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Present buying 101

Tech and Innovation

Posted on December 2, 2010

5 min read

Right, so I don’t want to cause anyone to go into unnecessary premature onset festive season panic mode, but it really is getting dangerously close to Christmas. It is getting so dangerously close to Christmas that people really are starting to talk about exactly what they are doing (and quite possibly wearing, eating, unwrapping) on Christmas day.

It is getting so dangerously close to Christmas that people are starting to make room for extra food in their cupboard as if they had turned into giant human-sized squirrels who had no other option but to submit to their instincts and hide a portion of their nut stash away for the winter and impending festive season (who knew what kind of oversized squirrels might unexpectedly turn up at your door demanding shortbread and whisky?).

It is getting so dangerously close to Christmas that I actually found myself buying a battery-powered wreath at the supermarket over the weekend, just in case, because you just never know when you are going to need one of these things (likewise festive season cheese graters and felt pet antlers)… or so the thought pattern went.  Anyway.

So with the alarmingly imminent onset of Christmas comes the alarming activity of buying presents, and although I do admit to having begun my present buying in August, this in no way means that it is finished…oh, no no no no no. August was just the start of a long drawn out, highly intense, emotionally draining but selfless present-buying, labour of love/retail splurgapalooza/ credit-card-swiping festival (with dire financial ramifications) that when I look at it now from the benefit and wisdom of blogger’s hindsight (log that for a disorder) I can see that the whole thing actually spans almost half the year – which I confess, does seem a little over the top, but I suppose that is the only way I can cope with doing things. Be 400% prepared. Never let the tinsel sneak up on you. Ever. Because shiny things can be scary too.

The thing is (and please, somebody cue naff emo-harp background music while I make a point), I want to make sure all the presents I buy for the people I love are the best possible present I could buy for them. I want to make sure that I have done the best job that I possibly can and rather than getting something I think they want actually get something that they really do want. This is why it takes so much time. This is why the saga begins back in August.

Once I tick a couple of ‘easy wins’ off my list, I can then focus on the harder ones: the people who have everything, the people who don’t even get a category in the Myer Christmas catalogue: new boyfriend in the family (exfoliating glove?), the new Portuguese Water Dog in the family (a paperweight?), the random relative I haven’t seen since since I was developing my fine motor skills and enjoying infanthood who has decided to come to Brisbane for Christmas (novelty sunscreen?). And I know that I may not get the right present in the end, but at least I will have tried. And that, in my book (which I actually haven’t written yet so the following statement may be null and void), is all that matters.

image of green gift boxAnyway if you are having a bit of trouble buying gifts, I am not sure the following list will help you, but nonetheless, here is the definitive, no-holds-barred guide to help you with your present-buying this festive season:

  • Is the person you are buying for actually a person? Virtual friends and avatars may be quaint but they aren’t real. Make sure skippinggirl_55 has a heartbeat and an address before you start buying her stuff.
  • Is this present so impersonal that they could hand it out at train stations and 99% of the population would be mildly satisfied? Examples may include: a voucher for the local BP, or single serves of toasted muesli in throwaway containers (or anything in a sachet, for that matter).
  • Is this present slightly over the top? This might include buying your three-week-long holiday romance/boyfriend (who hasn’t even broken up properly with his ex yet), a seat on the Virgin galactic space shuttle unless you are very rich and the cost of this ticket is like a mere drop in the ocean (in which case, why are you even reading a gift-buying guide?)
  • Is this present a little underwhelming? Examples include, a box of matches or a bag of onions. Everyday items which although useful if present are not actually present material. Confused? Me too.
  • Is this something that the person is likely to feel uncomfortable with: examples include a facial waxing kit for your prospective mother-in-law or a piece of controversial art, such as deers in bikinis posing with human heads stuck  on their antlers standing in a pool of blood/beer. See? It’s not nice people. (Of course if they specifically requested such presents this rule is cancelled out – obviously – and maybe rethink your association with this person once the present-giving high has worn off)

So I hope this has helped you somewhat. Sometimes it’s nice to have a boundary around what’s right and what’s not, and then we can go crazy within the confines of ‘acceptable’… I just hope that when you put your feet up on Christmas Eve and all the shops are shut for the foreseeable weekend ahead that you can think warm and fuzzy feelings of contentment and achievement rather than  ‘oh my goodness, I forgot to by a pedi-egg for Aunt Molly’.

One month to go people.

Tell us, what’s your normal present-buying routine…do it in October, or leave it right until Christmas eve? Have you ever forgotten anyone?