Keep the Receipt

A few simple steps to avoid giving really bad gifts--and what to do when you get one

At the risk of being labeled whiny by my brother Joe, I would like to take this opportunity to whine about the Steak Lovers' Kit he sent for Christmas a few years back. It included a jar of sauce, four serrated knives, a cutting board and a pointy thing I later identified as a fork thermometer--but no steak.

In my family, this is what we call a classic. I come from a long line of bad-gift givers (no, Mom, I did not like the Dances with Wolves soundtrack), but even I was impressed by how effortlessly the Steak Lovers' Kit trumped...

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