Gifts under a Christmas tree. Image Credit: Agency

Nicole Majdalany, 47, a Dubai resident for more than 12 years, has been affiliated with Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing for the last three years as its Retail Ambassador.

Rules for serious gifting

Before buying a gift, always research on the person (friends/clients/relatives/social circle). Find out if there is something they’ve been talking about lately, or if they are looking to complete something — it could be a missing painting in their drawing room or a piece of jewellery or matching bag and shoes or vice versa. It’s always recommended that you join with other friends/relatives/etc to give someone one meaningful gift rather than everyone buying small (sometimes worthless) items. This way, the person is most likely to use it and even feel good about it.

The small issue of the price tag

If someone is well-off or wealthy, no matter what you buy them, it can match what they already have. In these cases, pick up something that is not available in the other person’s territory. It could be a brand of chocolate or a shower gel or a make-up brand.

Many wealthy families in Dubai this year have opted for a no-gift Christmas and there are others who are doing a ‘joke gift’ Christmas. A joke gift is something that also lets you pick up gifts that are easy on the pocket. Joke gifts could be anything from a juicer to a pair of socks.

Your choice or their preference?

In a lot of cases, gifts can be driven by the giver’s personal choice, but when the person is someone really important, then no. If it is a family member or close friend, people are more careful and put a lot of thought into it. However, if it is a teacher or a colleague, people tend to buy more generic stuff for example a candle/toiletries or something for the house.

In my opinion, a lot of people have been re-using gifts and it can get weird if you gift it back to the same person. So if it is someone important, people put in a lot of thought but not otherwise.

What about experience gifts? Like a spa coupon or dinner for two?

These are good choices. Firstly, nine out of ten people will actually make use of your gift, which is a good thing for both parties. They enjoy their time and you feel happy about gifting them something they have now experienced. This is something that a lot of Dubai residents have started doing — thanks to deals on Groupon, etc.

What about cash as a gift?

Cash over any gift is the best thing to do. Until you’re sure of what the person wants or likes, and whether it falls within your budget, settling for cash is the best way to go.