Sebastian Gauert /

The holidays seem to approach like a giant snowball rolling downhill, gathering speed quickly until they are almost upon us. So it’s easy to make holiday purchases on impulse, snatching up a gift or decorative item without really thinking through it first.

Some impulse buys can be huge hits, of course. But generally, it’s smarter to carefully consider a purchase before handing over hard-earned money for it. Here’s a look at holiday purchases that givers are likely to regret — or recipients are likely to be disappointed with (even if they don’t say so).

Pricey jewelry or watches

Nestor Rizhniak /

There’s a stereotype that everyone, especially women, swoons at a gift of jewelry. But more than almost anything except clothing, jewelry can be difficult to purchase for someone else. Personal tastes are very individual.

Does your recipient shun heavy earrings, or dislike the jangle of a bracelet? Maybe they already have a set of rings they wear daily, and don’t care to get any more. Do they prefer choker necklaces or dangling pendants? Silver, or gold?

Jewelry can also be expensive, and many buyers are simply uninformed as to what a fair price is, especially if diamonds or gemstones are involved. Unless you know your recipient’s tastes and have discussed them at length, consider holding off on the jewelry.


Child excited about a puppy gift
BlurryMe /

Animals aren’t toys, they’re daily – sometimes hourly – commitments, and for the length of their lives. Sure, puppies, kittens, bunnies … they’re just adorable, and it’s fun to imagine a kid coming downstairs and seeing a fluffy fur baby sitting under the tree. (Who are we kidding? They’re more likely to be chewing on or climbing the tree, not sitting quietly beneath it.)

But a pet just can’t be returned or discarded when it gets bigger or a child gets bored. Discuss a pet purchase with your family at length before adopting a furry new family member.

Extravagant toys

Prostock-studio /

Toymakers know how to hit parents right in the guilt gene. Lego sets with thousands of elaborate pieces, child-sized Porsches, fancy stuffed ponies that actually take kids for rides, pricey video-game consoles. Here’s the truth: Most kids will be just as happy with a gift that didn’t cost the equivalent of a semester’s college tuition.

Home exercise equipment

Exercise bike in disuse
Greenseas /

Take a look through Facebook Marketplace for your local area and you’re almost certain to see plenty of people begging strangers to come haul away a treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bicycle, often for free.

Those original purchases were surely made with the best of intentions, but settling into a home-exercise groove isn’t as easy as it seems. A rowing machine with a giant bow on the handlebars may look impressive, but with some exceptions, it’s likely to turn into a place to pile laundry before the summer.

Still want to get fit? Check out “9 Frugal Ways to Get Fit.” Or, buy a used piece of equipment.


Man shopping in perfume store.
Matej Kastelic /

Like jewelry, fragrance is a very individual indulgence. Unless you’re heading to the store with a very specific scent name on your list, stay away from it as a gift.

One person may love the scent of musk, while another associates it with grandmothers. Vanilla scents delight some people, but others never want to walk around smelling like a cookie. And some people can’t wear strong scents at all, due to allergies or simply personal choice.

Guessing at a fragrance gift just makes no scents.

Trendy kitchen appliances

Cake pop maker
seramo /

Few items are more aspirational than those one-purpose kitchen appliances. You know what I’m talking about: cake-pop makers, s’mores sets, hot-dog toasters. You can just imagine the fun you’d have pulling out that item and making … whatever it makes. But hold off.

Single-purpose appliances often grow dusty in the back of cabinets or take up precious counter space that you really need to use to make sandwiches or something more practical. It’s nice to think that a recipient would use your gift to suddenly become an expert crepe maker, but it’s just not likely.

Personal-care gift sets

Personal care holiday gift set
Gagarin Iurii /

Be wary of those pre-packaged gift sets, often including a bottle of lotion, spray cologne, perhaps even an antiperspirant. It’s possible your gift recipient might like one of those items, but what are the odds they are fans of all three?

The items usually all carry the same scent, too. Even if you think your gift recipient loves roses, it’s unlikely they’ll want to live every day smelling like they fell into a rosebush.

Gael F. Cooper

Source link

You May Also Like

Time Is Running Out to Use the Money in Your Flexible Spending Account

Do you have a flexible spending account for your health care needs?…

How Much Do Hybrid Car Batteries Cost? – NerdWallet

Hybrid vehicles use different batteries than traditional gasoline-only vehicles and can run…

Social Security Benefits Will Increase by a Record 8.7% in 2023

If you’re on Social Security, you can expect your check to increase…

Traveling for the holidays? Here’s how to dodge high prices and crowded flights

Thanksgiving and Christmas airfares are shaping up to be some of the…

Gas crunch eases in Europe — but the respite might not last

FRANKFURT, Germany — Natural gas and electricity prices in Europe have plunged…

From Clothes to Cars to Microwaves: The Best Time to Sell Your Stuff

There are plenty of reasons to sell your unwanted stuff. You might…