It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is fast approaching and you are going to need to start thinking about who you need to buy for and how on earth you are going to come up with thoughtful ideas for everyone. Gift giving can become arbitrary and insincere if you are just going through the motions of gift buying and giving without much thought towards making the recipient feel valued and appreciated. All that being said thoughtful gift giving can take a lot of time and resources.
We’ve come up with a few simple ideas that will help transform your approach to gift giving:
1. Start picking up hints early
Don’t wait until the day before their birthday or two weeks before Christmas to start frantically asking their friends and family for ideas. When you talk to the gift recipient listen for clues as to the type of present they would appreciate. Keeping a gift idea notebook is a great resource for those of us who struggle for inspiration at the last minute but want to make their gift-giving meaningful for the recipient.
Things you might want to listen out for are hobbies, books they are reading, what wine, beer or spirits that drink, are they a tea or coffee person and do they have any intolerance or allergies. This will help you avoid gift-giving duds and disasters.
2. Do your research
These days we have a wealth of information at our fingertips so you have the opportunity to rely on the experiences of others to inform your choices. Take the trial and error out shopping with sites including The Toy Report that give detailed information to help consumers make well-informed choices and avoid gift disasters. By taking a few extra minutes you can ensure that you do not buy a gift that is going to fall apart as soon as it is taken out of the packaging, or worse be dangerously defective.
3. Add a personal touch with a card
Even if you don’t have the resources or time to shop individually for gift recipients like clients, cousins twice removed and work colleagues, taking the time to hand write a thoughtful personalized message a card is a great way to add warmth and sincerity to a gift. For example, you might be buying everyone in the office a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine or some other relatively generic catch-all gift.
By including a handwritten card you show that you have thought about them as an individual person worthy of time and consideration. It’s a very simple step that can have a tremendous impact.
4. Give the Gift of Nature
Plants can be a great gift for just about anyone. Plants are varied, versatile and very aesthetically pleasing. For those without green thumbs, a cactus or succulent is hardy enough to survive most circumstances, for a seasoned gardener you could buy something more advanced like an orchid. If the gift recipient is environmentally minded and edible plant like herbs, fruit trees or advanced vegetable plants are a great way to provide them with a sustainable gift. Little kids will love a kid-friendly gardening gift such as mixed bulbs, sunflower seeds or strawberry plants that are easy to grow and care for whilst teaching them about plants and their environment.
5. Books and Bookish Gifts
Books, audiobooks, magazine subscriptions and ebooks can be tailored to suit just about any set of interests, hobbies and tastes. If your recipient isn’t much of a reader, a coffee table book with beautiful pictures or an adult coloring book might be a great idea. Audiobooks are particularly handy for those who like to get lost in a great story but are too busy to make the time to sit and read a physical book, but a lot of people still love the look, feel and tactile experience of a good book.
Magazine subscriptions are a great idea for teenagers and bestsellers or novelty books are great for people you know who read, but you are not as familiar with their interests.
6. Made for Them
Personalizing gifts with names and initials is now more affordable than ever and you can order the same gift for a variety of people but it will be made particularly special and personal. Whether you go for a mug, a bag, a keychain or any other number of options the import thing to remember is not to go overboard with flamboyant fonts and excessive detail. A simple approach to these personalized gifts gives them an adaptable quality that will suit more tastes and styles.
You can also use photos for personalization but it is important to remember that most people will not want a huge picture of their face or their name on a t-shirt. Think home and accessory gifts rather than clothing.
7. Think Edible, Think Local
In a season when you will be bombarded with food and drink it might seem counterintuitive to add more food or drink to the pile but provided you follow certain practical guidelines then an edible present may be a tasty thoughtful treat. The first thing to think about is longevity, as wonderful as homemade biscuits and seasonal produce are it’s important to give something that could last into the new year if the recipient is unable to eat or drink it over the holiday season.
Preserves are great like jams and relishes, confectionery has a pretty good shelf life and so do some savoury snacks like nuts. The second thing to think about is what you can do to make it special, and for that, I would suggest going for local produce that isn’t typically available in chain stores. Not only are you patronising local business but you are giving the recipient something unique and memorable.
Whilst the holiday period is so busy it’s important to take the time to let the people in your life know you appreciate them. Gift giving is such a rewarding experience and it shouldn’t be a source of tremendous stress. Making your gifts memorable with minimal fuss with a little planning can make the experience more pleasurable for you and give your gifts a flair and sincerity that those last minute gifts lack. By just adding a few little touches or doing a little preliminary research you can give a gift that is memorable and enjoyable this holiday season.