Around the holidays one thing I always try to be very conscious of is my gift giving. There is nothing I dislike more than receiving a gift that clearly didn’t have any thought put into it, so when I give a gift to someone else, I’m always overly conscious about whether or not they would like it. I feel like, especially in our home, there has been a shift toward living with less, and receiving a gift that isn’t useful is something that will just take up space. For some people, I know right away what to gift, but for others I try to follow along with the following tips for how to give a meaningful gift.
1. Do your research. What kind of relationship do you have with this person? How close are you? Are you friends online? It’s going to sound creepy, but it always helps me to go through their social media profiles to get a sense of what type of person they are. What do they do for a living? Are they social? Do they wear bright colors? Do they seem to be more dressed up or down most of the time? Do they like beauty products? Do they follow a strict diet or have any allergies? What style is their home? Have they shared a wish list (easy, right.)? All of these can give you clues into who this person are and what type of gift they might like.
2. Put yourself in their shoes. Now that you’ve figured out all of this information, take a minute to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine that you are them and think of the kinds of gifts they would appreciate and find useful. Would someone who wears bright colored high heels and doesn’t drink coffee enjoy a black coffee mug? Probably not. I’m very much of the school that likes to give gifts that are useful in addition to being thoughtful. If it’s not useful, to me, it’s not meaningful or thoughtful.
3. Acts of service. In the 5 Love Languages, acts of service is my primary love language. This means that the number one way I feel happy or loved is for someone to do something for me. Maybe it’s something that I don’t have a lot of time for and feel guilty about (like doing dishes or cleaning house), or maybe it’s something that I just never seem to do (like hiring a sitter to take time for myself), but either way it’s something that someone else can do for me to help take the load off my back, and they make me so happy. If your friend is a busy person, overextended mama, or just someone who could maybe use a little help, I’m sure they’d love this gift. You could buy a gift card for a place like UrbanSitter, or a food or maid service, or simply offer to look after their little one(s) or help with a meal or menial tasks around the house. You might be surprised at how much the offer is appreciated.
4. Gift shared time. This is quite literally the most priceless gift that you can give. If all else fails and you don’t find a suitable gift for them, tell them that you’d love to spend a lunch, dinner, afternoon, whatever with them. If you’d like, you can even lead with this. It’s actually one of my favorite gifts to receive.
5. Ask them. If all else fails, just ask them. My husband and I actually keep private Pinterest “wish list” boards that are only shared with each other, that way when a birthday or holiday rolls around we always know where to look for a good go-to gift for the other person. As long as you keep a few options on the board, you’ll still be surprised. And you will know that you are absolutely going to receive something that you’d really like.
Do you have anyone who is hard to buy for on your list? Any suggestions?