Elizabeth Ball, who writes the gift news blog, http://gifts-
"They say they think having to select a birthday gift is boring, and an obligation but for many people, particularly women, it's tangible proof that you care about them," said Elizabeth Ball.
"What stops many people from giving a great birthday gift - and this does not mean an expensive gift, by the way - is their own self-centredness, egotism and thoughtlessness,"
"Too many people think racing into the department store and quickly plucking a perfume gift set off the display shelf will 'do fine'."
"Unfortunately, all it shows is that you cannot dedicate even half an hour shopping online to an occasion which is deeply sentimental for many. Bad birthday presents are upsetting as the recipient realises the gift-giver thinks of it as a chore - and it can damage their relationship."
Elizabeth Ball also believes that asking people what they want is almost as lazy and thoughtless.
"If you know your mother, father, partner, siblings, children or friends in any depth at all, you will have at least a vague outline of their hobbies or major life events so asking them shows that you have not paid any attention to what interests them," Elizabeth Ball said.
"The seemingly innocent question, 'So what do you want for your birthday?' actually reveals that they are not in your thoughts at all," she said.
Elizabeth Ball is adamant that gift-givers do some homework and think about what the gift recipient enjoys doing and what they would do if they were spending money on themselves.
"For example, golfing enthusiasts might love a one-on-one session with a pro to improve their game! If your aunt loves quilting, give her a gift certificate to a quilting store. New mothers might appreciate a BabyStars astrology report about their child's personality. Teenage boys seems to go through a new pair of trendy trainers every six weeks so look at the labels they love wearing for clues. Those who are about to have a holiday might need travel-related items," she said.
"All gift-giving really takes is a little time concentrating:
"If you spend even just 20 minutes thinking hard about what would please and delight them. there would be far less regifting and relationship disasters," said Elizabeth Ball.
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Elizabeth Ball writes the gift news blog, http://gifts-