3 Tips for NOT Being a Bad Gift Giver

Are you a notoriously bad gift giver? Well, snap out of it. We can all change.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #346

A top manners issue I’m often asked about is the topic of gift giving: What makes a proper wedding gift? What are the key points to take into consideration across the board? What are the rules for regifting? But even harder to understand is this question: how can one properly recover from being a notorious bad gift giver?

Turns out the pressure in delivering the “wow factor” of a gift leads many people to buy an improper present due to the stress of the entire shopping experience. And, if you think you’ve never given a bad gift, trust me, you have —we all have. But we all get a second chance in life and in gift giving. So, let’s take a look at how to NOT be a bad gift giver.

Tip #1: Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

A huge misconception about gift giving is when someone believes a crazy-expensive gift will always be a homerun simply because of the price tag. Now, I’ll be honest, when you receive a gift that is very pricey, you can’t help but be blown away. It could be the worst present in the world, but when you see how much it was, your gut reaction will be to say, “Oh, Gosh … Wow!” We can’t help it.  This doesn’t make us shallow. It’s an observation and we react accordingly. However, and this is a BIG however, just because a gift is fancy does not mean the gift giver nailed it. In fact, if you assume that just because you drop a ton of cash on a present to “show your love,” well, you’re just wasting your money. Money will garner you attention, but it won’t buy happiness.

Case in point: a friend recently told me about a gift he received for his 40th birthday that left him wondering, “Does this person even know who I am?” This is odd, since the person was his sister. And granted it came from the heart, the gift was anything but embraced. Her idea of a perfect gift was a new pair of skis. On the surface, this was an incredible gift! Yet, my friend doesn’t ski. In fact, he hates the cold weather altogether, and avoids anything that involves enjoying the great outdoors in chilly temperatures … such as skiing! You would think his sister would have known this, but here she was being selfish and only thinking about what would make a good impact. She wanted her present to stand out above the rest, as if to say, “Here’s how much I love my brother and my gift is the best!” Was it the most expensive? Of course! But was is the “best gift”? Absolutely not.

One of the key factors into avoiding being a bad gift giver is to not bank on your bank account. When you rely solely on what you can afford over what you feel a person may like, you come off looking like a show off and rather egotistical. Instead, use your super power of good credit to buy something they will use, and something they wouldn’t normally buy themselves. Take the skiing example. If the recipient were an avid skier, then instead of the skis, treat that diehard-skier to a lift ticket and meal at the resort. One less thing that day they won’t have to worry about, and they can enjoy the slopes better than ever.