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15 Gift Giving Mistakes You May Be Making [And Not Realising]

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON March 25, 2022

& FILED IN Gift Giving 


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Do you enjoy giving gifts – especially for close family and friends – but are worried about giving the wrong thing from time to time?. Here are 15 of the most common present giving mistakes, along with tips on how to avoid them. Read on to make sure your gift-giving skills are up to par so you don’t make these errors ever again.

15 Gift Giving Mistakes You Might Be Making (And Not Realising!)

Does Gifting Make You Nervous?

Gift giving anxiety is more common than you may think. We stress about getting the perfect gift all the time, for a variety of reasons.

The main thing that this worry boils down to though is getting it wrong. Ultimately the goal with gift giving is to show someone that you care and are thinking of them – so you don’t want that to be lost.

Gift giving should make the recipient feel special. By getting a gift that they truly love and/or will get use out of, you can show them that you care enough to have taken the time and effort to shop for them.

If they don’t like your gift, then all of this hasn’t necessarily been achieved.

What you don’t need to be worried about:

  • What else they get
  • Playing the comparison game
  • How much you spend
  • What anyone else thinks of the gift apart from the recipient

Everything apart from what you give to your special person is irrelevant to you – and shouldn’t be thought about as much as you can.

There will ALWAYS be something you perceive as ‘better’ than your gift – but that’s just your perception. You don’t know exactly how the recipient feels about anything – so concentrate on your gift only.

You do you.

Gift Giving Mistakes To Avoid

#1 – Over-Gifting

Sometimes less can really be more. It can be uncomfortable to receive what you feel is too much – so always go by how you think the recipient will feel.

#2 – Giving Gifts YOU Like Without Thought For The Recipient

  • Anything they don’t like – or are allergic to
  • Home accessories or clothes accessories in your personal favourite style
  • Donating to a charity of your choice – rather than thinking what they would like to donate to

#3 – Giving Something Without Any Thought Behind It – Just For the Sake Of Giving

There are several gifts that run the risk of creating the feeling like not much thinking has gone into it.

Things that are in this category are:

  • Chocolates
  • Socks
  • Flowers
  • Wine

Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything really wrong with these, but if you want to make an impact with your gift you may want to stay clear of the more obvious choices.

The exception to this would be if you can make the gift feel more unique to the person you’re gifting it to.

For example – they may LOVE socks from a certain brand, or chocolates with a certain type of filling.

You can be thoughtful even with standard items!

Brown paper wrapped gifts tied with string bows on a wooden background

#4 – Giving Novelty Gifts

Anything that’s funny can be a risk – especially when your sense of humour is different to the receiver!

As such, be careful when looking at gifting novelty items that are funny or risky in some way.

Also in this category is souvenirs. Not many people want to be gifted items from a trip you’ve been on….

Far better to spend the same money on something else that you can be more sure they’re going to love. Why take the risk?

#5 – Clutter Causing Gifts

Sometimes experiences are much better to give than stuff.

We all have loads of things, and so having something to do could be ideal for a change.

Some ideas for this would be:

  • Theatre tickets for a couple
  • Zoo membership for a family
  • Afternoon Tea for you and a friend to spend time together

{ Related: 35 Ideal Clutter Free Gifts They’ll Love }

#6 – Giving The Same Things Every Time

Dad love socks. Mum loves sets of toiletries. Neice loves penguins.

And while these are all true – they probably won’t appreciate me gifting them these items each and every Birthday, Christmas, special event, for ever!

By all means give them occasionally – but, unless they REALLY want it again and again, leave it at that.

Dad probably has more socks than he knows what to do with by now.

Most of mums bathroom cabinets are probably stuffed full of products still waiting to be used

…and that poor niece is now 16 and is NOT into penguins like she was 10 years ago…. ENOUGH ALREADY!

#7 – Giving Anything Unsuitable For The Recipient

When gifting it’s important to be thoughtful to what would be suitable and what wouldn’t.

If you’re gifting for kids, then take their age AND their parents into consideration.

For example:

  • A drum kit won’t go down very well in a small home, a pet would mean lots of work for them as well – etc…..
  • Extra large toys will need storing – and could become an issue
  • Small pieces – even if the child is old enough, if they have younger siblings it could be dangerous

Equally – for any age group you can get into trouble if you don’t think properly about the gift – however nice it seems…

Example: toiletry set for a female friend that includes anti ageing products…. ’nuff said!

#8 – Regifting Their Gift Back To Them

While there’s nothing wrong with re-gifting presents you don’t want to use yourself – you HAVE to be sure that you give it to someone other than the person who originally gave it to you.

To avoid this – when you put your gifts into your present box, add a sticky note that says who you got it from and when.

#9 – Gifts That Require Extra Expense

Getting theatre tickets sounds fantastic – and it is – but not if the theatre is far away and therefore needs an overnight stay, for example.

Think carefully about whether your gift will mean extra money will have to be paid by the recipient for things such as travel, accommodation, supplies, toys that are part of a set/collection etc… – as it can all add up pretty quickly.

#10 – Making It All About YOU

Making yourself feel good by out-doing others – and yet anyone else feel bad as a result of a present is NOT the aim. (or even the recipient so that they feel bad with what they got you, or feel in debt in some way) is NOT a nice gift.

Also – it’s hard to know how much thought has gone into a gift – and it should just be assumed that the giver has been thoughtful.

There are lots of people who have to tell the recipient exactly what went into them getting that gift for them – and that can be embarrassing.

#11 – Making It All About The Cost

Some people think that the higher the cost, the more the recipient should feel valued and loved. But a lot of people would value a DIY gift more highly because they feel that this gives the most emotion.

A lot of the time you have to know that persons love language – if it’s quality time rather than gifts – then the cost really becomes irrelevant.

#12 – Going ‘Off List’

If it’s a wedding or baby shower – then there may well be a wish list or registry given to you in advance. Same with kids Christmas lists, or even the ideas that your partner gives you.

Don’t be tempted to go away from that list unless you’re totally sure the recipient will be OK with you doing so (if in doubt – double check!)

#13 – Getting It To The Recipient Late – For No Good Reason

When your birthday has been and gone, and you get a present in the post a few days later, it can feel a little off.

Of course life happens – and if you have had unavoidable reasons why you’ve had to send it late – fine – but other than that it’s a no.

Being late just shows a lack of care, a lack of priority, and sends the wrong message to someone you care enough about to send a present in the first place.

Ideally send presents a week early – so you have plenty of time in case something crops up.

#14 – Not Paying The Correct Postage

Making someone have to go to the post office to get a gift – AND then pay the extra postage costs – isn’t good.

Take the time to get the right postage, and try and post when you know they’ll be around to get it.

#15 – Sending Perishable Items When They’re Not In

I’ve been on holiday for a few days to come home and find what was a gorgeous bunch of flowers withering on my doorstep.

Not only were they wasted in terms of I didn’t get to enjoy them, the recipient wasted their money on them really.

No-one wins if you send something that will degrade if not taken into the house as soon as possible.

If you ARE going to send presents like food, flowers, plants etc… – then it’s definitely worth checking that the recipient won’t be away.

How Can You Get Gift Giving Right?

Really put yourself into the mindset of the recipient as much as you can.

Thinking about a whole variety of things in their lives and about them will help the ideas start to flow. THIS POST is the one to read for the questions to ask yourself when picking a present for someone in the future.

15 Gift Giving Mistakes You Might Be Making (And Not Realising!)

Which of these gift giving mistakes have you been guilty of in the past?

Hopefully you’ll be able to see what NOT to do now, and your gifting will go from strength to strength!

Good luck, and happy gifting!

P.S. If you want to get some ideas for all sorts of special occasions and events – head over HERE now…

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