This holiday season, like most holiday seasons, I ended up with many gifts I loved, and I few I’m not so keen on. I also gave a few gifts that the recipients were not so keen on (kids don’t keep these things to themselves). In an effort to avoid poor gift giving decisions next year, I am cataloguing the lessons learned this gift giving season for future reference.

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Lesson 1:
Unless you are a professional fashion designer or stylist, and know the size and style of the person you are buying for, don’t buy clothing. It is inevitably the wrong size, style, color, or fit.
If you need to give clothing, accessories in neutrals are safest. You can’t really go wrong with a pair of black gloves and a matching cozy hat.

Lesson2:
Sometimes the things they like the most, are not the things they ask for. Firebeard’s grandparents gave my daughter a magic kit. She had never previously expressed an interest in magic, but she has played with almost nothing else ever since.

Lesson3:
Getting what they ask for doesn’t guarantee they will like their present. My daughter asked for a diary for Christmas, so I got her a really cool one, with great reviews on amazon. She hated it. She didn’t want a cool diary, she wanted a pad of paper.

Lesson 4:
Even kids appreciate digital gifts. My son has played with the “barefoot atlas” app the good doctor gave him for hours at a time.

Lesson 5:
If you are at a loss for what to give, a luxurious, yet practical gift, like fancy soaps or shaving cream, will almost always be appreciated. I became very ill Christmas evening. Laying on the couch under a stack of blankets and cuddling a heating pad, the only gift I was thinking about was the thick cuddly pair of socks I had received earlier in the day.

Lesson 6:
Giving nothing is better than giving something unwanted.

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