Christmas is coming. It’s high time to think about Christmas presents for your loved ones. Some of you might already have done this, so this article is irrelevant to you. Good for you…. For many of us, getting Christmas presents for family members is a living nightmare. Getting something that is original, useful, will be appreciated and does not ruin our personal budget1 is a real challenge! The following tips may help with the situation a bit.

1. Make a list.
The worst thing you can do is to go shopping without preparation. You will wander2 round the shopping mall and get more and more frustrated. Then you buy nothing and come home completely exhausted and depressed, or you buy silly things you regret buying immediately after leaving the shop. So it seems like a good idea to sit down and spend some time over a shopping list beforehand3. You can make a list of the people you want to get a present for and add how much you want (or are able) to spend on their presents. That will give you a basic outline.

2. Decide on type of present….
There are various types of presents. Basically, you decide between practical presents which their owners are expected to use in everyday lives (clothes, accessories, books, etc.) and symbolic presents, which usually do not have a practical value but let other people know you are thinking of them (decorations, for example). It is quite helpful to decide on this point and add it to your list.

3. Decide on the present itself.
Then comes the most difficult part. You may not be able to choose a particular item yet, but still you should be able to get closer to your choice by knowing about the interests, hobbies, needs or wishes of your loved ones. Don’t hesitate4 to ask if you aren’t sure. It is much better to know what you are going to get and like it than getting a bad surprise! Another option is to give the person a choice, like: “What would you prefer as a Christmas present; a book or a CD?” Ask and you’ll see.

4. Warning!
There are various presents that are generally considered a bad choice. Avoid5 buying impersonal stuff that has nothing to do with a person’s interests or needs. Don’t buy anything that might be useful but will not please6 the owner (a saucepan for Mum or a hammer for Dad B). It is also wrong to buy a present for someone and expect to use it yourself (a T-shirt for your sister that is one size too small or a book for your brother you know he won’t read but you will).
We wish you a very Merry Christmas with lots of presents you and your family members will like!


What is your strategy for getting presents for your family members?
What is the best/worst present you have ever got?
Comment on the following: It is much better to know what you are going to get and like it than getting a bad surprise!

Use the following adjectives in the sentences below:
surprising/surprised, depressing/depressed, exhausting/exhausted

a) Walking around shops might be pretty ……………………… and ……………………… !
b) I was …………………… when I got a new bike for Christmas!
c) Not being able to find the right present for Mum made me feel ……………………… .
d) I spent two hours looking for a present for my Dad. After coming home I was absolutely ……………………… .
e) It was ……………………… to find out what my brother wanted for Christmas: a book!

Miroslava Dubanová

Vocabulary: 1 rozpočet; 2 túlať sa – toulat se; 3 vopred – předem; 4 váhať – váhat; 5 vyhýbať sa – vyhýbat se; 6 potešiť – potěšit