‘Tis the season for stressing? No need. The holidays are a busy time, but it doesn’t have to be exhausting and anxiety-ridden. We get tips from the experts on how to gift your dear ones something they’ll love – and maybe even have some fun in the process.
Make It Easy: Plan And Listen For Clues
“Studies have shown that the gift-giver is way more judgmental about the gift than the receiver. Let’s face it, we all like to get gifts no matter who we are, so there’s no need to stress out! With that said, thoughtful gifts are a sign that you care about the relationship and anyone can become a gift-giving expert by keeping a few key ideas in mind: First, plan ahead. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays come at the same time every year. By keeping important people in mind throughout the year, you’re bound to come across a great gift for them at some point. Buy it and store it for the next gift-giving occasion.
Listen! Listen when your best friend says she really loves sea turtles, your wife says that someday she’s going to buy that beautiful Hermes scarf, or your boss is a huge Dodgers fan.
“Next: Listen! Listen when your best friend says she really loves sea turtles, your wife says that someday she’s going to buy that beautiful Hermes scarf, or your boss is a huge Dodgers fan. Write it down or record it on your phone. Those are all gift-giving clues to the trained gift expert’s ears. When the birthday/anniversary/holiday comes around, you’ll have a ready-made list tailored to each person. Finally, always have on hand a collection of items like wine, gift cards and specialty candy for those last-minute gifts.”
Make It Personal: Take Yourself As A Starting Point
Dana Holmes, Executive Editor of giftadvisor.com
“Do yourself a favour and forget what you know about gift shopping. Go with something easier: yourself! This is the ‘all about me’ era, so it only makes sense that it’s infiltrating gift-giving. I honestly believe that it’s for the better. Here’s how.
“Everyone has a unique gift-giving personality based on their own passions and repertoire. Sit back and think about what kinds of things you could do again and again. What do you love buying or can’t live without? Always start there. Then consider who you’re shopping for and what you can share with them. Why?
– It’s more fun to shop for things you know and love.
– People will feel closer to you because you gave something personal.
– You know the good stuff when you do this, so you won’t give junk.
– Sharing brings with it a story and opportunity for communication.
Everyone has a unique gift-giving personality based on their own passions and repertoire. Sit back and think about what kinds of things you could do again and again. What do you love buying or can’t live without? Always start there.
“Are you a practical type? Then please don’t try to give something cool. Give a practical gift; something that you swear by that you know will be useful to them, too. Just had the best cheesecake of your life? Get one for everyone on your list! You get the idea. And yes, you can even apply this to kids. If you love to cook, get the little ones kid-friendly culinary gear. Sentimental? Share something that you thought was super cool when you were their age.”
“Share your uniqueness with the people you care about, and you will be rewarded with a more fulfilling holiday season. But always make sure that what you give is exchangeable, unless it’s edible. You can’t always give the perfect gift, but you can always have fun sharing! Happy gifting!”
Make It Memorable: Give A Gift Box
Jessica Salceda, gift box curator, product designer & girl boss of J. Isabel Designs
“The best gift will be something that lets the person know that you purchased or made the gift with them in mind, and it will be memorable. When selecting a memorable gift there are a few things to consider: One, do they have any favourite treats, a favourite TV show, or a favourite hobby? Relating a gift to something relevant and often important in their life is a great way to ensure you will give an awesome gift that they will love!
A gift box is the perfect way to make an impression. You can take a box of any sort and fill it with items that represent the recipient’s favourite things.
“A gift box is the perfect way to make an impression. You can take a box of any sort and fill it with items that represent the recipient’s favourite things. Got a sister with a sweet tooth? Put together a hot-chocolate-themed box with some hot cocoa, a bag of marshmallows, a cute mug and add her favourite sweet treat like a Hershey’s chocolate bar. Tie a ribbon around it and you’ve got a great gift. How about your mother-in-law? Can’t go wrong with a spa-themed box! A few items to treat herself – plus her favourite wine – shows you put in some effort to customise the gift just for her.
“A gift box personalised with the person in mind is more unique than just a card grabbed on the way out of the checkout line, it’s more thoughtful than a tin of cookies, and more special than a gift card. A little effort goes a long way, and your loved ones will appreciate the time spent making them feel extra special!”
Make It Fun: Plan Your Shopping Day
Christina Kaiser, London-based gift expert of gifting service MyGiulia
“Plan your shopping day like a sightseeing tour, with places you want to go and things you want to do in between. Tune in to a Christmas playlist to get in the mood on your journey there, decide where you want to get lunch – and don’t forget to plan some time to treat yourself in between, as this will make the day much more enjoyable.
“Away from the hustle & bustle of high street shops, I can always find the perfect purchase to surprise with something unique hiding amongst the gift shop of a museum or gallery. Hidden gems of eclectic gifts to explore, they are relaxed and contemporary, well-curated shopping destinations. Don’t forget to plan an extra hour so you can check out the latest exhibition!”
Plan your shopping day like a sightseeing tour, with places you want to go and things you want to do in between.
“Next stop could be a cosy local book shop. Use the time to have a well-earned sit down (with a hot chocolate or coffee) and to look through the recent book releases. I like to choose something new to read on my shelf, and at the same time I can buy a selection of books for my niece and nephew: fun yet educational gifts.
“Book a manicure or massage for the end of the day – you deserve the break, and most spas have fabulous gift corners stocked full of high-end beauty products that serve as inspiration in case you’ve missed anything for your sister or best friend. When all is said and done, you’ve had fun and you have bags full of Christmas presents you can’t wait to give to your friends and family.”
The world is becoming increasingly dominated by chain stores... break the mould, #giftlikeaboss and support small!
Make It Count: Shop Small
Laura of Sageloves.co.uk, a personalised gift finding service
“‘When you buy from a small business an actual person does a happy dance’”…that’s why my ultimate tip is to shop small. Are you looking for something heartfelt and unique? Want that personal touch? Then what could be better than gifting the one you love with something that’s been made specifically for them by someone in your community? It’s a win-win! The world is becoming increasingly dominated by chain stores… break the mould, #giftlikeaboss and support small!”
Make It Meaningful: Convey An Emotion
Hera Qasim-Haroon Of Gifting Studio Kagaz Designs
“At Kagaz Designs, we feel that gifting is intrinsic to who we are as human beings. Whether it is a feeling of being loved, being in someone’s thoughts, a sense of whimsy, fun or pure opulent pampering luxury – the gift you pick should always convey some form of emotion or feeling. Add something personalised, or include a handwritten note for a personal and heartfelt touch.
“Also consider the impact your gifts have on artisans, makers and the planet. Our gift boxes are designed to impress, but they are also recyclable or reusable, and we encourage the purchaser to reuse the box or keep it as a memory box for the future. The items inside are paired together to form a cohesive, visually attractive and well-thought-out gesture rather than wasteful single-use products. We champion the hashtag #conscientiousgifting because we are truly passionate about it.”
Make It Well-Rounded: Remember The Rule Of Three
Kristin Fisher Of Gift Service BOCU
“While preparing the launch of BOCU, we’ve learned so much about how, why and what people gift. Here are our 3 biggest tips on how to be the best gift-giver:
1. Really think about WHO you are giving to. Take a minute to make some observations about who you are buying for. What do they tend to gift others? What have they been posting about on social media, talking about when you catch up, etc.? Paying a little attention to what they are currently into can give you some insights into a gift that will be extra loved by them.
The best gift-givers pay attention to the detail – a satin ribbon or a bit of fresh evergreen will take your gift to the next level.
2. Three is the magic number! More often than not, people gift three items, and it’s easy to understand why. Your gift will have a clear “theme”, and will feel both balanced and more robust (even if you aren’t spending a ton!). Focus on finding items that are a mix of price points and which complement one another.
3. Last but not least: Make. It. Pretty! We are ALL about gift-wrapping at Bocu. We hand-wrap each item because we believe that packaging is just as important as the gift itself. The best gift-givers pay attention to the detail – a satin ribbon or a bit of fresh evergreen will take your gift to the next level.”
Make It Thoughtful: Forget The Price Tag
Daniel Wiener, Gift Planner and Co-Founder of giftbeta.com
“As an expert in gift planning, it’s my job every year to help take the stress away from thousands of people who are frantically trying to find that perfect gift for their loved ones. Gift-giving should not – I repeat – not ever be stressful. In fact, this should be a fun experience! Three of the top reasons people get stressed are: 1) procrastination, 2) acceptance and 3) money. Fortunately, all of these are easy to overcome:
1. Get a head-start to your gift shopping and don’t wait until the last minute! It’s best to start brainstorming ideas and create a list at least one to two months in advance.
2. Thought is the only thing that matters when it comes to gift-giving. It doesn’t matter if the gift is $1,000 or free to make. Your recipient will love it regardless.
3. As the saying goes, “money can’t buy happiness”. This couldn’t be more true with gifting. Stick to something that is meaningful and will create long-lasting memories. Usually, these types of gifts cost close to nothing!”
Make It Encouraging: Be Attentive
Jyoti Jain Of Gift Blog thegiftadviser.com
“The best way to find the perfect gift for someone is to be a little attentive, look out for things that they always desired or wished for, or simply small things that can make their everyday life easier.
“Maybe giving someone the gift of their dreams isn’t possible for you at this moment, but don’t let that thought scare you – remember that other small things in life make a big difference. Think of something that they love, and consider how your gift can remind them about it, or encourage them to take a step towards achieving it. For example, gift someone who loves to travel a special box to collect travel funds, calling it “Your Adventure Fund’, or big map where they can mark all countries they plan to travel. These gifts will not only keep the recipient inspired, but remind them of you every time they think of their favourite thing.”
“I believe the idea of gifting is not merely about getting a present, but about making someone feel loved. It’s a way of making them smile and letting them know they are special. It’s not what you give, but how you give – and the thought behind the gift – that matters.”