My track record with buying gifts is, at best, mixed. There have been some unqualified successes - ranging from the 30th birthday scuba diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef that I organised, to the book of nursery rhymes and songs I bought in the ABC Shop for my one year old son. The wheels on the bus do indeed go around and around.
I'll confess there have been some disasters too. I'm thinking about the dress that I managed to cut a hole through during a hasty wrapping process on Christmas Eve. Or the foot spa that ended up on Ebay a year later, sold to the highest bidder for the princely sum of $7.
Of course I've also been on the receiving end of some interesting presents. Favourites that spring to mind include a trip to Darwin, an acoustic guitar and my indispensable iPod. I wouldn't say I've ever received a "bad" gift - it's flattering to receive any present, card or even a phone call on one's birthday or special occasion. Sometimes a great gift is just badly timed. The thick woolen jumper sent from Ireland last Christmas was very nice, but not quite what I needed to cope with Sydney's 30+ degree summer heat.
Buying a good gift is a challenge for people like me, while others seem to hit the mark with thoughtful gifts every time. With the festive season fast approaching, some planning can avoid panic buying and money wasters. We'd love to hear about the best and worst presents you've received - get typing in the comments field below and help your fellow CHOICE members avoid a lemon!
And to further help you out, our experts have put together a list of gift ideas
in various price categories, including best buys from CHOICE tests. No footspas - we promise.