The Gift-Giving Guide, Part V
(returning after a brief hiatus)
1-3 The Personalized Gift
What it is: This is a gift that is somehow personalized for its recipient. For example, it may include their name, likeness, or a reference to their profession or hobby. Coffee mugs, pens, desk sets, clocks, T-shirts, aprons, Christmas ornaments, picture frames, and jewelry are all popular candidates for personalization. While Personalized Gifts are a very popular type of gift, it's worth noting that they're actually not that useful.
Who it's good for: Personalized gifts run the gamut from the highly kitschy to the sweet and tender. It's usually young children who can best get away with giving these gifts, because who can resist a homemade ornament or picture for grandma? Personalized gifts are also good for people who happen to collect something. Simply buy them another X for their collection, and you’re good to go.
Who it's not good for: Alas, these gifts can also be horribly tacky. It's easy to think that you're being thoughtful just by slapping someone's name on something or by giving them office supplies that proclaim their hobby. Also, these gifts are some of the hardest ones to throw out, simply because it’s obvious that the gift giver really did have the giftee specifically in mind when selecting the present. As such, these unused gifts tend to pile up in boxes instead of being, um, recycled back into the market via D.I. or Goodwill.
Bottom line: These gifts are good for friends and family members who will genuinely appreciate something which is dripping with sentiment, but not very practical. They’re also good for that special person in your life who collects thimbles / Marvin the Martian dolls / frogs / children’s books on great art, etc. Otherwise, try something from one of the other categories.