Choosing the right gift for Christmas, a holiday, or birthday can be a challenge, and we all have people on our shopping list who are impossible to buy presents for. With a little ingenuity and creativity, however, shopping for the right gift doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. Here are tips for finding the perfect gift:
Just observing someone in their daily life can yield lots of hints for selecting the perfect present. Is there something they need for their house, for a pet, or for their car? Has a favorite electronic device broken recently? Is there something they always stop to look at when out shopping? Filling a need can be a simple way to select an excellent and much-appreciated gift.
Get Something They Don’t Know About
One of the best rules I ever heard for gift-giving was that you should get something the recipient will use, but wouldn’t buy for themselves. One of the best ways to do this is to buy something they don’t know about, but would love if they did. Everyone sees what the mall and big box stores have to offer, but there’s a whole world of unique gifts available online. Try The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild for a literary or philosophical buff; Etsy is a one-stop shop for a variety of handmade and creative gifts, and Cafe Press has the most unique and extensive collection of shirts, mugs, and other useful items I’ve ever seen. Spending just a few minutes on a new website may help you come up with a dozen ideas you’d never thought of. Further, shopping online is usually significantly cheaper and less stressful than shopping in stores.
Check Favorite Retailers
Many people have a favorite store or website, and with the advent of online wishlists, you can see what people want. Check your loved one’s favorite websites to see what’s on their wishlist. You don’t have to buy something on the wishlist either; instead, you can use the wishlist function on Amazon to see other recommended or similar items. And on Etsy, you can see what other items sellers who’ve made it to a wishlist have in their store. This way, you’re guaranteed to get the person something they like that will still be a surprise.
Almost everyone has a treasured pasttime, a political passion, or a charity they love. Look for gifts geared toward major themes in the recipient’s life. Consider buying supplies for a hobby or, if someone has wanted to start a new hobby (like a musical instrument), consider getting them the necessary supplies to get started. T-shirts, funny bumper stickers, and mugs are great choices for the political aficionado, and a gift that benefits a favorite charity is also an excellent choice.
Don’t Shop For Yourself
Many of us make the mistake of shopping for ourselves when we’re looking for a gift for someone else. We’ll also often eliminate potentially good gifts because we can’t imagine how the other person could like them! Put yourself in the frame of mind of the gift recipient, and even if they’d love something you hate, get it anyway.
Write Down Ideas
We’ve all had the experiencing of thinking of the perfect gift only to subsequently forget it. Write down your gift ideas for a week or so without committing to anything. Then pare down your list and make a plan for buying the presents.
Personalized nametags and door hangers are way overdone, but there are personalized gifts that can still be excellent choices. Consider turning a favorite photo into a mug, tie, or even boxers. Snapfish will let you turn a photo into almost anything imaginable, and also offers beautiful personalized photo albums filled with your photos. These are great gifts for parents, grandparents, etc. For the woman in your life, Design Her Gals is a surefire bet. The site features numerous avatars that can be personalized to look like a particular woman and then put onto personalized stationery, mugs, business cards, or calendars. Zazzle allows you to personalize an infinite array of office supplies including stickers, business cards, binders, notebooks, and journals. People love having something that’s just theirs, and gifts like these can make the daily grind just a bit brighter.
Shopping for the perfect gift doesn’t have to be an impossible task this holiday season. With a little advanced planning and creativity, you can rest easy knowing you’ve gotten the perfect gift for everyone on your list.