Did you leave your Christmas shopping until the last minute? Here’s what not to buy …

Age: Refuse any gifts that suggest decay – a handrail, a Saga magazine subscription, easy-to-grip utensils, or a pressure pad.

Sexy: A friend still grimaces at the memory of the harsh little red lingerie that she was given when she is more of the comfortable bra and panty type. In addition to the covert pressure that such choices might exert, there is the embarrassment of having to unwrap sex toys or textbooks in front of family members. That’s not to say that all underwear is a no-fly zone – there are some shiny brands that are designed to make the wearer feel gorgeous and comfortable at the same time. But since most women don’t even know the right bra size, give them away as a coupon and include a virtual fitting that independent stores like The Pantry Underwear now offer.

Premium gifts: Men, you are in luck for 2021. Women will actually be fine with anything you give until it is omicron’s gift.

For him

By Stuart Heritage

Men – and, in my experience, especially older men – are a nightmare to buy: not thoughtful enough to leave clues nor articulate enough to tell you outright. Worse yet, over time, they’ve built up an impressive palisade of panicked novelty gifts. However, there are certain gifts that you can guarantee that all men will completely despise. Avoid these and half the battle is won.

After-shave : Like the books you read, a man’s aftershave is a deeply personal choice. This is something that he himself chose, having experienced many others, because it acts as an extension of his personality. A man is his scent, and that’s not something to be laughed at. If you buy a man an aftershave based on his name, or the shape of his bottle, or whatever Amazon describes it, you’re robbing him of his real self. Out of politeness, he will start wearing your gift, but part of him will be lost forever. And I mean forever. I have an aftershave bottle from 15 years ago and am trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Gadgets: A decade and a half ago the Tough Men Release Card was the gimmick. A mid-priced trinket that did something cool and unexpected and was only tangentially useful. Well guess what? It’s 2007 no longer. We all have smartphones now, which means we take every gadget imaginable with us 24/7. A universal translator? Our phones do. A toy that can identify birdsong by sound? Our phones do. Games? Call. Music player? Call. A magic box that shows us what each of our exes is doing at some point? Call. I’m sorry for this, but our phones have robbed you of 80% of all gift options.

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