This post is contributed.
Do you panic when the holidays come around or does it take you hours of browsing to try and decide what to buy for birthdays or anniversaries? If you have a large family, or you have close friends who seem to have it all, it can be tricky to source great gifts every time. You may not have the time or the energy to trawl around stores, or you might find yourself buying the same items over and over again. If shopping for presents has become a chore, you’ve come to the right place. With this guide, you can hone your gift buying skills, and make sure you get it right every time.
Setting a budget
We all know that buying presents can get expensive, especially if you have a lot of people to cater for. Unless you’ve got a bottomless pot available for gifts, set a budget. This will enable you to cover the cost of shopping without overspending or leaving yourself short. Factor in additional costs like buying birthday presents when you do your monthly budget. If you’re worried about money being tight, get together with your siblings and discuss options that could help lower the cost. You could do a secret Santa at Christmas, for example, or set a budget per child if you have a lot of nephews or nieces. You can also ensure you get more for your money by shopping around for deals and making the most of coupons and discount codes.
Putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes
When you’re looking for inspiration for gift ideas, always remember that you’re not shopping for yourself. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes, think about what they like and how they spend their money, and opt for items or experiences that you know they would love. If you’re looking for a bag for your sister, for example, channel her style and taste, rather than searching for something that would be a perfect fit for your wardrobe.
Buying something with meaning
Sometimes, it’s great to look for presents that are fun, but often, we find ourselves in a situation where it’s preferable to buy something that has meaning. If your friend, sibling, parent or partner is celebrating a special landmark or milestone, you may be looking for something thoughtful, rather than a novelty item. If this brief sounds familiar, think about what is important to them. If your partner is passionate about their faith, for example, you could look at options like men’s Christian jewelry or a themed painting or printed passage they could hang on the wall. Consider what matters to them, and use this to source a gift that they will hold dear for years to come.
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Thinking outside of the box
Have you ever noticed that the aisles and shelves are stuffed with the same kinds of products every Christmas, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day? While lots of moms and dads may love perfume and aftershave, candles and socks and bubble bath and ties, sometimes, it pays to steer clear of cliches and be a little more imaginative. Material items make for fantastic gifts in many cases, but you don’t always have to buy something you can take off a shelf and cover in paper and ribbons. If you’re struggling to find that elusive perfect gift, why not think outside of the box and opt for something different to the norm? Experiences and memories are often a lot more special than products and goods. If you’ve got a sports fan, a music lover or a budding chef in the family, for example, why not treat them to tickets to a game, a gig or a food festival? Take your loved one’s hobbies and interests, and use them to find incredible presents. There’s a huge range of options out there from rally driving and wing-walking for thrill-seekers to beauty masterclasses and shopping sprees for glamor-pusses. Opting for original gifts will show your friends and family that you care, and there’s also a much lower risk of buying something they already own or duplicating gifts.
Most of us complain that we don’t have enough time. If you’re hoping to spoil somebody in the coming weeks or months, why not consider buying time? You may not be able to physically exchange cash for extra minutes in the day, but you can arrange gifts that enable your loved ones to make the most of the time they do have. Are you always saying that you don’t have enough time to see your parents, your brother or your cousins, has it been an age since you had a catch up with your best friend, or is your sister always busy? If so, use your planning skills to set up reunions and arrange trips, or offer your time as a gift. Book a weekend away with your closest friends, treat your mom to flights to come and visit you or give your sister a babysitting voucher so that she can enjoy a night off and some pampering.
Do you find it hard to come up with gift ideas? Do you often buy the same things for the same people? Are you looking for something extra special for a celebration? It’s not always easy to find inspiration, but there are rules you can follow to increase your chances of sourcing gifts that the people closest to you will love. Start by setting a budget to prevent overspending, and then think about what the recipient would like. Put your own interests to one side, and focus solely on your loved one. Use their interests, hobbies, beliefs and passions to find inspiration, and consider experiences, as well as tangible items. Often, spending time together or arranging something that will provide them with memories to cherish will mean a lot more than a bunch of flowers, a scented candle or a new shirt. There’s nothing wrong with tried and tested best-sellers, but thinking outside of the box could help you give a gift that will blow that special person away.