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December 19, 2021

Holiday gifts that cost to receive

The worst gifter, surely, is the gifter that thinks you need what they love.

Stock-photo-17648707-gold-giftWhich is to say, the gifter that reasons, “Omigod, I read Breaking Dawn  in a weekend! I couldn’t put it down! You’ll love it!”

Of course, most times this happens, you don’t want what you’re getting, rolling your eyes later but smiling and nodding to the holidays’ worst gifter.

Though, if there were a close relative to the holidays’ worst gifter, who would it be? Maybe … the person that gives gifts that cost you money to receive?

Indeed, not every holiday present is as straightforward as that book you don’t want or shirt you don’t want. No, some gifts, no matter how well they are received, cost recipients big on the back end.

*Bing: What are the “it” gifts this holiday season?

SmartMoney.com recently put together a rundown of four gifts that keep on taking, among them many items that likely appeared on wish lists this year.

1) 3G-enabled tablets – Tablets, maybe even the PlayBook, will be hot gifts these holidays, but for those data-ready devices, recipients must be prepared to pay. Using Canadian data plan costs, a reasonable 3G plan with Bell will cost at least $15 a month. Not including taxes, that’s nearly $200 a year.
2) Cars – Do people really get cars with big bows on top as gifts, like in those Lexus commercials? In any case, somewhere people probably do, and while it’d be bizarre to complain about getting a brand new ride, undoubtedly fuel and insurance costs will enter the $4,000-plus range a year for the recipient.
3) Pets – Ditto. In Canada, annual pet costs easily eclipse $1,000.
4) Gift cards – According to SmartMoney.com, shoppers tend to spend 140 per cent of their gift card value in stores, so on a $100 gift card, recipients usually blow an extra $40 of their own money every time they shop. This is shopper mis-discipline, sure, but nonetheless it means recipients are paying out of pocket for a gift they’ve been given.

How to get around the “gifts that keep costing” faux pas? According to Jodi R.R. Smith, an etiquette expert, givers should consider including a little extra on top of their gift if it’s likely to cost the recipient, whether that be not-included batteries for a child’s toy or a little extra cash to cover tax and tip not covered by that Groupon you’ve stuffed in a holiday card.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

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The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...