It’s that time of year when we suddenly forget what our friends and loved ones enjoy. Somehow, every detail you’ve picked up over the course of the year about what gift to get them has fled your mind. Next thing you know, it’s almost time for the gift exchange, and you’re frantically searching the shelves at Macy’s for a pre-packaged gift set. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to improve your gift-giving skills by simply thinking deeper about who you’re buying for and your reason for getting them a gift in the first place.
The seemingly most obvious way to give better gifts is thinking beyond what someone tells you they want. Instead of taking what they say at face value, think of things that relate to or supplement what they told you they wanted. If they say they want a book, buy or make them some cool bookmarks to go with it. You can still get them what they want while showing that you put extra effort and thought into the gift. This also makes the gift more personalized to the recipient.
Another way to become better at gift-giving is to observe what the person you’re buying for typically mentions when you’re together. This means paying attention to random stuff they bring up as you’re watching a movie or things they pick up and show you while you’re shopping. Although these usually seem like passing comments and don’t warrant much attention, they can be used as hints for what to get them (listen for “I want…” or “I love…” phrases!). Chances are they’ll forget they even brought it up and will be pleasantly surprised upon opening the gift.
You can also think about what they seem to be missing from their lives. Some of the best gifts are ones you never knew you needed. For example, if you can tell that they’re pretty forgetful, a planner might be useful for them. This way they get something useful and know that you noticed some smaller detail about them. Doing this also provides some intention behind the gift and increases the likelihood of it being used in some way.
Finally, it’s really important to avoid buying stuff just for the sake of buying it. As much as it may seem important to make sure you get a gift for everyone on your list, buying a gift without any meaning behind it can sometimes be as bad as not getting one at all. If you’re going to buy a gift for someone, make sure it’s given from the heart.
Hopefully these tips help you improve your gift giving during the holiday season and beyond.