have made over the years, which is giving someone a new pet.
Now I'll start this with the caveat that getting your children a pet for their birthdays or Christmas can be a great idea.
But only because you know that you have the time, space, and desire to look after that pet once it is in your home.
However, surprising a friend or loved one with a pet as a gift is a completely different story.
Because no matter how much they may say they want one, taking on a pet is a huge responsibility.
As they have to be walked, fed, trained, cared for, taken to the vets if they get sick, and given the love and attention they need and deserve.
And this is a lifetime commitment which can prove too time-consuming and expensive for some people.
So, do your friends and the pets a favour by not thrusting them upon each other.
As there's a lot of truth in the saying 'A puppy is for a lifetime, not just for Christmas'.
2. Sexy Underwear For Anyone Other Than Your Intimate Partner
Buying sexy lingerie for your significant other is a fun gift that helps them to feel great and can spice up your activity in the bedroom.
However, buying it for anyone else is just downright strange and creepy.
So, don't be the weird Uncle who surprises their nieces with lacy underwear on Christmas morning.
And if you're going to buy sexy underwear for your partner remember to let them open it in private too.
As it's a bit embarrassing to unwrap a gift like this in front of the family.
And no-one wants to see Grandma spitting her teeth out in shock!
3. Souvenirs From Your Recent Trips
Buying the odd souvenir to remember a special holiday by isn't a bad thing.
However, while mass produced fridge magnets or models of a famous landmark might hold meaning for you, they won't for someone else.
So, don't be tempted to bring back bagfuls of souvenirs as gifts for your loved ones after your overseas trips.
Because they will inevitably be useless crap that they don't want that will clutter up their homes.
Instead, it's a much better idea to just send a few postcards while away and then buy them something they actually want as a gift when you get back.
4. Practical Household Items
We all have essential items that we need to buy on a regular basis such as cleaning supplies and toiletries.
And while receiving these for free would be handy, this does not mean you should give them to someone as a gift.
Because the whole point of giving a gift is to surprise and delight a loved one with something unexpected that they may not have bought for themselves.
So, getting a months worth of cleaning supplies would save them some money and a trip to the supermarket, but it sucks as a gift.
You should also extend this principle to bigger gifts such as kitchen appliances, so things like a new fridge, washing machine, or dishwasher are also a big no-no.
And heaven help you if you get the missus a new iron or vacuum cleaner for her birthday!
5. Any Gift That Causes Shame Or Self-Loathing
The very last thing you want to do when giving a gift is to upset the person you're giving it to.
However, sometimes your good intentions may be misplaced and you can do this without even realising it.
So, you need to be sensitive to people's insecurities and feelings when buying them a gift.
As it can be easy to read too much into things and feel ashamed when receiving certain kinds of gifts.
For instance, if someone is sensitive about their weight then buying them anything diet-related such as weight-loss books or a pair of bathroom scales could really hurt them.
Same goes for getting them a gym membership or some exercise equipment.
Or if someone is worried about getting older then it's probably best not to buy them anti-aging or anti-wrinkle cream.
And tread carefully with self-help books for any weaknesses or problems that people may have, as while you may feel like you're being helpful, this can actually make them feel worse about themselves.
So, you need to keep all this in mind when buying a gift and actually get them something that will help in a less direct way and won't hurt their feelings.
6. Gifts That Are Inappropriate
I've already given you one example of this with buying sexy underwear for people other than your intimate partner.
But there are plenty of other ways you can buy a gift for someone that is just not acceptable of appropriate for them.
And this is bad because at best it shows you don't know them that well, and at worst it marks you down as a thoughtless and uncaring soul.
So, here are some ideas of what not to do:
I'm sure you can think of tons more.
So, put a bit more thought and sensitivity into your gift buying this holiday season and don't fall into the trap of giving an inappropriate gift.
7. Second-Hand Gifts
Let's be frank here, no-one wants someone else's hand me downs.
So, no matter how perfect you think something you have would be for your loved one, or how useful they would find it, under no circumstances give it to them as a gift.
As it just screams cheap and nasty and makes the recipient feel like an afterthought.
Instead, it's a much better idea to go out and buy them a brand new version of your intended gift.
As this way they get a great gift that they'll find useful and you won't look like a skinflint.
However, the one exception to this rule is re-gifting an unwanted gift that has never been used and is still brand new.
As this is perfectly acceptable, providing both the recipient and the person who got it for you in the first place never find out!
8. Anything Overly Expensive Or Grand
Buying someone a super expensive and extravagant gift might seem like a wonderful and generous thing to do, but it's fraught with problems.
As receiving such a gift can make someone feel really uncomfortable and awkward.
Because even if it wasn't your intention, it's natural for them to feel guilty that they aren't able to return the favour and buy you something expensive too.
And if the gift isn't something they really want then they'll feel terrible that you've spent so much money on a gift for them that they don't really like.
So, as much as you might want to shower your loved ones with luxury gifts and not expect anything in return, you need to be respectful of their feelings too.
And stick with something more conventional and within expected price ranges.
After all, you can always show your love and generosity by treating them in other ways instead.
9. 'Banter' Gifts
Having a good sense of humour and wanting to make your loved ones laugh and smile is no bad thing.
Just don't try and do this with a gift.
Because novelty gift items that are designed to make people laugh are usually gimmicky crap that nobody actually wants or needs.
So, give the weener cleaners, fart machines, and items of clothing and mugs with crude slogans on a wide berth.
And if you get creative and try to tease someone by gifting them something awful, offensive, or rude then this can also backfire.
As they might take it the wrong way and not get your intended jokey intent.
Also stay away from practical jokes such as fake winning lottery tickets, as these are cruel if your loved ones fall for the con and can ruin the holiday atmosphere in no time!
Buying clothes for someone is a complete minefield that should be avoided at all costs.
Because everyone has their own view on what looks and feels good on them.
So, the chances of you picking out the exact style, fit, colour and type of clothing that your friend or loved one wants is extremely low.
And even if your loved ones accept your poor choice of clothing gracefully, they may feel guilty for not wearing it or bad about wanting to return it.
Then we have another clothing minefield which is getting the correct size.
Because if you get this wrong it has the potential to really hurt people's feeling and ruin holidays and birthdays.
In fact, I'm sure there are endless of tales of misery and pain from husbands and boyfriends who bought their significant other a new dress in a size 12 when she's really a size 8!
So, unless they tell you the exact item of clothing and size that they want for a gift, you should steer well clear of this one.
Socks are the quintessential bad gift.
As even though they are useful, giving them as a gift to someone is just far too practical, boring and uninspired.
Because the last thing you'd want as a gift is an essential item that you'd buy for yourself anyway.
After all, gifts should be fun and exciting, right?
And don't think you can spice things up by buying them some 'funny' or novelty socks either.
Just do us all a favour and don't do it!
12. Holiday-Themed Gifts
Buying someone a themed gift that fits the occasion can seem like a perfectly good idea at the time.
However, it comes with a major drawback.
And that is that themed gifts are usually only useful for that specific time period.
So, while the Christmas jumper, Santa Claus mug, Easter bunny pillow covers, and Halloween skeleton cooking apron might initially go down well, they will most likely quickly end up in the back of someones closet never to be seen again.
Which is not what you want when giving a gift.
So, stay away from anything too specific to the holiday season and get them something else instead.
13. Outdated Items
There are certain things that used to make great gifts but no longer do.
As the world has moved on and the rise of new technology has changed the way we do most things.
So, you need to be careful not to buy people gifts that they won't find a use for anymore.
One example of this are CDs and DVDs, which were once so common in our Christmas stockings but are now pretty much obsolete due to people streaming music and movies through services such as Spotify and Netflix.
Or iPods and mobile music players when every smartphone now has the capacity to store your music library instead.
Another popular gift item that is close to biting the dust is the wall calendar, with people using the calendar on their phones to log appointments and important dates instead.
Then there are photo albums which are no longer used much as people take and store photos digitally.
So, watch out for and avoid any outdated items when gift buying so you don't end up giving someone a dud this Christmas.
14. Noisy Children's Toys
If there's one gift that any parent of young children hates them receiving it's noisy and annoying toys.
Because while these gifts may be ones that their kids absolutely adore.
They also have the ability to drive you slowly round the bend as you encounter hour upon hour of loud and repetitive whines and noises.
So, for the sake of all parents out there please steer clear of things like drum kits, toy fire engines with sirens, rattles, mini karaoke machines, or anything that talks, beeps or flashes.
After all, what's wrong with getting them a nice teddy bear instead!
15. Gifts That Benefit You More Than The Recipient
The whole point of giving someone a gift is to get them something they really want and will enjoy.
So, one of the very worst gift buying crimes you can commit is to get them a gift that you want more than they do.
As this goes against the spirit of gift giving and is in fact far more selfish than it is generous.
Some examples of this could include:
So, whatever you do don't be that guy or girl who gives gifts selfishly.
After all, giving gifts for the sole purpose of making your loved ones happy is so gratifying and will fill you with a real sense of satisfaction and contentment.
So, don't be a narcissist and give them what THEY want instead!
Hopefully after reading through this list of gift buying no-no's you will have more chance of getting it right this holiday season.
Because by avoiding these common gifting mistakes you're already halfway there to getting someone a gift that they'll truly like and appreciate.
And if you have a friend or relative who is notoriously bad at giving gifts, then subtly sharing this article with them may help to ease your pain in future too!