11 Of The Biggest Birthday Gift Mistakes To Avoid

Posted on 7th September 2019

Buying a birthday gift is a chance to unleash your creativity, while showing how much you care about the recipient. Make sure your choice hits the spot by steering clear of these 11 whopping birthday gift mistakes…

Whether you're buying for a friend, co-worker, family member or partner there's a huge variety of gift options out there, sure to impress. If you’re not sure what to buy or fear making a present faux pas, keep in mind that there are several unwritten rules to remember when it comes to buying personalised birthday gifts.

Spending too much

Before you splash the cash, be careful that you aren't simply overspending as a result of not knowing quite what to buy. This is a common mistake amongst people buying gifts for acquaintances or co-workers, as well as those who are unsure what the recipient is really interested in.

If you're eager to impress through the cost of a gift alone, you could end up feeing disillusioned when what you buy doesn't get the desired result – so set a budget and stick to it.

Buying something inappropriate

Many gifts might seem totally inoffensive, yet to some recipients they could be considered inappropriate. Be sure to respect everyone's boundaries when you're purchasing, as gifting personal care items in particular (such as underwear, toiletries and such) or culturally-insensitive gifts are sometimes misinterpreted. Save these kinds of gifts for people you know won't be offended by the present itself and otherwise, play it safe with something less intimate.

Gifting based on your own taste

The fact that you love something might not mean the person you're buying a gift for will feel the same. It's understandable to gravitate towards items you've enjoyed, such as a favourite perfume, but remember to consider what the recipient will think about it, too.

Re-gifting by accident

Re-gifting items you've received but not used is sometimes an easy way to ensure you pass an unwanted gift along to someone who will truly love it. However, if you're adopting this approach, be cautious – will the person who bought the gift for you know you've gifted it to someone else?

Buying a pet without asking

It’s not uncommon for people to receive pets as a birthday gift, but if you go down this route, be sure to check ahead of time that the person you're buying for has both the desire and capacity to keep a pet.

Some people may have no option but to re-house an animal, causing upheaval and upset. To avoid a well-intentioned gift turning sour, always ask the person you're buying for beforehand.

Giving 'helpful' gifts

Some gifts can be interpreted the wrong way, despite the best of intentions when you buy them. Getting items meant for personal grooming or even certain household goods can all be misinterpreted as a backhanded way of telling someone they need to smarten up, tidy up or otherwise change their way of life. Unless the recipient has specifically asked for self-improvement-style gifts, its best to steer clear of anything under this umbrella.

Buying something inconvenient

You might think that enormous television or large painting looks wonderful and suits the person you're buying for down to the ground. However, they might have very different ideas! Anything which will take up too much room is a bad idea for a birthday present, unless it's something you've discussed and agreed to previously.

Gifting the same gift...again

If you know someone who is particularly hard to buy for, it’s easy to settle into a particular niche of gift you know they'll like, with little-to-no wiggle room. In rare cases, you could even find yourself buying them the same item, over and over. Try and avoid this approach to help keep your gifts fresh and relevant.

Choosing misplaced humorous gifts

Different people have different styles of humour, so if you know a person well, selecting a birthday gift which makes them laugh is a fantastic way to add some extra value. However, if you aren't so sure, it's best to stay away from 'funny' presents until you know they'll be appreciated in the way you intended.

Forgetting about presentation

Even the most thoughtful gift can be ruined by poor presentation. We all love the feeling of unwrapping a gift, as it adds anticipation and added thrill to the experience.

Focus on gift-wrapping which works for the present you are offering – and be aware of potential pitfalls - such as failure to acknowledge that something might need wrapping carefully (to avoid breakages). You should also be cautious about ensuring your wrapping doesn't accidentally reveal what you've bought.

Opting for 'experience' gifts they'll never use

We're assuming you know a little about the preferences of the person you're buying for, so it probably goes without saying that buying an experiential gift they'll never use might not be the best plan.

If the recipient has never expressed an interest in the activity or experience covered by the gift, then stay away as you risk making them feel unkind for not using it. Keep it simple, and keep the interests of the individual as your top priority.

Spending too little

This might seem to contradict the first piece of advice on our list, but in truth there's a healthy balance between affordability and finding something great for your recipient.

Buying a gift simply because its 'cheap' rarely leads to a great present, so try not to make this your primary concern, or it might show! Be thoughtful as you search for an item, instead of feeling you have to spend a set amount of money for it to be the right choice.

What’s really key when gift giving is that you think about the other person and their likes and dislikes rather that what you yourself may like to receive. It’s hard when you don’t know the person that well, such as a new colleague, but keep an eye out for small clues such as any photos on their desk, a favourite colour they wear often, a sports team, style of music or hobby they enjoy. If in doubt, ask! Don’t forget, personalising a gift is a wonderful way of creating something that’s truly unique but also conveys how much effort you have put in to selecting an item that they can treasure.

Posted on: The GiftPup blog