We all know that thing about how Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but sometimes it can also be the most horrible time of the year because we are pressured to find gifts that other people will like.
And, that is harder than it sounds.
This is the ultimate guide to finding the perfect gift for anyone and everyone.
1. Make the present an event. Get creative with the packaging! Rather than just handing them a gift in regular wrapping paper, think of the gifting experience as an event and you want to make sure they enjoy it. Hide his gift and send him on a scavenger hunt to find it.
2. Now, literally give an experience. She loves the Broadway play, Les Mis, but already has the book and the movie and the movie poster? Buy her tickets to see the show. One of my all-time favourite gifts I’ve seen was a step-by-step mystery guide that sent the giftee to a restaurant, bought him a Flying Spaghetti Monster dinner, and paid for him and his date to play at the arcade.
3. Make a list of all the things the person is interested in
Make this list long—spend at least two full minutes writing down as many things as you can. Now brainstorm something to go with every item on that list, small or big. You don’t have to give all of those gifts, but you’re going to hit on some cool ideas.
4. Look to the past. Maybe someone on your list recently graduated from college, and you could frame his diploma for display. One of our gift exchange participants received a painting of her dog that had died the year before. Let them relive their childhood. One participant, whose brother had sold his Nintendo 64, received another one.
5. Ask yourself what that person needs. The key is to think broader. There are tons of products out there to help people run their lives more efficiently. You could even ask other people you know what their pro tips are. Have a sister in nursing school? Put together a student nurse survival kit! Thinking on a more general level will help you get outside your regular, narrower view of that person.
6. Include a little bit of yourself. Bake some cookies or brownies, create a piece of art, write a song, or crochet an afghan and give those away.
7. Make them laugh. Don’t just give a Kindle. Give your crazy liberal friend a Kindle hidden inside a copy of Sarah Palin’s autobiography. Know someone who loves potatoes? Give her 22 pounds of them. Your brother-in-law hates peas? Give him a case of canned peas.
9. Be charitable. There are a lot of other people out there who don’t have everything they need. Find something they’re passionate about, and then donate to that cause. Did she volunteer in Haiti? Donate to the charity she went over there with. Is he a dog lover? Donate to an animal rescue.
Keep your budget in mind, but focus on the person who the gift is for. Giving expensive things is not always the key to a successful Xmas gift. Put some thought into it and it is easier than you may think.