Gifts you don’t want to get

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Un­wanted Christ­mas presents. I’m fairly sure you’ll get one this year.

If you have par­tic­u­larly lov­ing friends and family, you may even get two, three, four or more.

It’s a haz­ard of too much good cheer.

So what do you do with them? Money writers all over the world at this time of year have ad­vice for you.

It boils down to be­ing po­lite, say­ing ‘ thank you’ and then de­vi­ously dis­pos­ing of the un­wanted ar­ti­cle for gain, karmic brownie points, or in re­turn for some­thing you ac­tu­ally want.

Re­ally there are very few op­tions. I count five sen­si­ble ones. The five ‘‘R’s’’. They are: Regift: Stick­ing them in the present cup­board un­til some­one they are ap­pro­pri­ate for needs a gift.

Re­sell: Pop­ping them on Trade Me, af­ter ei­ther an in­dis­creet, or dis­creet time lapse, de­pend­ing on how short of money you are.

Re­cy­cle: By this I think of giv­ing it to some­one who can make use of it, rather than putting it in the re­cy­cle bin. For me this gen­er­ally means giv­ing it to the Sal­va­tion Army in my bian­nual clear-out.

Re­ject: The bin, which is waste­ful and not planet friendly.

Re­fund: This is for the brave. You say to your giver, ‘‘thanks. I don’t like it/I’ve al­ready got one/it’s not my colour, but I’d love to swap it for some­thing I’d like/some­thing dif­fer­ent/ some­thing that suits me. Have you still got the re­ceipt?’’

Ap­par­ently so­cial sur­veys in Bri­tain have dis­cov­ered only 6 per cent of peo­ple have the pluck to ask for the re­ceipt.

The flip side to get­ting un­wanted presents is giv­ing them.

To give an un­wanted gift is far worse than to get them. It’s a waste of your money.

Also it’s tempt­ing to think there may be some karmic link be­tween giv­ing rub­bish gifts and get­ting them, so it’s worth putting a bit of thought into present-buy­ing.

Based on my own ex­pe­ri­ence, I’d boil down the prin­ci­ples of gift­giv­ing to five points.

The first is: If in doubt, give some­thing nice to eat or drink. I dare any­one to feel dis­ap­pointed to get a funky bot­tle of ex­otic Aroha cor­dial, or a box of Devon­port chocs.

Most im­por­tantly, an edi­ble or drink­able present will never hang around for long, or go to waste.

My sec­ond prin­ci­ple would be: Un­less you are the undis­cov­ered equiv­a­lent of Trinny and Susannah, don’t do sur­prise clothes. The scope for get­ting clothes wrong is im­mense.

Closely associated to that is my third rule: Don’t give dis­play items like pic­tures, ob­jets-d’art and so forth un­less you are very, very sure. Giv­ing some­one a vase they’ll have to put out ev­ery time you come around isn’t very kind.

Fourth: A crack­ing book with the re­ceipt tucked in the back is never a mis­take, though check the shop will al­low un­read books to be swapped be­fore you buy.

Fifth: Un­less they are young folk, don’t give them gift cards. That’s just a thought­less gift for a grown-up, though for a cash-strapped youth it is the gift of power.

Oh, and please, don’t trap each other into gra­tu­itous gift-giv­ing, par­tic­u­larly if you have less well-off rel­a­tives.

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