Did you know there are online stores dedicated to selling unwanted Christmas presents? Yes, it does. And while it’s easy to laugh at the rather callous nature of selling on presents, just imagine if it were your gifts being sold to strangers this Boxing Day.

So what can be done? Well, while we can’t guarantee that your spouse, child or best friend will absolutely love their present, there are some simple pointers to help you avoid catastrophes.

1. Buy for them, not for yourself

Let’s start with the most obvious, and yet most common mistake. Why is it that so many people buy gifts for other people that are really gifts they want to receive?! This happens a lot with jewellery and clothes. Perhaps you love cable knit, but have you ever seen your mother-in-law in a woollen jumper? Think about how that person dresses and accessorises. Ask yourself: what do they like to wear and where do they like to shop? And if you have teenage kids, avoid clothes and jewellery altogether. No teenager wants to be dressed by their mum or dad – in fact, not many adults want to be dressed by their parents either!

2. Think about their hobbies and interests

A great place to start is by writing down a list of your loved ones’ hobbies. What could you buy your friend or relative that would enhance their interest? Make sure you do your research first – it’s no good buying your fishing mad uncle fly tackle when its spear fishing that he’s into! Research their hobby and speak to those around them to get a steer on what their ability is and what kit they already have.

3. Don’t buy it, make it!

Homemade presents are all the rage, but choose your recipient wisely! While it’s (probably) safe to assume that your mum and dad will love your attempt at a crochet scarf, any children you’re buying gifts for may not be so forgiving of your attempts! Personalised gifts are often very popular too. Why not have a go at tie-dying a baby grow for your friend’s baby, or getting a special photo framed?

4. Take your time

Have you ever gone shopping for one thing and come home with something else entirely? That also applies to present shopping. Draw up your Christmas shopping list early on (so... now if you haven’t done so already!), and take a couple of hours out of your schedule each week to browse shops and look online. Keep a few people in mind while you’re browsing and keep your mind open. It’s very possible that you’ll find something for your sister while you were actually looking for your dad.

5. Forget about the price

Givers tend to obsess over the price of the gift they’re buying someone, when actually, all the receiver cares about is how much they like their present! This is true of people of all ages. Kids often prefer the cheapest, simplest toys over high-tech expensive gadgets – and you might even find the perfect present in a charity shop or a car boot sale. Remember that spending lots on a person doesn’t mean they’ll automatically love the present, it really is the thought that counts – not the price tag.

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