Certainly, not everyone on your gift list would be happy with a gift to a good cause - but still, one recent study reporting that ethical gifts might offend the recipients might be misleading.
In that study, women got one of two gifts that they were told came from their husbands. Those who received a donation to Oxfam rather than a spa basket filled soaps and body creams were less than thrilled. (However, women who got the Oxfam gift from their children were not displeased.) Note that this study does nothing to refute the idea that a donation-type gift is a good idea for those you know less well than a close family member!
Having read about this study, my ears perked up when it was featured on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. And I was especially delighted to hear this exchange:
You know, if someone gave me a basket of creams, I wouldn't be that happy, frankly.Peter Sagal:
Yeah, I don't know. I mean as a recycler, I have a problem with the whole basket concept. You've got the plastic outside that I don't think it recycles. You've got the straw stuff that I don't know where the hell to put it, and you've got the basket. What do you do with the basket? Not to mention that I don't really want creams, but that's secondary.Roxanne Roberts:
But you can reuse the basket!Paula:
Reuse it for what? Tisketing?Peter:
But don't you at least feel a certain satisfaction that you got the useless basket rather than some damn poor needy person?Paula:
Yeah, you're absolutely right. Nothing would annoy a starving refugee more than a cream basket.If you want to hear the full story, you can download the December 19 episode of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, for free, from the iTunes Store in the podcast section. It starts at about 8:17 into the show.
[Photo from Wildflower Baskets and Gifts]