1. Don't buy electrical items. If you're buying for the ladies, don't get anything with a plug on it. I know she has been saying for weeks that she needs a new iron but it's not a hint, trust me! What? Don't tell me you already... you have got the receipt haven't you? Conversely, men love electrical items, you know, power saws, flat screen televisions, etc, they're big boys toys, we never grow up but it is normally something they buy for themselves. You don't want to buy the i763/G when it should have been the i763/H, do you?
2. Don't buy clothing. Can be a minefield, best avoided unless you are an experienced shopper. She's been telling you for years she's a size 10... hmm! Don't find out the truth the hard way! Humorous ties and reindeer jumpers for men. They're not funny and having to wear them on Boxing Day down the pub is just embarrassing. Steer clear.
3. Do keep the receipt. Well, you've just seen why! It's your safety net in case you get it horribly wrong.
4. Don't buy gadgets or gimmicks. Things that look clever on the face of it but they will be destined for that cupboard in the spare room. You know like a radio/ toaster combined or a battery operated battery charger (batteries not supplied!)
5. Don't buy gifts because you want them for yourself. Some of us fall into the trap of seeing something we like and, because we're unable to justify buying it for ourselves, we buy it for someone else. For instance, just because you love waffles doesn't mean you should buy that on-sale waffle iron for your spouse, who does not.
6. Do give presents that either impart or bring back memories. That doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money, or that it has to be the only gift you give. Personalised experiences, like painting classes, or keepsakes, like a simple family photo will be welcome by most.
7. Do buy handmade. It demonstrates that you have thought about it. It's personal, unique and special.
If you're still a bit confused, the basic rule is buy with the heart, not with the head. It's a special time of year and as much as we may need something most people actually want something that has a sentiment and a meaning. And it doesn't have to be expensive, don't confuse value with price.
So, give me some ideas smarty pants, I hear you say. I thought you'd never ask!
Well, how about this. Handmade silver or glass jewellery by Lotti Rains, Jenna Perryman, Emily Nott-Bower or Jules Warrender for your wife or girlfriend (don't get them the same item, it's a bit of a giveaway!). A framed tractor print for uncle Roger, every man loves a tractor, especially here in Devon. A Meanz Beanz print for Josh at Uni, so he knows what to look for when he's shopping, complete with cooking instructions on the back in case your not available on the phone. A sumptuous glass bowl by Margaret Johnson for mum. A local scene by Sarah Woolfenden for John and Julie for their new home. A set of glass coasters for auntie Jean by Greg Anston-Race.
Or how about this for a good idea? Do you have a special photograph of a friend or family member? Maybe it's a picture of the special day you got married or your kid's first birthday. Maybe it's a picture of grandad in his military uniform or Patch the Border Collie. Alternatively, it could be just a great photo you took at the beach or, well, anything that captures a special moment for someone.
Well, now you can have that special photo made into a superb professional box canvas print here at West Gallery that will delight anyone in the family. We are offering a 12" x 12" (300 x 300mm) box canvas print from your digital photo for just £36! Other sizes available by special order. For a little bit extra we can also retouch, manipulate, apply sepia or black and white effects and loads more. Give us a call to find out more or go to our web page here.
So, no excuses now, no more electric potato peelers, sudoku toilet paper, Knight Rider complete box set, Hairy Bikers' Diet Book or nose hair clippers... got the idea now?