Christmas Gift Ideas & Tips For Shopping Smarter This Year
Choosing the right present for someone is a fine art in itself, and a skill that is especially needed during the Christmas season.
As much as we want our gift exchanges to go perfectly, we may not always know what the recipient may like or need at that point in time.
With that in mind, we collected stories of ‘fail’ Christmas gifts and why they weren’t the right fit from eight Singaporeans.
As a bonus, we’ve also included smarter alternatives to these ‘fail’ presents so that you can boost your chances of successful holiday gifting this year.
‘Fail’ Christmas Gift #1: Books
If you have a bookworm in your life, you can never go wrong with getting them a book for Christmas, right?
Not always. For 33-year-old Dominic Lau, he once received a book…that he had already read before.
“It was ‘Haunted’ by Chuck Palahniuk,” Lau recalled, grimacing at the memory.
When you think about it, an avid reader is likely to have devoured the classics or latest bestsellers already, so getting a title they’ve yet to read and will enjoy is trickier than you might think.
One way to avoid Lau’s awkward situation is to sneakily ask your giftee what they think about a particular book. If they have something to say, they’ve probably read it.
But if you’ve already gotten the title, you can appease them with a stylish throw from Commune that will turn their sofa or bed into a Pinterest-worthy reading nook where they can sink in while exploring the story realms.
In fact, with discounts of up to 50% off storewide plus an additional 10% off with PayLater by Grab, you can consider getting a couple more for yourself and your family.
‘Fail’ Christmas Gift #2: Christmas mugs
As cute as seasonal mugs can be, chances are your gift recipient already has at least a couple of their own.
Furthermore, space is a luxury that not everyone may have, and mugs that aren’t in regular rotation or tailored to a specific season usually get tucked away in cabinets anyway.
“One time, I got a mug from a relative that, to be honest, was really adorable with reindeers on it,” shared Christine Tan, 28.
“However, I’m a creature of habit and always reach for the same mug when I take my morning coffee, so my aunt’s mug only ended up gathering dust,” she confessed.
For a regular tea or coffee drinker, a more useful gift would be a thermal flask like this Vacuum Flask Bottle from Charles Millen, which is available at Robinsons.
These help maintain drinks’ temperature for longer – be it hot or cold – so that your giftee can enjoy their beverage of choice the way they like it, all day long.
What’s more, you can get a gift set that comes with a matching towel to make it a more complete present. This is your chance to score them in all three colours as you get a 10% discount when you spend a minimum of S$150 online with PayLater by Grab.
‘Fail’ Christmas Gift #3: Photo frames
When Patrick Lim, 45, received a photo frame for Christmas, he knew right away that it would have a permanent place in his home — or more precisely, his storeroom.
“I don’t like taking photos or having photos of myself taken,” he explained. “Even if I do, it’s a hassle to get them developed purely for the sake of using this item.”
Nowadays, most people are also more likely to store photos on their phones or computers. With that in mind, perhaps an external hard drive would be a much more practical option — instead of keeping just one photo, the recipient can now store thousands of photos safely in one device.
Harvey Norman has a wide range of options on its online store so you can choose one that suits your giftees’ needs and, of course, your budget.
All the electronic products you’ll see while browsing would probably be so difficult to resist that you end up carting out more items than you planned.
Good thing is, paying for your S$600 or more bill using PayLater by Grab online will get you S$30 off, so you won’t feel guilty about getting a new gadget for yourself.
‘Fail’ Christmas Gift #4: Notebooks
Like photos, a notebook is another physical object that has largely been digitised.
25-year-old Evelyn Voon is very much #TeamDigital, so getting a paper notebook was definitely not one of the highlights of her Christmas.
“I am not bringing notebooks everywhere and I don’t draw. Plus, I already have an online organiser to help me keep track of things,” she said.
To get on with the times, you may want to get your tech-savvy relative or friend a device like a tablet or e-reader instead, depending on what their needs are.
A top-of-the-line tablet, such as one from Samsung, is guaranteed to put a smile on your giftee’s face.
You and your bank account will also be smiling when you split your bill into four monthly instalments with zero interest and zero hidden fees with PayLater by Grab, which also gets you S$80 off a minimum spend of S$1,200 in stores.
‘Fail’ Christmas Gift #5: Coin pouches
While it’s a cute gift in theory, in a time where cashless payment is becoming increasingly common, a coin pouch may become little more than just another accessory.
In the eyes of Geraldine Kumar, 24, a coin pouch’s size is “neither here nor there” as it’s usually not big enough to store more than a few coins.
“As I go cashless nowadays, I don’t keep coins. People have told me I can use it to keep my EZ-Link card, but I use my bank card via my phone’s e-wallet,” she elaborated.
As such, a full-fledged wallet or purse is a better idea as it has more room to fit a mix of cards, cash, and spare coins.
You can never go wrong with a simple design in a timeless colour like this Calvin Klein wallet.
In the spirit of going cashless, you can pay for the wallet and any other accompanying purchases with PayLater by Grab, which gives you a 10% discount with a minimum spend of S$150 online.
‘Fail’ Christmas Gift #6: Apparel
As far as gifts go, clothes are one of the trickiest things to get right. There are so many factors to consider, with fit and design being the top two.
Although the thought of someone buying a dress or shirt with you in mind is heartwarming, in reality, apparel can just wind up being an awkward present to receive.
When Leslie Ho, 29, got an outfit from her relatives, it was unfortunately too big as they chose the size based on old photos of her.
“I’m also super picky with what I wear so I only put on the outfit when I see them. The outfit’s also not really my style, so I never post photos of myself in it,” she admitted.
To keep your gift from being relegated to the back of your giftee’s wardrobe, consider giving them a one-size-fits-all accessory such as jewellery, which you can find on online boutiques ZALORA and SHEIN.
Both brands are also offering discounts when you use PayLater by Grab – 23% off plus 5% cashback for ZALORA, and 10% off with a minimum spend of S$50 for SHEIN — giving the giftee even more reason to love this present.
‘Fail’ Christmas Gift #7: Dumbbells
As well-intentioned as dumbbells or any other fitness gear may seem, they also risk offending your giftee if they take it as a dig at their weight or health.
They could also be redundant if your recipient is already a fitness junkie, like 36-year-old Stephen Thomas.
“Although I’m still working towards my fitness goals, I consider myself relatively fit as I try to hit the gym three to four times a week,” he said.
He added, “I also prefer working out in a gym as it allows me to tune out any distractions I may have at home, so the dumbbells are mostly just taking up space now.”
Instead of a fitness-oriented gift, you can still get something that expresses your love and care by going down the wellness route.
Wellness plays a big role in our overall health too, and a gift set like this Holiday Treat Gift Bundle from Hush Candle has a candle, essential oil roll-on, room spray, and hand sanitiser to keep your recipient feeling soothed and relaxed all December long.
Just as soothing for you is the fact that there’s a 5% discount on all Holiday Gifting on GrabMart, where you can have your order delivered to you instantly — perfect for settling last-minute gifts.
‘Fail’ Christmas Gift #8: EZ-Link cards
You might be thinking, gifts can’t get any more practical than an EZ-Link card, right?
That may be true — if the card you’re gifting actually has any credit in it.
Unfortunately, 39-year-old Nadia Woo once received one without any travel value whatsoever.
“The design wasn’t even nice,” she added. “It was just the normal standard type.”
Unless it’s your giftee’s first day in Singapore or their EZ-Link just happened to go missing, it’s more likely than not that they already have their own travel card.
However, if you insist, at least give them an EZ-Link card with a unique or limited edition design so your giftee can enjoy it as a collectible.
Apart from that, getting a GrabGifts digital gift card works as well since it can be used across a variety of Grab services, including Grab rides, GrabFood, GrabMart, and even non-Grab brands like Mothercare and Laneige.
If you’re shopping for a Loh Kean Yew fan, you can include a limited edition GrabGifts e-greeting card featuring the badminton star, which will only be available during the festive season.
Shop smarter for gifts with Grab
While it can be easy to fret over getting the right gifts, there is actually a way to stay cool and be a smarter shopper this year.
In conjunction with the festive season, many local merchants are offering various gift sets via GrabMart. Curated and packaged specially for the festive season, these bundles will make gift shopping so much easier.
The Body Shop’s gorgeous Beauty Advent Calendars, which feature the brand’s essentials and best-sellers, make counting down to Christmas an absolute delight. Your giftee will look forward to unboxing a different surprise every morning till 25 Dec.
GrabMart’s also the place to find everything from chocolates to flowers to games and electronics. And with instant delivery, even last-minute shoppers can settle all their gifting on time with ease.
There’s not one true-blue Singaporean who isn’t a foodie, so picking up a bundle from favourites like Shake Shack, Domino’s Pizza, and Chicha San Chen via GrabFood is sure to make more than one family member or friend happy.
If you’d prefer to pace your holiday spending to manage your budget better, opt for PayLater by Grab, which lets you pay for your purchases in four monthly instalments with zero interest and zero hidden fees.
This payment method is available for a long list of fashion, beauty, home and living, as well as electronic brands like iStudio, Harvey Norman, Calvin Klein, and ZALORA.
Whatever it is that you’re planning to bless your loved ones with this festive season, the Grab app can be your one-stop shop to get everything you need. After all, with Christmas less than a month away, it only makes sense to be as efficient as possible.
A time to gift not only presents but time & company
Giving and receiving the right gift always brings joy to both the giver and recipient.
And with just a little research and planning, you can shop smarter and level up to an expert gifter well before Christmas Day.
But beyond physical items, the greatest present we can give is always our time and company — after all, it is something that can’t come from anyone else.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Grab.