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How to fake being a great Christmas gift giver

And why sometimes just accepting your failure is for the best

It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring - except for you, who were scrounging around for gifts to recycle while scouring the internet for last minute ‘experience presents’ that you could pass off as having bought weeks ago.


Sound familiar?


Last week we discussed how to avoid Christmas crowds. This week, we’ll go into what to do when your plans to escape have been quashed by familial obligation or work commitments. Or hangovers.


So what do you get for those you love if:

a)    you’ve left it too late;

b)    you’re too lazy to actually go shopping right now; or

c)    you peaked too soon, bought some presents and now are at a loss for the rest.


Donate a present

There’s nothing like the look on a child’s face when they rip open a package expecting toys or money and get a card that reads, “This year, I have given your present to an orphan overseas.” Really there is nothing like this face. Film it and post it on YouTube. You’ll see.


In all seriousness, you can turn this into a good present. My poo-obsessed nephew loved the fact that his present was manure donated to a farm in the Philippines. But so that he had something, I accompanied this announcement with a farting sound effect book that has proven popular for all the family.


DO NOT and I mean, SERIOUSLY, DO NOT fake a charity. There are Seinfeldian repercussions:



Don’t buy an eskimo an ice machine

Remember that if you are buying a present for a professional soccer player, in all likelihood, they will already have all the soccer gear they need. Same goes for frequent travellers. DO NOT buy a frequent traveller a travel wallet. They have five of them.


To be truly practical, ASK. Christmas is not a surprise. The stores start decorating in August and it’s not like you’re all sitting around the Christmas tree going, “What?! You bought me a present? And in exchange I bought you a present to almost the same monetary value?!”


The best presents are the ones people really want, or the ones that people never realised they always wanted. Asking what people want can also inspire you to get gifts that follow the same theme – at least you know they're interested in it.


And if you are getting them exactly what they asked for, throw something else in that shows you’re not a lazy so-and-so. For instance, if someone wants a kettle, buy an assortment of teas to go with it.


Never buy cleaning supplies. Because there’s practical, and then there’s just down right rude:



Organise GOOD experiences, not whatever those last minute gift sites offer

Last year, it was a couple weeks out from Christmas and we’d bought nothing. Seriously, nothing. So we booked out a gorgeous farm in the Southern Highlands of NSW for our entire family and had the best weekend ever.


It’s summer festival season, bands are touring, comedy festivals loom: there is a wealth of ticketable things to buy now. That little internet thing helps.


Avoid this:



Handmade is not always the answer

I find handmade gifts are a great way to judge if people really love you. Fashion something out of clay and see how long it stays on the mantle.

Forever = Mum love.

25 years = Married love or the ‘I’ve just forgotten it was there’ love.

10 years = Aunty love followed by the 'I had to replace it with your graduation picture' love.

5 years or the length of your current relationship (whichever is shorter) = 'I would have kept this here forever but then you cheated on me and so I threw it and all your other philandering-esque belongings onto (not into) your car' love.

Never = This is the $#!++3$+ office Secret Santa present ever.


Now this is the reaction you’re after:


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Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 18 December 2013

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