It is never easy to buy gifts for family and friends for Christmas. Christmas comes every year and it is always hard to give dedicated gifts to individual family members especially when there are quite a number of children below 12 years old with both boys and girls.
Here are some tips for you:
- It is not entirely necessary to buy gifts for every individual member of the family. If there is a party and everyone is supposed to bring gifts for those who are attending, do suggest to hold a lucky draw so that everyone will bring one gift not exceeding a certain amount, such as HK$50 or HK$100, which follows a theme, e.g. red, green. To make it more fun, provide a special prize for the most thoughtful or innovative gift. It is always better to have something special than keeping a lot of useless things at home.
- If there is no party and you are expected to bring gifts to some individuals on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you will have to set down a budget for each gift and keep to that budget every year. Children and grandchildren do not expect elderly parents/grandparents to spend too much money on gifts. Sometimes they would appreciate red-packet “laisees” more than anything else.
- If you insist to give each of your family members and friends a dedicated gift, do check if you have any more souvenirs from your last overseas trips which have not yet been given away. Those in the green-age group (between 55 and 75) love to collect small souvenirs when they visit a country for the first time. Instead of buying for the sake of buying, find something which can be given away as gifts during Christmas or for the hosts when attending parties. What you need to do is to put them in nice gift boxes which can be recycled.
- For elderly parents over 75 years old, buy something wearable which will keep them warm and make them look good. They should be light, easy to store away and retrieve, easy to wash and dry. Scarfs, waistcoats, gloves, socks are good choices. If they already have too many such things, buy good and fancy moisturizers for hands, face and body. They need plenty of moisturizers.
- For family and friends who are also in the green-age group, the gifts you give them show how much you know and remember them. Again, avoid buying things which are too bulky, too heavy or too expensive. If the family love to eat at home, buy some well-packaged seasonings, serving spoons and forks, smart-looking chopsticks, a set of 6 chopstick holders or soya sauce dishes, etc. If the family love going out, handy and flexible water containers, light foldable windproof jackets, etc. could be very good choices.
- For family with young children, get them a recently released movie DVD or find a quiz book which will present challenges to the family. However, you must be prepared to answer at least some of the quiz questions. So do read the answers before wrapping them!
- If you have a limited budget and are expected to give gifts, work out a priority list. Immediate family members usually come first, followed by close friends, relatives and colleagues. Work out a list of potential gifts (including any souvenirs you intend to give away during Christmas) and work out the budget. Always have options and make sure that the recipients do appreciate the gifts you are giving them.
- It is always nice to write a personal note and attach it to the gift. This will remind you which is which, and make the gift more personal. If you are more senior (in age or in family ranking), there is no harm for you to write at the bottom of the note that “I hope you like this gift which I discovered during my last visit to (a place or a shop). In case you do not find it useful or you have already got something similar, do not hesitate to “recycle” and send it to someone you cherish and pass on my love to him or her.”
- If you find after Christmas that you have spent less than your original budget, do consider making a donation to the church or religious body you normally go to, or to a charitable organization which you know well.