If you find buying gifts to be a challenging chore, the chances are that you are terrible at giving gifts too. You’re probably often stuck for ideas, and even when you do come up with a spectacular gift idea, you get the execution slightly wrong.
Sorry if that makes you feel even more anxious about gift shopping during the holiday season, but research says that giving a bad gift can hurt your relationship with the receiver. So, since you don’t want your gifts to cause more harm than good and hurt your relationships with your loved ones, you may want to get a tiny bit better at buying presents.
Here are 7 great strategies for how to pick gifts and put smiles on your loved ones’ faces.
1. Just ask what they need
Yes, you’re going to spoil the surprise if you ask the person what gift they want ( and you might also put yourself in the position to buy a gift that is way over your budget), but at least you’ll know for sure that you won’t get it wrong.
“Oh, I don’t need anything”, they’ll say. But you know that’s not true. There’s always something they want if they don’t need anything. So, keep asking them what they want for a gift, and if you’re lucky enough, they’ll share with you exactly what gift they want, plus some extra tips on where you can find it.
Now, be careful with this strategy as it can be perceived as really impersonal and take all the romance out. So, only apply it when it comes to people who are aware that they are very picky with their things and don’t mind sharing with you exactly what they want to make sure you don’t screw their gift up.
2. Give problem-solvers
Ever thought about that fact that happiness comes from removing negatives not from adding positives? Hang in there, we’ll explain this to you.
Buying something nice for the receiver is going to make them happy, but buying something that will solve a specific problem they are struggling with will have long-term positive effects in their lives. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve heard the receiver complaining about their glitchy or broken phone a lot lately. Buying a new phone for the receiver may be a great present as it solves their problem.
Or, for example, if they complain about back pain, you can get them a session with a physical therapist or a day at the spa.
No matter what the receiver complains about, there’s usually something that can solve or improve their problem. If you can figure out what that is, go for it, and you’ll give them a wonderful gift.
3. Spy on their wish lists
If you have access to the receiver’s shopping accounts, take a sneak peek at the things they added to their wish list or shopping cart but never bought.
You don’t have to give precisely those things they’ve added to their wish list, but it’s a great start to get an idea of what they want/ need and what type of products they would like to have.
If you don’t have access to take a sneak peek at the items they wish for, at least pay attention to what they are talking about. If the receiver wants explicitly, the chances are that they have mentioned it in one of your discussions. So, start paying more attention to what the receiver talks about in terms of things they want or need.
4. Give an experience
Is there anything you and the receiver would love to do together but never had the resources to do it? Let’s say a trip to a particular place? Or go bungee jumping? Or attend a concert of their favourite artist?
Now is the time you book a ticket to the experience or activity the receiver has always wanted to try but somehow never actually did it.
An experience can matter so much more than a physical gift that the receiver may use for some time. But objects get worn out eventually, and they often end up in the trash, whereas an experience will stay with the receiver forever.
Imagine having a conversation with the receiver years later, and they recall that moment when you took them to their favourite place or favourite activity. That will be nice, right? An experience it’s a gift that stays in the receiver’s memory longer than an object would.
5. Play it safe
Now, we’re not trying to support any type of gender stereotypes, but there are a few gifts out there that you can’t go wrong with. Every woman would love a flower bouquet nicely decorated with florist ribbon, and every man would love a leather wallet, for example.
Or, let’s say that you don’t know the receiver that well so it’s really difficult to figure out what they need or want. If that’s the case, a safe gift that you can’t go wrong with would be a gift card to a store that has almost anything anyone would want.
Everybody has a hobby these days with so many activities you can do. Your gift’s receiver may like painting, listening to music, reading or even have a less common hobby such as canoeing, bungee jumping, or soap carving.
Each of these hobbies involves some equipment, classes or additional tools. So, you can think of the receiver’s hobby and make their gift around the hobby they have.
7. Pro tip: Add a personal touch to all the gifts you buy
We are rarely aware of the fact that one of the elements that make a present more enjoyable is personalization. If you can craft the gift yourself instead of buying it, that’s great. The receiver will really appreciate your efforts. Yet, even if you can’t do that, don’t forget to add a wish card with a personalized message on it and your name.