Monday, 13 December 2010

How to Choose Gifts for the Mother-in-Law

Or anyone else for that matter.  Having written two books about giving gifts and how to choose them, and spending a lot of time pondering this particular one (which can be fraught with difficulty, along with son-in-laws, other people’s children and that uncle you rarely see but who had decided to pitch up at your house for this year’s Christmas festivitie)s I have, I think, narrowed it down to a fine art.

Firstly you have to forget the whole idea that you need a ‘something’ to give.  No matter how beautifully wrapped, if what you give isn’t relevant to the person you’re giving it to you can forget about it.  It’ll go into the ‘to be re-given at a later date’ and we all have one of those.

The trick is to ask yourself just two questions;

What’s her Style? – minimal/over-the-top dressed-up/colourful/neutral – and this will probably apply to home and dress
What does she like to do? – Paint/listen to music (and if so what kind)/play hockey (!)/read/eat out/travel etc etc

john lewis cashmere scarf  molton brown bathing nectar glass bowl

cushion  wrapPenhaligons Gift Box

Narrow these down to a few specifics and you’re far more likely to come up with something that’ll be appreciated.  Trust me, I know these things, whether it’s a book on her favourite hobby, a scarf in the right colour or a subscription to CN Traveller for the travel addict.  Giving the right thing will score you brownie points whether you want them or not and who wants to spend money on something that’s going to be given on?  Not me, for sure……………

And of course the same applies to men, with special reference to sports and hobbies – forget the socks, the scarf and the cufflinks………unless they’re very, very special, you’re unlikely to be thanked for them.