The way I see it there are three good gift types:
1. Something you need that you can't afford. (Furniture; new car tires; stainless steel cookware; etc.)
2. Something frivolous you love that you would not likely buy for yourself. ($100 hurricane lamp; rabbit-lined leather gloves; 600-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets)
3. Something fun that suits your personality and interests. (video games; cds; a $15 cinnamon lipgloss; restaurant gift certificates; scrapbooking supplies; et. al.)
This leads me to question the "Dirty Santa" game that we played with my husband's family on Christmas Eve. The girls were to bring a girl gift, the guys were to bring a guy gift. The girl stuff ranged from a Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card to lotion to chocolate to a journal to earrings. No problem. It is the guy stuff that perplexes me. The gifts were as follows: Electrical tape; Duct tape; garden hose roll-up thingy; plastic rain gauge; wrench; box cutter; a dozen pairs of work gloves; and various colors of plastic cable ties. Seriously. And they grappled over these things like toddlers fighting over the last cookie! Now, I gave this some thought. If this was a girl gift, the equivalent would look something like: A travel sewing kit; box of safety pins; nail clippers; twelve pairs of yellow playtex dishwashing gloves; spatula; a curling iron caddy; and an old lady clear-plastic rain bonnet. Am I the only one who sees the humor in this? These are not gifts. I'm convinced these are the purchases of 5 men who do not have a clue how to shop and were equally relieved that none of the other guys knew how to shop either.
Gift cards make sense to me. Big boy toys I can appreciate. Electronic gadgets I understand. Game systems I even like myself. But plastic cable ties remain a mystery to me.