It’s The Thought That Counts, Or Is It?

The time of year, when it’s acceptable to stuff your face with pandoro  and mulled wine, has arrived. As has, right on cue, Catriona’s toxic flu of the year. Benissimo. Every year, just before the holidays begin, the germs get me. Working my way through a kilo of clementines now, to be rid of it before festive fun back home can start!

A gift should make the recipient happy -not sad, angry or in desperate want of the receipt. Some people have a knack of finding that perfect gift…others less so, however, it’s the thought that counts, no? Well…not really, no.


Sadly, mostly from experience (or that of people I know), here are a few things to avoid:

A paperweight

.A gift that says ‘I have absolutely no idea what to buy you, and I still live in the 1800s when paperweights may (or may not) have been useful.

Two napkins and matching holders for a family of three or more

Would it have killed you to stretch the budget to accommodate the whole family? And napkins, really?

A lettuce knife

That’s right, just in case you couldn’t bring yourself to tear up your lettuce, as is the norm. I’m all for ingenious kitchen accessories, but this one really is the tip of the iceberg (pun intended).

His and Her gifts…for a single friend

Unless you were attempting to rub salt into the wound, just no.

Having a star named after someone

The star doesn’t know it’s named after you, you will never be able to find it in the sky and it will eventually burn out and die. You’re welcome.

Adopt a *insert animal of choice*

For the next X months, you will be inundated with updates from Penelope the sea lion, who sends you messages and photos of herself. You’re not an idiot and know that sea lions cannot write, and thus become disillusioned with the gift.

Self help books, such as ‘How much money do you need to retire?’

A gift that says, you do not have enough money to retire, I could have given you some money, but instead I spent it on this cruel reminder.

Perhaps the worst thing you could present an Italian with this Christmas, is a jar of Nescafé

A gift that says, your Italian coffee is so-so, but I think you’ll rather enjoy this watered down, instant powder. It keeps for months.

On a happier note, for anyone gift hunting in Florence this Christmas, The Florentine has put together a helpful gift list: Check it out!

Life lessons learnt: Never expect a thank you letter if you insult someone with a paperweight this Christmas and never expect to make friends in Italy if you insult them with Nescafé…even the fancy gold edition.


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