Saturday, November 29, 2008

Newspaper column

Searching for THE PERFECT GIFT for that special someone?

No worries!

Your online homepage, ad fliers clogging your mailbox and every commercial you see, restaurant you eat out at, magazine you read, billboard you pass and store you enter will be screaming suggestions for the next 27 days.

An end table lamp at your local dollar store: THE PERFECT GIFT! A bedazzling sweater vest: THE PERFECT GIFT! A gift certificate to Hog-Tied Family Barbecue: THE PERFECT GIFT!

But are they really? Are those things really the perfect gift for anyone? Every time I see a suggestion like that, instead of trying to think which recipient on my list might legitimately want the item, I like to think to myself whether I would even enjoy it, let alone consider it the pinnacle of my Christmas morning.

And chances are pretty good that the answer is almost always a resounding no.

To further test my theory that items billed as THE PERFECT GIFT are actually far from it, I like to look at present ideas geared toward my demographic -- you know, desperate brothers, boyfriends or husbands trying to glean ideas. It seems magazines and online shopping networks always offer a top 10 for "the guy," "the gal" and "the furry friend" on your list.

So I like to see what they suggest for me.

Here is an actual list from

1. Rudolf appetiser plates. Great. I'll pile them on top of the matching set I got as a wedding gift. And the Asian-inspired ones I got last year. And the pastel striped ones I got for my birthday. Do they come with extra cupboard space?

2. Reusable grocery bags. First of all, nothing says eco-friendly like putting a "green" bag in a cardboard box and covering it with yards of wrapping paper. And although this is an item I would enjoy, a reminder that I have to get groceries the next morning is not something I want on Christmas.

3. Wine-holder party plates. An appetizer tray with a slot for a wine glass. Ingenious. Now instead of breaking one or the other, the entire thing can go down in a blaze of glory when a toddler rips it from an unsuspecting parent's hand in effort to get at that last piece of cheese.

4. Voice-activated grocery list maker. If my husband spends $99.95 on something, it better freakin' sparkle.

5. Hurricane votive holders. I'll concede this one has potential. But the specific item suggested is covered in wrought iron in the shape of what looks like deer antlers. I do not live in a rustic log cabin. Nor do I want to.

6. Flower vase. Perfect for all those fresh roses I clip from my back yard in December.

7. Sweet dreams silk eye mask. I have a baby. The last thing I need is assistance in the sleep department. Frankly, I don't even need a pillow. Or a bed.

8. Diamond flower white gold necklace. Can't go wrong with jewelry, right? Except when it's so ugly you'd want to hide it under a turtleneck.

9. Membership to a wine of the month club. Because I'm sure no one can think of a better way to spend $407.40 right now. Frankly, they'd need a year's supply of alcohol to recover from the sticker shock.

10. Liqueur glasses. Judging by these suggestions, you'd think my sole purpose in life was throwing parties. And the few that I do host every year? I stick with paper cups for easy cleanup, thank you.

So pardon me if I get a little cynical over ads for THE PERFECT GIFT, but if they're that far off base for me, they must be pretty inaccurate for most of the other people I want to buy for too. I'll just do my best to ignore all the hyped-up gadgets and stick to giving personal items from the heart.

It's got to be better than taking the suggestion from my post office bulletin board.


santa plainsman said...

Which "perfect" Chia Pet for the boss, the brother or that new co-worker. "I tell ya, buying gifts is like walkin' the proverb. minefield!" (Rodney Dangerfield in...?)

Seriously, what they teach in marketing 101, is to throw a truckload of suggestions out there as "perfect" and frazzled buyers will cling to them desperatley matching names on their lists.

Better to think of the person first and their likes and dislikes and have decisons made before even entering a store or website.

Kristin said...

I was just talking to my mom about this the other day =P


Chelsea said...

I use to work in retail and would get to suggest the "perfect present" when really it was my boss wanting to get rid of old merch!

Ray said...

Some of these gift items sound like a list from the 1950's of, “What to buy the wife.” Might as well add, "Blender" to the list, LOL! Wine sounds nice----if you drink often (if you enjoy wine that much). And Liqueur glasses are cool, but that's something you can buy yourself.

Things that I would like to receive if I had a boyfriend/were married:

2. Electronics.
3. DVDs.
4. A Designer purse (for ex: Louis Vuitton and Chanel).

This, HOWEVER, is just my list (not every wife/girlfriend would agree and that’s fine) and maybe I did go overboard with some thing's (I am no gold digger, LOL! I also know some things may be too expensive so I guess it's more a wish list). I think every woman would agree with me though on # 1 and #4. ;o)

Good luck Christmas shopping! I'm sure whatever you get for your loved ones they'll love because unlike these marketers, you know your family/friends.

Take, care Kelly!

P.S. Reusable grocery bags????? O.O Wow, I can't believe that's on the list. I'd be happier with a lump of coal!

Lioncloud said...

Perfect gift = Kelly, Jerry, and Allison at the table for Christmas dinner. (sigh)

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