Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Ridiculously Easy Peasy Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

CC image courtesy of JD Hancock (CC BY 2.0)

Hey folks! It's crazy that Thanksgiving has already passed this year! Of course, this means that everyone is now busying themselves for the holiday season - trimming the trees, decking the halls, and, many of us, panicking in crowded stores to find that perfect gift for every single family member on your list, and then trying to find it for the best price.

Unfortunately, we can't all be the family-labeled gift-giving guru that I am. (Okay, so maybe my step-sister said I was great at picking out gifts one time...) Plus, some people are just plain hard to shop for, you can't always trust the typical "gifts for him" lists, and don't we all want to go the extra mile to find that something special for the person we love? No matter the difficulty level of your someone special, in this post I intend to help you brainstorm a bajillion ideas for even those incredibly hard-to-buy-for folks, no matter what your price range may be!

All you'll need is a notebook and pencil or a word processor handy to take down your ideas. Have you got them? Great! Now you'll have to answer a few questions about your recipient to get the ball rolling, and be sure to take down any ideas you may have along the way. Here we go!

What are the recipient's hobbies? Consider not only what the person enjoys doing, but also what they may find themselves doing frequently for work. From there, consider a gift to compliment the recipient's hobby. If you don't know enough about the hobby to decide on something specific, a gift card, as long as it's from a relevant store to that person's interests, (i.e. craft stores, sporting goods, video game stores, hobby shops - you get the idea) it will be very much appreciated.

What music, movies, TV, or sports team does the person enjoy? Some people have very specific interests, and that can make your job super easy! I'm not saying to exploit any little TV show or band that you've heard the person likes, but if you know that your recipient is an absolute die-hard fan of something, then by all means spoil them with merchandise! If you can combine this sort of an idea with an item that you know the person needs or will use, then you win at gift-giving twice!

How can you create memories with the person? If you are struggling to find the perfect gift for someone, then perhaps you could use a little more one-on-one time with them. You can do this by taking them somewhere: a movie, a restaurant, a Broadway show, theme park, shopping trip, or renaissance faire. You could also buy them something you can enjoy together, such as a board game, movie, or video game.

What's missing from the recipient's life? When it comes right down to it, a creative gift can easily be trumped by a thoughtful gift with function. Last year I noticed that my mom was using Tupperware containers to store her salt and sugar, so I got her some cute kitchen containers filled with her favorite candy. My smelly hippie brothers are probably getting some all-natural soaps this year. (I hope they don't read this!) I'm just saying - find something that the person desperately needs but maybe doesn't know it yet.

What is the person's favorite food, candy, or restaurant? A meal is always a thoughtful gift, whether you are enjoying it with someone special or gifting it to someone to share with their significant other, but going the restaurant gift card route can fall flat on the creativity scale if you're not careful. Another great way to incorporate this idea is to buy the recipient a creative and useful container and fill it with their favorite candy, like I mentioned before.

What makes this person laugh? Some of the best gifts are bought with the intention of laughing at with the recipient. My aforementioned soap idea may work for someone who you've previously joked with about personal hygiene, but just be sure to consider whether or not your funny gift idea conveys the message you want to send and isn't just done in avarice.

If you're still unsure of what to buy, then get your pencil ready - it's serious list-making time. Take a moment to peel yourself away from the internet and really think about the person that you're buying for. Think about all the little things that they enjoy, all the things that remind you of them, and write down every little thought. At this point, they don't even have to be gift ideas. If the person likes coffee, write it down. If the person loves reading, drawing, or using Pinterest, write it down. If there's a song that reminds you of them, write it down. If the person wears ties, gauged earrings, colorful socks, ugly sweaters, or bowling shoes - by all means, write it down! Once you're done, read your list and consider how you can use it to develop new gift ideas. A coffee-drinker might enjoy a new travel mug, coffee flavor, or coffee-maker. Someone who reads may enjoy anything from a handmade bookmark to a new Kindle. Try to expand on every list item!

Finally, remember that one of the best parts of receiving a gift is getting to open it! Be sure to make your present look super-enticing by wrapping it neatly and creatively! (I like to consider the recipient's personality in choosing between wrapping papers.) The unwrapping process can even make a series of small gifts seem like a Christmassy plethora of presents and joy!

I hope I've been able to help guide you through my gift-giving process and given you plenty of ideas for holiday gifts this year! Please let me know in the comments if you have any surefire present-picking methods. If you've found this post helpful, be sure to share it using the social media buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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