To many, the ability to bestow the perfect present looks like a God-given talent. Naturally skilled gift givers appear able to pull outstanding ideas out of thin air, while those lacking the knack may spend hours wandering the shops only to leave with a pair of socks and severely chewed fingernails.
However, finding fantastic presents is more of a science than an art; even you can surprise your loved ones with dazzling gifts if you put time and effort into the process. The next time you need to blow the socks off a loved one for a gift-giving holiday, remember these top five tips to giving great gifts.
1. Always Listen
After spending even a tiny amount of time with someone, you are bound to have learned a little about what he or she likes. Maybe he will mention something about always wanting to see a ballet, or maybe she talks about how often she goes to the gym. Any small tidbit about a person’s life or desires can translate into excellent gift ideas. For example, you can get him tickets the next time American Ballet Theatre has a showing, or you can buy her a new water bottle or yoga mat. Listening for hits in the details of speech is the most important step to becoming a phenomenal gift giver.
Many people begin to instinctively do this as the winter holidays approach, but the key to being a good gift giver is to adopt this perceptive behavior all year long. Then, when the holidays come along, your recipients will be surprised by how memorable and caring your gifts are.
2. Make Notes
Of course, listening attentively will get you nowhere if you can’t remember what your friends and relatives say. Unless you have a photographic memory, it is best to carry around a small notebook where you can write down ideas for future gifts. If you lack the pocket space for a pad of paper, you can use your smartphone’s applications; you can even download an app that will record voice memos for quickness and ease.
Seeing a list of possible gift ideas may even make it easier to come up with presents on your own, without inspiration from conversations. However, when a brilliant idea strikes you, you should still add it to the list; then, you can weigh the pros and cons of all choices before making a decision.
3. Use a Theme
Sometimes, the best gifts aren’t big and bold but tiny and manifold. Many recipients much prefer unwrapping a tower of smaller presents to one big box. While this may sound like a more daunting challenge for a novice gift buyer, in reality it makes the process much simpler. Instead of imagining one specific, impressive item, you can assemble a bunch of smaller (and usually cheaper) gifts with a similar theme to produce the same effect.
If you are lazy or pressed by time, you can find pre-made baskets or kits that suit your recipients; this option is also good for those who don’t have much deep knowledge about their recipients’ interests. For example, an e-cigarette kit is an excellent introduction to vaping for a lifelong lover of nicotine, and it doesn’t require the giver to understand how e-cigs work.
4. Be Risky
Once you have excelled at noting loved ones’ likes and dislikes and applying this wisdom to the art of gift giving, you can throw all that experience out the window. Being bold and risky in gift giving can have the biggest payout of all: When a person is wholly surprised by your spectacular gift, you’ll find he or she is much more thankful than when she receives something she’s hinted at in the recent past. A successful risk will add kindness, thoughtfulness, and thrill to your status, and most people will start to appreciate you more than usual.
However, you should be warned that giving an unpredicted gift will put your entire reputation on the line. One way to avoid this risk is get multiple gits, perhaps something funny and familiar from a site like New Easy and then something sentimential to cover all your bases by getting something funny for the novelty but also something personal to show your level of thought. If you were entirely off-base about your recipient’s secret wishes, you might be labeled as a terrible gift giver and not invited back to next year’s birthday party.
5. Don’t Forget the Presentation
The presentation of the gift is always as important as what is inside. Even if you spend buckets of cash on a diamond wristwatch for your honey, he or she will appreciate it more when hand it over wrapped with a bow than if you toss it in a plastic bag and leave it on the kitchen counter. You don’t have to spend a fortune on gold leaf, but you should put some thought into what the outward appearance of your gift says to your recipient.