I like to think that I'm good at choosing gifts for people. If I don't come up with the right gift for you on your actual birthday (and we're the sort of friends where gift giving is the norm), then you will receive your gift at some point within that birthday year. Always. And it will usually be quite good. Now, while I cannot pass that desirable quality along to you - I can tell you what gift not to give anyone, ever...
Lottery tickets. Or scratch cards. OF ANY KIND.
Why? So many reasons.
1. You would never buy a bag of Doritos or a pack of cigarettes as a present for anyone (hopefully, God, you wouldn't), so you should be human enough to know that something bought at a cashier's register is not a gift.
2. In doing this, I know for a fact that you thought about what my "gift" would be about three seconds after you left your front door to come see me... WHICH IS WEAK.
3. Not only are you not giving an object or experience or smile or even a goddam HUG as a gift - you're giving me the CHANCE of winning a lot of money?! Wow. Just wow. Gonna aim to remember that sentiment forever, bud.
4. I may be wrong here, but don't the people who buy and enjoy scratch cards LIKE picking out the cards themselves? Like, for luck or whatever? So even if someone LIKES this awful gift, you're still taking the fun out of letting them CHOOSE the damn card/s themselves. Wonderful.
5. If, infact, you DO give this as a gift - it can only go two bloody ways:
The ticket loses. And thus, you have given someone trash as a birthday gift. Just a worthless piece of garbage.
The ticket wins. And then what? What the hell is the etiquette there? Do I get to keep all of the money? I didn't buy the ticket, I didn't even ask for the ticket. But surely there's some kind of unwritten code here. If I win $5, does that mean I get the whole $5? What if it's for $5000? If someone gave me a lottery ticket or scratch game and it won $5000, I would have to be the most impolite cretin alive to not give that "gift-giver" at least a percentage of my winnings. But what percentage?! We haven't agreed on anything upfront! How the hell am I supposed to decide what amount is appropriate?! You are making my life miserable by making me answer these questions. And I don't care how nice a person this gift-giver is, they are for sure gonna resent the hell out of me winning that money. So great, now I have an enemy. DO YOU SEE WHAT A BAD IDEA THIS WAS?! Nobody should be put through all of this.
Anyway, worst gift idea ever. Even as a stocking stuffing. Hate it so much. PUT MORE THOUGHT INTO GIFTS, EVERYONE.
(Sidenote: What are appropriate stocking stuffers? Fucking apples, oranges, a bite-sized Snickers and maybe a few Kool-Aid packets. Always hated those damn kids who got fucking CDs in their damn stockings. CDS ARE PROPER GIFTS.)