When Novelty Gifts are at their Best

Finding the right gift for a friend or co-worker – or even a family member, for that matter – can be a lot more difficult than it ought to be. Ideally, you want the gift to be something that the person is going be able to use, or at least appreciate. However, this can put a lot of pressure on the giver.

image via pixabay.com

There is plenty of published data out there lending credence to the difficulty of selecting the right gifts. In the lead-up to Christmas a couple of years ago, The Telegraph published an article about the worst gifts that men buy for the women in their lives. These were a few of the stand-out items:

·         Cabbage
·         Salt
·         Sack of potatoes
·         Beard trimmers
·         Windscreen wipers

There’s a definite lack of creativity at work in the above list. Apparently, the men in this survey were satisfied to buy women things that they wouldn’t mind receiving themselves. Either that or they were just hungry when they went shopping.

The fact remains that choosing the right gift for a person is downright difficult. This is particularly true when buying for people that you don’t know that well – such as for a colleague. In a survey of Australians, one in five admitted to receiving a gift that they simply did not like. Of those, 30 percent either kept the gift or threw it away; another 20 percent had the audacity to re-gift the unwanted item.

Give a Gift that Will Make Them Smile

This is where a novelty item can swoop in and save the day. If you are shopping for someone that you really don’t know – be it for birthday or Christmas gifts or something else entirely – steer away from a soulless gift card or charitable donation on their behalf. Instead, purchase something that’s universally enjoyable. Something that will make them smile.

image via amazon.com

You see, when you purchase a novelty item for someone, you are essentially foregoing the pretence of knowing anything about their personal preferences. Rather than putting yourself in a position in which you would have to try and determine what it is that they really want, you can instead buy them something to make them smile. The smile itself is the gift; and the novelty item is just a means to an end.

Of course, not all novelty items are manufactured equally, and some certainly are not going to go over as well as others. While you probably don’t want to give your boss a poo-shaped key ring (which actually made the list on the above-mentioned Telegraph article), there are plenty of tasteful items to consider. Finding them just requires a little bit of shopping around.

Fortunately, the Internet has made the prospect of shopping for novelty items much easier than it used to be. There is no longer any need to drive across town to visit a speciality shop in the mall. Instead, you can cut straight to the heart of the matter on your own computer or tablet from the privacy of your own home. A few clicks and you can finish all of your seasonal shopping for your co-workers in just a few minutes. 

Just remember: the best novelty items are those that actually serve a small but significant purpose. Remember ‘Big Mouth Bill Bass’, the singing robotic fish that it’s intended to be mounted over the mantelpiece? That may get a few laughs at the gift-giving party, but relatively few people would actually use the gift or leave on the mantel for more than a couple days.

A fish-shaped egg yolk separator, on the other hand, actually has a bit of utility – at least for someone that does any baking at home. Give them a gift like this, and they’ll crack a smile at the party. However, they are also liable to use that gift back home. That’s when your gift has really served its purpose.  


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