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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Gift Giving


You shouldn't have! The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Gift Giving

by Bev Barnfather

gift giving“Oh,” I gasp, “Thank you SO much! I am speechless” (true), as I arrange my features in an expression of unbridled delight, privately wondering how they could have got it so wrong.  It is so not me. We have all been here – recipients of the “present faux pas”, forced to lace gushing and undeserved adjectives into our expressions of thanks.

I raise the topic of gift gaffes at a coffee morning and there is a sudden crescendo of chatter. My friend Sue cites an Elvis mirror as a wedding present and Pauline, a compost bin as a birthday gift from her husband (who is a serious, serial offender in the gift game).  Unsuitable gifts can be a source of great amusement; one only has to look at WhyDidYouBuyMeThat.com, a site where people post photos of their most hideous gifts. A quick scan reveals a water gun shaped as a hot dog.

However, getting it wrong can be no laughing matter. That lovely leather handbag, when given to your Hindu associate, may do more harm than good. And the more important the relationship, the greater the potential for a seriously ugly situation. Gift gaffes from those we love have the power to hurt.

Unconsciously we perceive gifts as a reflection, a validation, of the relationship. A great gift reflects the givers understanding of who we are, physical evidence that they “get” us, whilst simultaneously reflecting the values and taste of the giver. The right gift is a deposit in the relationship bank; a poor choice can be a withdrawal.

We all want the gifts of attention and connection. So be the gift personal or professional, give attention to the giving and I promise you, the connection will deepen.

I would love to hear your stories of the good, the bad and ugly. Why not share them on our Facebook page – just be sure to protect the innocent.

Yours in gifts worth giving,