Big Fat Balloons Ten Hints on How Not to Choose a Gift That Will be Treasured Forever

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Whether it's Valentine's Day, Mother's Day or just a plain old birthday or leaving do, Sophie Baxter of http://www.bigfatballoons.co.uk has years of experience of helping people choose gifts. She's also heard plenty of tales of woe over gifts that were less than appreciated in the past. Driven by a passion to help people make someone's day even more special, Sophie has put together her guide to avoiding bad gifts.

Whether it's Valentine's Day, Mother's Day or just a plain old birthday or leaving do, Sophie Baxter of http://www.bigfatballoons.co.uk has years of experience of helping people choose gifts. She's also heard plenty of tales of woe over gifts that were less than appreciated in the past. Driven by a passion to help people make someone's day even more special, Sophie has put together her guide to avoiding bad gifts.

1. Stay clear of appliances
Unless you are certain that she dreams to own a deluxe mixer because cooking is her passion, or he's actually asked, in writing, for that state of the art car dust buster - stay clear. Especially avoid vacuum cleaners, washing machines or any other device that might be used to clean up after you.

2. "Helpful" gifts
Never give an overweight friend fitness equipment or diet books. You might think you are doing them a favour but they may be offended. Think about what your gifts are saying before you buy them... your partner may buy herself anti-wrinkle cream but might not be so happy if you start giving it to her.

3. Charity 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" in lieu of unwrapping something shiny with a little bow on top. Unless you're pretty sure that it will be well received, or has been specifically requested, avoid.

4. Something You've Always Wanted
Unless you are truly buying a gift for someone with similar taste to yours... don't buy something you actually want for your self. Just because you want a Playstation, it does not mean your mum or girlfriend will appreciate it, especially when you ask to borrow it before she's even got it out of the box.

5. Generic or cheap Gifts
Mugs, toiletries and lottery tickets might be suitable as 'stocking fillers' or for people you don't know very well, but beware when buying these for close friends and family. This kind of gift just says: "I really had no idea... so here you are ".

6. Gifts that Don't Match the Occasion
I once spoke to man who could years later still vividly recall his disappointment when receiving a shirt from his girlfriend on his 40th Birthday... He was expecting a more memorable - and more personal gift for that special occasion (he now has a new girlfriend).

7. Pets
"Live" presents are usually best avoided, unless you are 110% sure that the recipient wants a pet or you are buying for your child. Dogs and cats are a big responsibility and it is best not to push anyone into that situation without warning... and there might be a reason why they don't already have a cat or a dog.

8. Clothes
Clothes aren't a good idea, unless you have seen the recipient try it on and put it back because they could not afford it. Chances are that you will get the style, size or colour wrong and the recipient will feel forced to wear it at least once in front of you. Men, consider this doubly true when buying underwear for your partner.

9. Vouchers
These can be a great gift for posting to people who live far away. However make sure that you buy the right type of voucher - Mothercare vouchers for new parents or book tokens for students are great but Marks and Spencer vouchers for teenagers might not be so useful!

10. Dumb awards
"Best Mum" mug, and World's Best coffee makers T-shirts are out. Consider them only if you are under 12 years old or if you want to make a cheesy statement.

So what does Big Fat Balloons advise buying? Sophie suggests:
· Listening and looking out for phrases such as "I'd love that but I couldn't afford it"
· Thinking about their own particular hobbies and interests.
. Asking others - siblings, family and friends - what they think they might like.
· Keep your eyes open for great gifts all year around so you'll never be stuck when you suddenly remember you're seeing a friend and it's her birthday. It also takes a lot of the stress out of Christmas.

Big Fat Balloons is devoted to discovering simple, cheerful gifts with the 'wow-factor'. It was started by Mum Sophie Baxter who, on the birth of her baby, was given a balloon in a box that made her go 'WOW' and kept both baby and Dad entertained. A few months later, she organised a helium balloon delivery for a friend's 50th birthday which went down so well that Sophie realised that she had stumbled across an idea that made giving and receiving gifts easy, enjoyable and great fun.

So Sophie and her husband built Big Fat Balloons to let everyone find out just how easy and enjoyable it can be to order memorable gifts online. They now sell over 500 a month a month and are growing fast. For more information check out http://www.bigfatballoons.co.uk or contact Sophie Baxter on 01422 300 654.

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