‘Tis the season to be Gifting

It’s that time of the year again when we think about all our friends and relatives, and what we could buy them for Christmas (or their weddings). There are relatives I know who have got almost everything they need, and I fear that my gift would be just a repeat of what they already own. But here’s what I think could be the solution to solve our nagging gifting dilemmas.

You want to buy something that will be cherished for a long time. So a toy or an expensive gadget won’t make it to the list.

But what could it be?

That calls for a bit of research. Let’s say you want to buy a gift for your nephew or niece who is about 7 – 10 years old. You could talk to his/her parents and ask what might be the most useful gift. I’d put it very broadly and ask if their child reads books or if they would prefer clothes. If it’s a toy or gadget, then it needs to be a little specific, least you might buy the wrong toy. When buying, preserve the voucher of the store and ask if the purchase can be exchanged, in case you made the wrong decision.

If you want to avoid all this, simply buy a gift voucher or gift coupon, and leave it up to the recipient to choose their gift. But the value of the gift will be known (there is no price tag to remove!) So make sure the value is high enough to be appreciated.

I see a new trend of people gifting SIP Mutual Funds (and paying the premiums, of course). A Life Insurance Policy is also a good gift, especially for a new born child. Make sure it’s a one-time premium that covers risk and also offers money back when the child is of marriageable age.

Abroad, I see a trend of gifting lists left at popular stores. This can be done for wedding gifts. The couple can write a list of what they will need for their new home. Leave this list with a popular electronics or appliance retail outlet. And announce this on the wedding card.

Of course, this has yet to catch on here in India, and it is not yet a part of our culture.

Some prefer to modestly write on their invitation cards: “We need your presence rather than your presents!”

If none of these options suit you, you can always opt for the traditional white envelope — put in new currency notes please and don’t forget the shiny one rupee coin for good luck!

I wish all my followers and readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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The writer has been tracking personal and enterprise technology since 1989. He is the former editor of CHIP and InformationWeek magazines - INDIA. Twitter: @brian9p

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