It's better to give when you get it right

By Ellen Irvine

BAD CHOICE: Rebecca Kneale was given a onesie for Mother's Day and was less than impressed with her husband. Megan Hewett looks on.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
BAD CHOICE: Rebecca Kneale was given a onesie for Mother's Day and was less than impressed with her husband. Megan Hewett looks on.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

All I want for Christmas is .... a onesie and some Redband gumboots?

How about an iron, a steam mop or some ill-fitting clothes?

The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend has called in the experts to reduce the chances of your Christmas gifts becoming one of the 20,000 items listed on Trade Me in the 24 hours after Christmas lunch.

Choosing the right gift is more a case of not choosing the wrong one, it seems.

Personal stylists Megan Hewett and Rebecca Kneale of The Style Company say Christmas presents for your partner should be about spoiling them.

The onesie - an adult version of the baby all-in-one - Ms Kneale received from her husband did not fit the criteria.

"That's a good one not to get someone," Ms Hewett said.

Instead, they advise playing it safe and buying a voucher for something indulgent such as a beauty treatment or clothing - but you have to get the right store.

"I think some guys have a problem buying vouchers because they would rather actually give something [tangible].

"But I think all females love vouchers, especially if it's something indulgent.

"A lot of things like clothes and jewellery are quite personal, and are easy to get wrong. I would rather have some input into it."

If you did want to buy jewellery for your partner, she suggested earrings, which were "pretty safe".

Ms Hewett said men were difficult to buy for, and recommended vouchers for them too - from a sports shop for the sporty types.

Or try clubbing in with other family members to get the man in your life something expensive - such as a round of golf at an upmarket course.

For teachers, neighbours or hostess gifts, try a beautiful Christmas decoration.

Sue Jensen of The Gift Locker in Mount Maunganui knows what not to give the lady in your life this Christmas - gumboots.

That's what she received one Valentine's Day, and they weren't pretty decorative floral or patterned gumboots - just plain old Redbands.

Another dud she received was an iron.

Appliances, she said, were a no-go unless they had been specifically asked for.

Her best tip to finding the perfect present was to "take note of the things they say during the year and try and remember them at Christmas time".

While receiving the perfect gift "makes you feel special", a dud gift had the opposite effect, Ms Jensen said. "You would think to yourself 'that was a waste of your hard-earned money. Obviously you don't know me as well as you think'."

Popular Christmas gifts in the store this year were Ecoya candles, flashing shoelaces for children, and bright funky underwear for men.

To avoid being disappointed by your other half's present this year, Gail Baldwin and Michelle Duxfield of Options Living in Bethlehem recommend you write a wish list.

"Sometimes men are practical thinkers. I'm sure all women have had some doozies, like a frying pan - it's those things that relate to everyday chores," Ms Baldwin said.

"Often people will buy vouchers. It's a bit impersonal but the good thing is she can get what she wants."

Keep your recipient's taste in mind rather than your own - Ms Baldwin knows of one mum who is receiving a popcorn-maker this year - bought by her little girl because that's what she wanted.

Val Auld of Cabbages and Kings said lots of male shoppers this year "definitely know what they are doing", and look like they have been given a list.

Popular gifts were chocolates and products from the Crabtree & Evelyn range.

But Mrs Auld's ideal gift under the tree this year would be the intangible - "sleep" - or a voucher for a holiday.

Top of Tauranga MP Simon Bridges' Christmas wish list is a super-fast and environmentally friendly performance car - the Tesla 5.

"Regrettably, it's too big to fit under our family Christmas tree and at well over 100 grand here we can't afford one."

And as for the bottom of his wish list?

"I definitely don't need any more socks, handkerchiefs or undies," he said.

The Great Kiwi Christmas Survey 2013, released by Colmar Brunton this week, found men and women agreed on the best present they could get - a weekend away or cash.

For women, the next most popular gifts on the wish list were jewellery and clothes, while men wanted tools and a smartphone or iPhone.

Items most commonly relisted on Trade Me on Boxing Day were men's and women's underwear, books, ties, handbags and kitchen appliances, the company said.

A British poll named the Fifty Shades of Grey book trilogy as the least popular Christmas gift last year, followed by Olympics and weight loss DVDs, and onesies.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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