Social Question

Nullo's avatar

Is there any gift (actual gift, not gift card) that is appropriate in most if not all gifting situations?

Asked by Nullo (21973points) October 12th, 2010

Just noticed a lot of “What should I get for X?” questions, and got to wondering if there weren’t some panacea.
I seem to remember that the Hobbits had a collection of things that nobody could identify that made for popular birthday gifts.

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29 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

No. Because for almost all adult, while some consider it tacky, cash is ok. However, what’s a 3 year old gonna do with $20?

Trillian's avatar

Flowers are appropiate for most people, and I give them to men and women alike.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Trillian Except for those who are allergic, or think they’re a waste because they die in a few days.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Books. You would be hard pressed to find an occasion that would not warrant the giving of some kind of book and even if someone “doesn’t read” you can still find a book that they may like or find useful.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

My favorite gift to give is a nice picture frame. So many people have photos they want to display, but they end up putting them in cheap frames. Nice ones can be used by literally anyone.

interweb's avatar

Good sex for once

augustlan's avatar

Unscented candles, for adults only, obviously.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t think there is some kind of “generic” gift that is generally appropriate for everyone. Nice if there were, then none of us would ever have to put any thought into buying someone else a gift. There’s no way to get yourself off the hook, I don’t think. If they like something, books, CD’s or DVDs or things for their kitchens or whatever and you don’t know exactly what to get them, then get them a gift card and let them buy themselves what they want. Or get them something they might like but maybe won’t but that they can exchange for something they do want. Or, get them whatever the hell you want to get them. There is not such thing as a universal gift, the just plain isn’t. And I hate to break to you but please pass on the candles, maybe I’m alone on this but I’ve got a closet full of them. I’d get rid of them but they’re nice and you were all so very nice to give them to me and I feel a little guilty tossing them in the trash or sending them off to the Goodwill. But I certainly don’t need any more of them, thank you. And whatever any of your feelings are regarding “regifting” is that you didn’t put enough thought into giving that gift to someone in the first place. No such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as a universal gift, IMHO.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote You’re alone on the candle thing (although I hate unscented because scented is the whole point for me). However, for girls and young women, it’s usually bath products, often of the crap variety. I had so many of them at one point that they actually started expiring and going bad despite all the preservatives. Plus, every girl I knew never actually used them, she bought her own stuff that fit her own needs, not whatever Bath & Body Works told her she needed.

However, I do agree that the entire point of a gift is to find the thing that’s personal, and therefore not universal.

iphigeneia's avatar

Stationery and office tools. Because scissors will always go missing, and staplers will always break. Nearly everyone would enjoy a big set of quality colouring in pencils.

They may not be immediately appreciative of how good a gift they have just received is, but some day they will think to themselves, “My, what good luck @iphigeneia gave me this packet of rubber bands!”

lillycoyote's avatar

@papayalily Glad you got that one, considering the numerous typos and grammatical errors. I have actually received candles that I like, it just seems to be one of those gifts that people give when they can’t think of or come up with anything else. Anytime someone gives me a gift I try, as best I can, to be polite, thankful and gracious, but… as you also acknowledge, the really is no such thing as a “universal gift” and people attempting to or thinking that they can find one generally fall significantly short of the mark.

augustlan's avatar

I should clarify… I wouldn’t give unscented candles to someone I knew well. They’re just… a fall-back gift.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote It is good as a holiday gift for coworkers whom you don’t really know or care about (because when you’re earning 8 bucks an hour, what could possibly give you more joy than buying 40 people crappy gifts they’ll throw out, and receiving crappy gifts you’ll throw out)?

Side note: Does that question mark go on the outside of the parentheses, or the inside? Inside, and then a period? I seem to have forgotten all this…

lillycoyote's avatar

@augustlan The only problem is that people pretty much know when and that they are getting a or the “fall-back” gift. None of us are fooling anyone when we give those kind of gifts. We all do it. We should just try to be a little more creative, I think.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote That’s really true. It’s not like I’ve ever received a bottle of lotion or some scone mix and thought “I bet they really searched deep inside to figure out what would be the perfect gift for me, and only me”. Especially the scone mix. Never in my life have I ever craved a scone….

lillycoyote's avatar

@papayalily Of course, I absolutely get it. One of the trials and tribulations of modern life. What do you do when you have a co-workers and you have a budget of possibly, of up to 3–5 dollars per co-worker? I’m just saying that there actually are options other than the scented candle. The scented candle just screams: “I got you something that cost me about $1.50. Like I said above that anytime I receive a gift I “try, as best I can, to be polite, thankful and gracious.” That is bottom line, as opposed to the bottom line being entirely about what you get. So I have a closet full of scented candles that I will never use. It’s not the worst thing in the world to burdened with.

augustlan's avatar

@lillycoyote Excellent point. So, how do we approach being more thoughtful and creative about getting inexpensive gifts for people we hardly know? I’m really interested in suggestions on this.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote I prefer making really unhealthy sweets like brownies as a subverted “eff you” towards mandated gifts. Everyone else says that they’re fine for what I make, and shows how much I truly care… Suckers.

I should probably mention that I hate the holidays and they tend to send me into a whirlwind of bitter cynicism, to put it mildly.

The_Idler's avatar

Earl Grey Tea.

And if you don’t like tea, you don’t deserve it anyway.

genkan's avatar

A fountain pen, assuming it’s for a person old enough to handle delicate stationery. Nowadays you can find ones that work well and aren’t too pricey, and it’s a gift that is both personal and practical. Everybody has to write, so why not write in style?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@The_Idler See, here’s the problem with that: I go to the store, and I buy tea. Perhaps I really care about you, and so I buy you really nice tea. But then, I’m driving home, and I’m thinking “holy crap, that’s some great tea right there. I mean, just delicious. Even Jean-Luc Picard vouches for it, and that man is a snob.” So then I get to thinking “what if I didn’t give you this as a present? What if I just kept it for myself? Perhaps got you a candle, or some lotion?” And before you know it, you’ve gone from some top-grade Earl Grey Tea to a crappy bottle of Black Raspberry Vanilla lotion.

It occurs to me that I may have changed tenses in there somewhere. But it also occurs to me that I’m so tired that there’s this new buzzing sensation in my left nostril, so I’m pretty sure I’m not going to comb through and fix it.

The_Idler's avatar

Fucking hell, a months supply (3–4 cups a day) is only a couple of quid over here. Maybe if y’all hadn’t dumped shitloads of tea in Boston Harbour that one time, we wouldn’t be charging y’all so much for it now!

The_Idler's avatar

Also, prezzies for all ya co-workers? What is this, d’y’all think you’re on telly or summat?

Covergirlita's avatar

I think a nice fountain pen would be a good idea and appropiate for anyone.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@The_Idler No, it’s an American thing in which we must constantly be showing love, adoration, and appreciation for all others no matter what. Plus, if all your coworkers get them, and you’re the only one who didn’t get everyone a gift then you’re showing how you aren’t a team player.

xxii's avatar

Hard to say. My parents use the digital photo frame as their “fallback” gift, which I guess isn’t too bad an idea. It’s basically the new photo frame – not many people print photos anymore, and digital photo frames allow you to display a slideshow of many different pictures. It’s a great gift for grandparents or the non-tech-savvy, who rarely get to see the digital photos taken during vacations or family gatherings if they don’t have email. However, it obviously wouldn’t be a very good present for a child.

I think nice, good-quality towels or bedsheets are a pretty good gift – adjust design according to age and gender.

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