My friend David's birthday is coming up on Thursday. He's asked anyone in the San Francisco area to join him for the occasion (basic details here), but has requested no gifts. So I won't send him one, but if I were going to shop for him, I'd have a pretty good idea of gifts he'd appreciate. Now remember here that I've never actually met him. But figuring out what he'd probably like would be fairly easy, because I've paid attention to what he's written regarding likes and dislikes. It really is that simple.
But apparently a lot of people don't understand that. It constantly surprises me that people who actually KNOW me get so cueless about what I like and don't like. I'm going to put down some of the don't-likes here, based on gifts I've gotten over the last few years. I realize this sounds mean, and that you're supposed to know it's the thought that counts. Well, yes, but on the flip side, I'd like to save those who are buying for me from throwing money into something that I really won't like or use.
Another time I'll tell you about the best gifts, which have mostly come from my best friend, Donna. But for now, here's what I don't want for my birthday or Christmas:
Perfume/cologne/whatever, unless it's my favorite (Estee Lauder's "Youth Dew"). I'm really tired of people buying me stuff that I don't want to smell like. And for personal scent purposes, that means no herbal essence goop, please. If I wanted to smell like salad dressing, I'd go to the grocery store. Please note this also applies to bath products.
Clothes, casual or not. Right now, I have plenty. More than plenty, actually, of the casual variety. And I don't really want holiday-themed clothes, either. I gave away the last batch of Santa Claus sweatshirts.
An afghan, unless it's handmade and exquisite. I have several THAT I HAVE MADE that I really enjoy using. Knowing that I make them, giving me a machine-made one you've picked up at a discount store somewhere strikes me as an insult. Yes, I mean that.
Kitchen stuff. I have all I need and then some.
Scarves, stoles, gloves, etc. See preceding re: afghans.
Sheets and towels. Same reason as kitchen stuff.
Jewelry, unless you know my taste and can remember that nothing about me is pierced, including the earlobes.
Coffee beans. I never get around to using them.
Any food you're not sure I like.
The above list was intended for people who are friends or family. If you're a client, there are some holiday-themed office gifts I don't really need, either:
Fruit cake, which I actually like, but which will be served liberally at all family gatherings, from which I'm expected to bring home "a slice or two."
Cute things for my desk, since I'm now working at home, and have a smaller desk area that's already filled.
Large amounts of candy or cookies, for reasons similar to those regarding fruit cake.
It's actually fairly easy to buy an appreciated gift for anyone on your list, if you stop and think about the recipient's taste. Buying for people you really don't know that well (as in office gifts) can be made easier by asking a few questions and paying attention to the answers. I mean it. It really is that simple.