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Best and worst Christmas Gifts for 2011

Every year, countless sad little Christmas gifts are returned by mail and in stores all over the country. And your gift could be among them.

But we’re here to help.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular Christmas gifts given during holiday seasons. Now bear in mind, popular doesn’t necessarily mean best Christmas gifts, so we’ve done a little research to find out just which of these are not only popular, but also really and truly appreciated. We’ll tell you which gifts will go over well this year and which gifts will… go back to the store. Check out these best (and worst!) Christmas gifts for 2011.

The Best Christmas Gifts

Gift Cards: Gift cards are hugely popular,especially this year, and for the most part are a huge success. Now, I say for the most part, because a recent survey has uncovered a few typesof gift cards that are more likely to be redeemed for cash or go unused. Steer clear of seasonal cards. EX: Sunglass Hut, Bass Pro Shops, REI, and Rita’s Ice. Also, don’t go for gift cards to spas or salons, as those places often require the recipient to pay extra for things like tipping. Also remember that these cards often have a small balance that is never spent in its entirety. The best way to use these cards is to either make a single purchase where all the money is spent in one transaction, or to know the card’s balance and make sure there is enough money to make a successful last transaction. For example, If the card has $0.84 left, the money will most likely remain unspent.

The best gift cards are to places like Simon Mall, iTunes, Kmart, Macy’s and other department stores, WalMart, Target, or even Amazon, so your recipient can choose from almost anything he/she needs! 

Electronics: In today’s techy world, you really can’t go wrong with the latest electronics. Here are just a few suggestions for the tech lover in your life for 2011:

  • Best Inexpensive Tablet ComputerKindle Fire: A tablet computer, half the size and half the price of the iPad 2.
  • Best eReaderKindle Touch: This is great for the book lover in your life. Portable and affordable (much less than the new Nook color!)
  • Best MP3 Player: iPod: Apple has a variety of iPod products (the Nano, Shuffle, Touch…) for every style and price range. If you haven’t jumped on the iPod bandwagon yet, welcome aboard!
  • Best Computer: There are so many options out there for every need and budget, just click hereto find out what type is right for you and how to get it for less.
  • Best Techy ToyLeapfrog Learning Tablet: This educational toy is one of the hottest buys (and a great investment) this year for kids ages 4-9.
  • Best GPS system: Garmin makes some of the most popular GPS systems. For the person in your life without a smart phone (which already has GPS) but who loves to drive (and get lost…), this is a great, and depending on the model, very affordable choice.
  • Best Classic Toy: For the past decades, Lego has been number one around the holidays, and this year is no different. You can’t go wrong with a tub of legos or even a model set. And if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, try your local Goodwill for a set of used legos, or go for Mega Bloks– Lego’s less expensive cousin.

Jewelry: It’s hard to go wrong with a simple necklace or basic pair of earrings. Do a little bit of sneaky reconnaissance and find out what she doesn’t have already (if she has a million pairs of earrings now, best stick with the bracelet or necklace section…) or add a personal touch and figure out what her birth stone is.

  • Limoges Jewelry is an online retailer with low prices on all types of jewelry and a huge selection in the birthstone department.
  • Another option is Macy’s. Right now, much of their jewelry is on sale in time for the holidays.

Remember, “pretty” is very subjective when it comes to jewelry, so it’s best just to keep it simple if you don’t know exactly what she wants. 

Homemade Gifts: Even if you’re not the creative type, homemade gifts are always appreciated because it shows you really put some effort into it. And these gifts are never returned (thrown away maybe, but not returned ;-)

“Inside” Gifts: What I mean by this is a gift that really means something to the two of you. This can be anything: a movie you watched together, a CD from a band you both like, something he/she mentioned in passing. Even if the gift appears on the list below (the dreaded worst gifts), if it means something or recalls a special memory, it’s a safe bet.

Cash: ‘Nuff said.

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The Worst Christmas Gifts

Clothes: Unless somebody literally points at an item of clothing and says “I want this, in this color” and then hands you a piece of paper with their exact measurements written on it, steer clear of clothing. This is the most returned item every year, and usually for good reason. Remember that ugly sweater…?

Shoes: This is similar to the clothing rule, but shoes are even trickier to pick sometimes. Not only do they need to be the right style and size, but they need to be comfortable enough to walk around in all day.

“Gender-Inappropriate” Gifts: Do you remember the scene in Father of the Bride where the young couple almost breaks up because the groom-to-be gives his fiancé a blender? Well, that’s what I’m talking about here. Don’t give your spouse anything that has any chance of demeaning or stereotyping him or her. Yes, that means toasters too.

Music: It’s great to share your passion for a certain band, but sometimes you and your beloved gift recipient just don’t share a love for the same tunes. Besides, who listens to CDs anymore? A better solution: an iTunes gift card. This way, you can suggest what they might like, they can feel free to politely ignore you, and everyone wins.

Housewares: Unless you know a certain somebody who just loves to throw Tuesday tea parties, housewares (i.e. decorative plates, bowls, cups, etc.) are not generally a great gift. Leave the china shopping for weddings.

Movies: Yes, I was kind of surprised to find this on the “most returned” list as well, but when you think about it, it does make sense. With so many different ways to watch movies these days (DVR, Netflix, iTunes, and about a million others), DVDs are becoming a thing of the past, and this gift’s return rate last year just proves it. Want to buy a movie gift that keeps on giving? Order your loved one a subscription to Netflix.

Have you ever received an “ugly sweater” Christmas gift that you had to take back? What was it?



Posted 12:54 PM

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