When shopping for Christmas Stocking Fillers we often tend to go a bit mad and buy lots of cheap and cheerful gifts without giving the choice of gift a great deal of thought. Filling the stocking with lots of goodies might be fun but there are rules to consider before choosing what you buy and for whom. What might seem like brilliant stocking filler for one person might be a total mistake for another.
Things to think about:
1. The persons individual likes and dislikes:
We all have our own favourite prezzie ideas but this does not mean we have to inflict them on others. The idea is to buy a gift that you think the person will like and not one that you secretly hope you will eventually end up with when the original recipient a) chucks it at you in disgust b) throws it in the bin where you can surreptitiously retrieve it later c) passes it on to another friend the following Christmas who then passes it on to you the Christmas after that one. Listen carefully children; this is not the reason we buy gifts!
2. Their interests:
Choosing the perfect gift is like choosing a piece of clothing; it needs to suit your shape, size and colouring. Well, actually not YOUR attributes but those of the recipient. Buying someone something in the hope that you might get them to join you in your hobbies/pursuits or in the hope that you might get to borrow a gadget or suchlike is not in the true spirit of gift giving!
3. Their physical appearance:
Open your eyes and take a good long look at the person you are buying for. You do not want to embarrass them or embarrass yourself by being the perpetrator of any of the following misdemeanours;
a) buying a hair drier for a bald person
b) buying an electric shaver for a ZZ Top look alike
c) buying a sparkly, stretchy boob tube for a cuddly girl who always wears baggy black kaftans and attends a slimming class
d) buying joke boggle eye glasses for someone who actually wears jam jar bottom thick glasses all the time anyway
e) buying a joke character mask for a person whose face is actually worse than the mask and who will be greeted by horrified gasps when they take the mask OFF
f) NEVER EVER EVER buy anything sporting a fake moustache for a facially hirsute female!!! You get my drift shoppers?
4. Where they live:
Pay attention to where the person actually lives. Garden tools or gardening paraphernalia will not be appreciated by a person living in a high rise block of flats. Neither would they be impressed by a garden hammock or a paddling pool. Likewise, a person with a massive garden and vegetable plot/herb garden would be completely mystified as to the reason why he/she has received an Indoor Allotment or a miniature box of seeds etc.
5. Their job/occupation:
People come home to escape work so be very careful that their stocking filler is not a reminder of this. Do not give a nurse/doctor a Blood Bath Shower gel type anything unless you want to find yourself possibly wired up to the darned thing! Accountants will not appreciate anything even remotely resembling a calculator (even one made of chocolate). Well maybe if they are female they might overcome their revulsion and just eat with their eyes closed! Publicans do not want bottles of any type of alcoholic beverage or drinking glasses and caf owners do not want novelty mugs. Cooks do not want any type of cooking gadget/implement and scientists do not want any type of miniature microscope however fantastic its magnification is. So be careful!
6. Their age:
Children will accept anything but again, beware as there is nothing more disappointing for a child that receiving a stocking filler that they are too young to use. Yes, we all know that Daddy or Mummy will have loads of fun putting things together but that is no good for the offspring is it? Teenagers always think they are much older than they actually are and will be happy to have all manner of grown up gifts but think ahead and do not go anywhere near gifts bearing the words Karma Sutra, Erotic, Wicked or Sexy. Although should you forget this rule and find yourself already having bought such items then you will just have to keep them for yourself! On the other end of the scale are the Silver Surfers who may be mightily offended to receive any type of gift normally associated with elderly people.
7. Their level of fitness and general health:
We all like to think that we are reasonably fit and able to manage all sorts of physical exertions but you dont want your choice of gift to be responsible for permanent injury/damage to anyone. A skipping rope might seem like fun, especially after a few Christmas Sherries but the last time the writer tried to do a doubler she ended up with a seriously ricked back for a week! Do not buy a musical gift for anyone very hard of hearing. No booze for anyone with alcoholic tendencies (if you have friends like me, this might significantly reduce your gift list) and only an electronic, not the actual cigarette for anyone trying to give up the dreaded weed.
8. Their financial situation:
Gift vouchers or lottery tickets can be a wonderful idea but if the recipient is really struggling then cash might be a better bet. If a voucher is a must try to choose one from a shop or website selling a wide range of goods as this means they may be able to buy something they really need but cannot afford themselves. Cash might seem tacky (and of course, they will know how much you have spent) but it might be a great gift for someone who needs it.
9. Your financial situation:
The idea behind stocking fillers is to buy something small and usually fairly cheap and cheerful. A few sweets, an orange, a few nuts and a new penny. (Oh sorry thats from my dim and distant past)! If money is not a problem diamond earrings or a ring (are you listening boyfriends and husbands everywhere)? But if money is tight you may need to scour the pound shops, charity shops, market stalls or resort to Blue Peter style hand-made creations.
10. Whether they love Christmas or are Bah Humbug types:
If the person you are buying for loves all things Christmas then go to town and have a ball choosing and wrapping their lovely stocking fillers as you know they will love everything about this.
If they are miserable, undeserving Scrooge types who just look on Christmas as an unnecessary indulgence dont bother to waste your hard earned cash or precious time on them and instead spend that money making your own Christmas a little nicer for yourself.
Consider these quotes from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol;Ebenezer: You'll want the whole day off tomorrow, I suppose.
Bob Cratchit: If quite convenient, sir.
Ebenezer: It's not convenient. And it's not fair! If I stopped you half a crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, wouldn't you? But you don't think me ill-used if I pay a day's wages for now work, hmm?
Bob Cratchit: 'Tis only once a year, sir.
Ebenezer: That's a poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every 25th of December.
Bob Cratchit: Yes, sir. I'm sure I'm very sorry, sir, to cause you such an inconvenience. It's the family more than me, sir. They put their hearts into Christmas as it were, sir.
Ebenezer: Yes, and put their hands into my pockets as it were, sir. I suppose you'd better have the whole day. But be back all the earlier the next morning.
Bob Cratchit: I will indeed, sir. Thank you, sir! It's more than generous of you, sir.
Ebenezer: Yes, I know it is, you don't have to tell me.
I hope all the Bob Cratchit's will enjoy Christmas 2012 and that all the Ebenezer's will change their opinion of Christmas.
Happy Christmas one and all!