I enjoy trying to find the perfect gift for an individual, so I’ve become fairly skilled at it. Some people are easy to buy for, because they collect something and will be thrilled with anything that fits in that collection. For most of us, though, it’s not so simple. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years for how to buy the perfect Christmas gift.
Only give items you are comfortable with. Sometimes I receive gift suggestions that I am not comfortable giving. I give gifts to the people I love, and if I love you I am not going to give you something I feel is not good for you, even if you ask for it. It is okay to choose to not provide the thing that has been requested. Do consider the person for whom you are buying, though – don’t just get them something because you like it or think it would be good for them. If you approach gift giving that way, you are giving for your sake, not theirs.
Focus on things you have in common with the person. What things do you both like? What things do you like you feel confident the recipient would also enjoy? What things do they like you think you could get into with them? It’s fun for both of you if you can connect over the gift. Consider the gift a way to deepen the bond between you. (Giving a handmade item is another way to do this, but it won’t be one of my points because I am not crafty.)
Look for gifts that create memories. Instead of giving an item, give an experience. This year we’ve asked for a family zoo membership, and another family has requested a state park pass. In my family we have often given the gift of concert or theatre tickets. An item can be wonderful, but an experience creates a memory. A couple of years ago Andy’s siblings got together and we purchased tickets for all the adults to see Bill Cosby as a family. We kids purchased our own tickets, and provided tickets to Andy’s parents as a gift. We also went out to dinner together that evening. Andy’s dad loves Bill Cosby, and that was a great memory-making experience for us. This year, rather than purchase birthday presents for each other, Andy and I have tickets to see Jim Gaffigan.
Look for nostalgic gifts. What stories does your loved one tell? What are memories you share? One of my favorite gifts I’ve ever given was to a friend, many years older than myself, who had told me in one of our lengthy conversations about a movie she used to love. She now had grandkids, and wished she could share that story with them, but she knew they didn’t make it anymore. Lover of online shopping that I am, I knew immediately I could find that movie for her. I got on eBay and found a used VHS tape. When I gave it to her, she cried. I think I enjoyed giving her that gift more than she enjoyed receiving it.
Give to a charity. If the recipient has absolutely everything they need, and giving an experience is not a good option for you (perhaps there’s nothing that fits, or perhaps it’s out of your price range right now), you might like to give to a charity in honor of your loved one. This can be the perfect gift, if you make it personal to the recipient. For example, I have a passion for orphans and underprivileged children. It would mean the most to me if someone were to donate to an organization that provides relief for mothers and babies or cares for children.
The most important part of choosing any gift is considering the recipient. I promise you, it doesn’t matter what you ultimately give or how much you spend, if it is obvious you were thinking of your loved one’s individuality when you chose their gift.