Choosing wisely is an art

The ideal present is beautiful, functional and doesn't have to cost much, writesSusan Schwartz

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2012, 11:01am

Trinkets, knickknacks, dust collectors - call them what you will. Some gifts, while given with love, should have been left in the shop.

As anyone who has ever received an unwanted gift knows, there is an art to selecting the perfect present, and Horizon Plaza has plenty of help at hand.

Indigo Living managing director John McLennan says there is already too much "tat" in the world, so people should only buy or give things that are beautiful and functional.

"If they make a person smile, then all the better," says McLennan. "But I don't like to get things that are fun for five minutes then go into the bin. This is a waste of time and a waste of resources."

Tequila Kola managing director Geoff Fuller says the best way to select a gift is to set a budget, buy what you think the recipient will really like, as opposed to what they ask for, and make sure the shop will swap your purchase for something else in case the recipient doesn't

like it. "Generally the more significant the occasion, the more significant the gift should be,"

he says.

Shelley Deng from Good Laque suggests matching the gift to the recipient's taste and home colour scheme. "Otherwise, just choose what you like," she says. "After all, it's the intention that counts."

Selecting the right gift is a knack. "You need to know the person well enough to pick the perfect gift. Did they make a comment about something when you were with them last? It could be as simple as music they said they liked or a comment on a bottle of wine they had at your home," McLennan says.

"If you don't know them well, then something for their home works best, such as a scented candle or reed diffuser."

Retailers are in agreement that the gift most people like to give is something with fragrance.

"There is nothing more inviting than a beautiful fragrance when entering a home," McLennan says. "But take care when picking a scent, it should not be too over-powering or sickly sweet - it should be very subtle."

McLennan says reed diffusers are the current gift of choice, as opposed to scented candles that were most popular a few years ago.

"People are looking for more unique gifts and are willing to be a bit more daring, compared to the last few years," he says. "Functionality is also playing a part - with space being at a premium, the right gift is important, as there's no storage for Aunt Joan's bright pink and green decorative vase."

Fuller says that aside from home fragrances, picture frames, leather bags, cushions and paintings are popular.

In recent years, gift certificates have been increasingly sought-after for hassle-free giving.

"People most like to give items that are beautiful, useful and reasonable in price - things like a nice box to hold tea bags, trays and candle holders," Deng adds.

Deng has also noticed gift-giving change in recent years, with more customers choosing to send gifts through their online shop and more people also appreciating handmade presents.

The economy also affects how much people spend.

"If you have a big budget it is easier to get something that will impress but even the most expensive unwanted gift is worthless. A gift, if it is the right one, does not have to cost much," McLennan says.


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