For all the talk of how Christmas brings people together and why the festive period is all about embracing those around you, it’s also, in many ways, a recipe for disaster.
We are often forced together as family units in a forced state of celebration that can, and usually does, result in frosty silences, angry exchanges, and usually a bank balance that is not pretty to look upon.
Take, for instance, the act of buying Christmas presents. It’s an activity that is akin to sadomasochism in as much as it’s an exercise we don’t look forward to but have no choice but to undertake.
Though clearly the actual act of buying a Christmas present has been made easier with the advent of online shopping, where the range of options is limitless, you are still presented with the age-old problem of knowing what to get.
When it comes to the number of presents a typical individual has to buy ahead of the festive season, there is sure to be a similar pattern that develops across the world. In other words, we all face the same battle, which in a way, is both comforting and frustrating because we haven’t really learned, as a society, how to deal with a problem that won’t go away.
Here is a closer look at the five most challenging people to get Christmas presents for; these include specific family members that are already tricky to please, as well as generic types of people we all know and love or, in some cases, have no choice other than to indulge.
The Mother Who Tells You She Doesn’t Want or Need Anything
Whatever you do, don’t fall for this trap. We all have relatives who play the ‘I don’t need or want anything’ card, and on almost every occasion, the reaction to receiving precisely what they requested (in other words, nothing) is one of shock, horror, and dismay.
For this tricky present recipient, try to be creative. Here the idea isn’t to spend vast sums; it’s about pursuing the personal touch. Try touching gifts, preferably ones that are family-orientated.
Here you can look to group together with other relatives and come up with something simple but effective, like a delightfully framed family photo from a different era.
The Stylish Sibling
Most families include a member or two who are very much dressing according to trend. The fear for anyone buying presents for these types of individuals is that you’ll purchase something that’s out of season, dated, or simply not their style.
Here, simplicity is again the key. Jewelry is an excellent approach to take, so for your ultra-dapper brother, consider one of these examples of a gold ring for men, and watch as they hit the spot with your present.
The Work Colleague You Neither Love nor Hate
Among the presents you’ll give out this Christmas, there may well be something small or basic for a work colleague. This may be for many reasons. Perhaps it’s to please the boss or because there’s someone in your office that always gets you something, and you are left feeling a little worthless because you never return the favor.
Here the plan is simple. Keep it light and inexpensive. Try to go with something that goes with their mood and personality and, if possible, connect it to work. In other words, even an essential but amusing work mug for their office station would be gratefully received and, of course, is an item that will live long in the memory every time they are at their desk.
Depending on how many kids you have and their respective ages, Christmas will either be a very big deal or just a major headache. It’s also likely to be a concern in terms of your finances, and you may be left with the unenviable situation of having to say no on some occasions.
Here it’s about managing expectations and, at times, compromising. Obviously, we all want to get everything our children want, but sometimes that’s not feasible; after all, where are you going to keep that pony?
If money is tight and you can’t get every item on Santa’s wish list, then plan as well as you can to get presents well in advance. That way, the budgeting isn’t all geared toward last-minute purchases, which will drive up the cost.
There may be a situation where you have to tell your children that they can have some of their chosen presents but not all of them, then explain the situation and tell them that they’ll get the other gifts on their birthday or the next major occasion. It’s better to warn them in advance than see them open a present and not find what they had hoped they’d get this Christmas.
Your Partner, Husband, or Wife
Interestingly in a recent survey that asked people who are the hardest people to buy Christmas presents for, over 30% responded that it was their partner, husband, or wife, which is quite surprising when, in theory, this is a case of purchasing a gift for the person you know better than anyone else in the world.
One theory may revolve around the fact that getting your significant other a birthday or anniversary present is simple enough; as long as you don’t forget the relevant dates, a Christmas present is an entirely different proposition.
Here we’d go down a romantic and thoughtful avenue, but there is less of a need to splash out than for those other occasions, not least because, unlike for the other crucial occasions, your other half is also getting you something for the same date. In other words, if you really go over the top, you may risk embarrassing your loved one.
For this reason, it’s always helpful to be down to earth about presents for the love of your life at Christmas; in fact, why not make something of a game out of it? Impose a $ limit on the present, and that way, you have to be more creative and innovative about your choices.