The greatest gifts are not wrapped in paper but in love.
Gifting is an art. And even though many gifts are often not wrapped in fancy paper and ribbons, there's something so heartwarming about buying or receiving the perfect gift for or from a loved one.
But many people are not great with gifting and end up agonising about gift buying. Fear not, we've got you covered with these 10 amazing tips - whether you're bad at it or already pretty good.
1. Shop Early
Ironically, it’s a little too late for this tip but seriously, try it next year. By early, I mean January-to-October type early. Most people start their Christmas shopping in November, which makes sense because of the Black Friday deals. But guess what? There are millions of people doing the same as you so it’s get a little tricky and stressful. That item you thought would make a perfect gift can sell out in a few minutes and you are screwed. I find Black Friday shopping very exhausting and over the years, I have become very uninterested in physically going to a store on Black Friday. I recommend not necessarily waiting until Black Friday to start your Christmas shopping – maybe for one or two people but the key to amazing gifts is be on the lookout early enough in the year. When you’re randomly in the store and see an item you think makes a great gift for a loved one, purchase it. It takes the pressure off you a couple of months down the line.
2. Consider Online Exclusives!
Here’s the beauty of online exclusives - you are not going to find it in the store so they make somewhat unique gift ideas because not a lot of people have it. The sad bit?, they sell out fast! I do a lot of online “window” shopping and I promise you, some of the best things I find (mostly clothing) are online exclusives. They are typically not any more expensive than the prices in-store but for whatever reason, they are sold online only. When you’re bored, do some window shopping online, save it in your cart and if you’re like me, stalk the site for sales. If you’re lucky, you might be able to purchase the item at a fraction of the price. If you don’t mind purchasing at full price, I’d say buy it and keep it until that birthday or Christmas.
3. Pay Attention to your People’s Compliments
When loved ones compliment you continuously on certain pieces of your wardrobe or anything you own, a bell should go off in your head (at least, it usually goes off in mine) that it makes a great gift for that friend. The key phrase here is “for that friend". While it might also make a great gift for someone else, you don’t know that for sure. However, you are almost a 100% confident in knowing that the 'complimenter' would be over the moon to receive that item as a gift.
4. Start Unsuspecting Conversations
I recently purchased a couple of art prints for a friend. I always knew she loved that particular brand and wanted some art prints for a while so I knew it would make a great gift. What I needed to figure out was which prints in particular she would love. I had some ideas but I wanted to be sure, so of course I randomly started conversations with her about how I’d been wanting to purchase some of those prints for myself and wished they would have sales. Of course she fell right into my trap and talked about prints she had been gushing over. She called me a couple of weeks after her birthday and said “So I just checked my mailbox and saw some art prints and I know that could have only come from you” My job there was done.
5. Before Returning That Item, Consider Gifting it!
So we had a girls trip to the Bahamas in May for a friend’s birthday and I had to do some shopping to get beach ready. I found this amazing one-piece swim suit online so I ordered it - sadly, it didn’t fit properly. Meanwhile, it was my friend’s 25th birthday and the reason we were all going on vacation. She was super excited about this trip and seemed to be most excited about the pristine beaches she had only heard of. So instead of returning the swim suit, I decided it would make a perfect birthday gift for her and trust me, it did. I mean if I can’t look great in it, at least my friend can. So before returning that item you didn’t really like, or that duplicate dress that didn’t fit well because you weren’t too sure of your size, pause for a moment and think about who on your family or friend list would appreciate receiving it as a gift. It saves you time and return shipping fees anyway.
6. Buy Things People Need
I can’t even stress this enough. Let me share a story with you guys. So I have been wanting to change my pillows for over 6 months now because it had flattened out and quite frankly, gave me neck pains. You would think a trip to Target or Walmart or even online shopping wouldn’t be that difficult. It just never happened, for whatever reason. There are certain things that we know we NEED but we don’t bother with them because our lives can go on just fine without them. Long story short, I received these succulent pillows in the mail and knew it had to have come from only one person. I mean, who else knew I so desperately needed new pillows? Though it may seem like such a basic gift, I was literally beaming with joy when I received an unexpected delivery of pillows. So guys, find out what basic item (or not) your friend really needs but somehow still haven’t purchased. Trust me when I say it would be greatly appreciated.
7. Gifting Should Not Feel Like An Obligation
When I don’t feel like buying a birthday /Christmas gift for whatever reason, I don’t. This is pretty simple – if you’re buying birthday /Christmas gifts just because you did it last year, searching for the perfect gift would feel like a chore and it shouldn’t have to. I find that when you gift because you feel obligated, you end up giving such lacklustre gifts – knowingly or unknowingly.
8. Know Your Friend
Find out where they like to eat, what new places they want to visit, what new (or old) activities they would like to try or repeat, how they like to dress. I bought a gift for a friend solely based on how I perceived he liked to dress. I knew it was a hit when I received a text saying “I am just checking my mailbox. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT” This year, I wanted to do a lot of activities, some for the first time. Ice skating, swimming (still don’t know how to swim), kayaking, rock climbing, hiking to name a few. I know I would have loved to receive a surprise that involved any of these activities where all I had to do was show up and have fun. Gifts don’t necessarily have to be material things. So find out what exciting activities they want to try, what new restaurant they want to try out, plan that activity and invite them out with a few friends and let them just show up and have a good time.
9. Promotional / Discount Websites are amazing
I feel like a lot of times when people look for gift ideas, they typically think of things you can physically hold on to. It doesn’t have to be. Try using LivingSocial, Groupon, DealDey or any other promotional website for gift ideas - it’s super convenient really. Go on the websites and narrow your search by your recipient’s location. You don’t want to make the mistake of purchasing a deal in a different city than they live, or one that would be an inconvenience for them to redeem. Once you have narrowed your search, just scroll through to get ideas. There are tons of promotional offers on any of these sites as well as various categories such as restaurants, events & activities, sports & fitness, health & beauty - limit your search by your interest. I find myself purchasing deals on these sites for myself quite often so why not do the same for a loved one? The great thing about promotional sites is, the offers are cheaper than you would typically pay so everybody wins. Just be sure to have them redeem the coupon before the promotional offer expires!
10. Stalking is Allowed
I think gifting has become so much easier since the advent of social media. Stalk their social media - check out their mood boards, wish lists, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, liketoknow.it. Find out what they are currently crushing on – you would be surprised how much information you would find on their social media. Your friend may randomly post a tweet on how she really wants to go to a spinning class or would really love that pair of sunglasses. Find out what blogger’s post they are oohing and aahing over and you just might be able to genuinely surprise them. Be stealth in your approach – it’s for a good reason.
I know it’s the thought that counts really, but there is a different level of excitement/satisfaction you feel when you know you succeeded in giving the perfect gift to a loved one. You don’t have to break the bank when gifting. I typically have a budget (often low) when buying a gift for a friend. Who says you can’t get quality for an affordable price?
These are the tips I have found very helpful over the years. So what are your tips for getting the perfect gifts for your loved ones? What are some of the favourite gifts you’ve given or received? I’d love to hear from you guys.
Love and light!
So this was a guest post sent in by the amazing Ebzz, which came about via a Twitter conversation.
I love it so much and it feels like I could have written it myself - such a perfect fit for the blog. On number 9, I recently purchased a 'Dinner for 2' voucher and totally forgot about it till on day before it expired! I was so thankful I remembered.
Do you buy gifts often for friends? Share your tips. Not a great gifter? Tell us the most difficult bit for you.
Please leave Ebzz a comment (as I've bullied her to write something else for us soon!)... and don't forget to share the post!