Whether it is a special birthday, you are getting well, or you are leaving, choosing the right gift is not always an easy task. If you really want someone’s day to be more special, but don’t know where to start, why not take a look at our list of 10 gifts to avoid.

1. Stay away from household appliances

Unless you’re sure she dreams of owning a fancy mixer because cooking is her passion, or he actually asked her, in writing, for that state-of-the-art automobile dust breaker, stay away. In particular, avoid vacuum cleaners, washing machines, or any other device that can be used to clean up your waste.

2. “Useful” gifts

Never give an overweight friend exercise equipment or diet books. You may think you are doing them a favor, but they may be offended. Think about what your gifts say before you buy them … your partner can buy a wrinkle cream for herself, but they may not be so happy if you start giving it to them.

3. Charitable donations

Okay, it’s not PC to admit it, but not everyone wants to read those words “A charitable donation has been made in your name” instead of unwrapping something shiny with a little bow on top. Unless you’re pretty sure it will be well received or specifically requested, avoid it.

4. Something you’ve always wanted

Unless you are really buying a gift for someone with a similar taste to yours … don’t buy something that you really want for yourself. Just because you want a Playstation doesn’t mean your mom or girlfriend will appreciate it, especially when you borrow it before I even take it out of the box.

5. Generic or cheap gifts

Cups, toiletries, and lottery tickets may be suitable as “storage fillers” or for people you don’t know very well, but be careful when buying them for close friends and family. This type of gift simply says, “I really had no idea … so here you are.”

6. Gifts that do not match the occasion

I once spoke to a man who, years later, could still vividly remember his disappointment when he received a t-shirt from his girlfriend as a 40th birthday present … He was hoping for a more memorable and more personal gift for that special occasion (now he has a new one girlfriend ).

7. Pets

It is generally best to avoid “live” gifts, unless you are 110% sure the recipient wants a pet or that you are shopping for your child. Dogs and cats are a huge responsibility and it’s best not to push anyone into that situation without warning … and there may be a reason they don’t have a cat or dog yet.

8. Clothes

Clothing is not a good idea, unless you have seen the recipient try it on and return it to you because you couldn’t afford it. Most likely, you will get the wrong style, size or color and the recipient will feel compelled to wear it at least once in front of you. Men, consider this doubly true when shopping for underwear for your partner.

9. Vouchers

These can be a great post gift for people who live far away. Be sure to buy the right kind of coupon, though – Mothercare coupons for new parents or student book tabs are great, but Marks and Spencer coupons for teens may not be as helpful.

10. Silly prizes

The “Best Mum” mug and World’s Best Coffeemakers T-shirts are on sale. Consider them only if you are under the age of 12 or want to make a cheesy statement.

So what should you do to choose a great gift? Here are some suggestions:

Listen and look for phrases like “I’d love to, but I can’t afford it.”

Thinking of your own hobbies and interests.

Ask others (siblings, family and friends) what they think they might like.

Keep your eyes open for great gifts throughout the year so you never get stuck when you suddenly remember that you are dating a friend and it is her birthday. It also takes a lot of stress out of Christmas.

. Classic gifts like balloons, flowers, chocolates, and teddy bears are also popular little gifts.