Sep 04, 2013

    Watch what you buy as holiday gifts

    HAVE you ever thrown away an unwanted gift from someone who just returned from a holiday, or put away the gift in a drawer for years only to discover it later?

    Well, you are not alone.

    A survey by global travel search site Skyscanner of 1,000 Singaporean travellers found that nearly three quarters - 74 per cent - have received unwanted gifts, with 9 per cent even confessing that they threw them straight into the bin.

    Others were more empathetic: 41 per cent said they kept such gifts to "avoid hurting the other person's feelings".

    Some 28 per cent said they gave the gifts away later.

    Ms Ira Noviani, marketing manager of Skyscanner Singapore, said: "Although they say 'it's the thought that counts', receiving an unwanted gift can certainly be an awkward moment.

    "Maybe we should play it safer with the gifts we choose and stick to something we all enjoy - like chocolate."

    Topping the list of most unwanted holiday gifts are disgusting food or sweets, followed by clothing and knick-knacks or display ornaments.

    While food souvenirs appear to be a no-no, people My Paper spoke to said they remain the most practical gift when they want to share a part of their travel experience with friends and family.

    Financial planner Diana Foo, 41, said she would buy an assortment of food items and repack them in bags containing a little of each.

    She said of her gift recipients: "This way, there is a high chance that they will find at least one snack that they like."

    Fresh graduate Nicolette Michael, 23, said the key to not buying unwanted gifts is to refrain from buying souvenirs for too many people.

    She said: "I always end up buying the cheapest gifts, which are often useless, because of the sheer number of people on my list."

    Of the Singaporeans surveyed, 57 per cent also admitted that they have made holiday purchases which they later regretted.

    One respondent cited the purchase of Chinese herbal medicine amounting to US$2,000 (S$2,550), while another cited the purchase of a pair of leather boots.

    Ms Michael said she regretted her decision to buy shot glasses from every city she visited.

    "I now have over 30 shot glasses and they take up so much space on my table."