It’s that time of year — the holidays are quickly approaching and many of you are already salivating at all the Black Friday deals that will be coming up this year. I put together a collection of gifts, in the typical Pathetic Picture Style, that we have received from one of my relatives… okay it’s really my husband’s relative. She tends to give at least one or more really bad presents overall. I have her sitting in her winged chair facing the tree for her anonymity… you know, like Wilson from Home Improvement. 

I know that I shouldn’t complain because it really is the thought that counts, but I’m hoping you can learn from some of these mistakes and read these tips for some great holiday giving advice.

A blast from the past – you can tell this is an old one because my husband has hair and he is wearing his annual ugly turtleneck that suddenly got lost in one of our moves (note: this is an excellent way to get rid of things you don’t like). This is one of my earliest memories of a crappy present she gave my husband: A butter holder and corn cob set.  To provide some background, my husband doesn’t like to eat corn on the cob.


Tip: Find out their likes and dislikes.

If you don’t know, get a gift card somewhere they shop or even at Starbucks. It’s a pretty safe bet.  It’s better than the $10  wasted on something they will never use.

Don’t buy presents too early in advance because one month they may like it and the next month not. Lastly, buy age appropriate toys.



Tip: If you are giving gifts to children, find out what they are currently playing with.

Parents: Register on and make a wish list of presents you and your family is interested in receiving and let others know. Most will thank you for doing them a big favor by offering suggestions – plus if they live out of state, Amazon has free shipping on most products after $25 is spent.



Tip: It’s better to buy one good $20 present, then four bad $5 presents.

Flash forward to this year: I thought we made it after my three year old opened a child appropriate present for her birthday, but there it was, lurking inside her new purse, waiting to be unwrapped. It was a box of birthday candles and a Scentsy bar, which she promptly chucked across the room. These are my son’s real words, I can’t make this stuff up.



Tip: Send age appropriate things they can play with safely and today.

The best present a child can receive is a good example.


Tip:  If you aren’t used to being around kids, think about your language.

Lastly, be thankful for the time spent with your loved ones. Remember that no matter how much tension or stress may come along with the holidays, remember that other’s loved ones are deployed or never made it home.



 Tip: Do something bigger than yourself for the holidays – give generously to others in need with money, gifts, or your time.