How to Avoid Controversial or Inappropriate Gifts

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Sometimes, the gift you bought just wasn't a good idea. We all mean well when buying gifts and what we think is a good gift may not be the right or appropriate gift for the recipient. Here's a few guidelines to help avoid those controversial gifts or inappropriate gifts.

Tip #1 Pre-Purchasing Gifts
Do not pre-purchase gifts. Some people like to purchase items as gifts without a recipient in mind. They see something they like and figure someone on their list would have to like it too. These gifts usually end up as perfect candidates for re-gifting and the giver then gets a reputation as not being "gifty."

Tip #2 Implying Self Improvement
It is best not to give gifts that imply some type of self improvement is needed. Gifts like memberships to the gym, diet cookbooks, or How to Quit Smoking in 3 days audio tapes could very well offend the recipient.

Tip #3 The Meaning of a Gift
Understand the meaning of the gift. For example, red roses represent love and desire. You wouldn't want to give a co-worker red roses for her birthday, she just might get the wrong impression. In Portugal, you would avoid red flowers all together because red is the symbol of the revolution and considered offensive.

Tip #4 Personal Items as Gifts
Don't assume you know what someone's taste is. Buying personal items such as perfume, clothing or jewelry can be disastrous if you don't personally know what they like or they have requested a particular item.

Tip #5 Expensive Gifts
Don't try to impress with the cost of the gift. Just because you can afford to give an expensive gift doesn't mean you should. Extravagant gifts, like diamond jewelry, may backfire by sending the wrong message to the recipient Concentrate more on the recipients likes or interest than the dollar amount of a gift.

Tip #6 More to the Gift
Be wary of gifts that saddle the recipient with potentially unwanted responsibility. Giving pets as gifts is an example of a gift to avoid unless you're really sure the recipient is up for it.

Tip #7 Cultures and Customs
Remember the recipient's culture, as gift giving customs vary greatly between all cultures. Make sure you know the customs so you can avoid a gift that could possibly offend the recipient. Gifting traditions defined by religious beliefs need to be considered. Also, remember lifestyle choices of the gift recipient, such as Veganism, when shopping for the perfect gift.

Tip #8 Giving Money as a Gift
If you are considering the gift of cash, understand there are occasions (such as weddings or clergy appreciation day), where giving money is appropriate. However, there are other occasions (like gifts to a teacher) when it is not.

Tip #9 Gifts for Children
When choosing gifts for children ensure the gift if appropriate for the age of the child. Most games, videos, and toys have the appropriate ages listed and many will include a rating referencing the content.

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