8 Ways to Become a Better Gift-Giver

Friday, December 14, 2018

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Pinecrest, with whom I'm partnering for a holiday series. I've been compensated for my writing/shopping, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I absolutely love gift-giving, & I think I'm pretty good at it. I could be wrong (you tell me, I guess, if you've ever received a gift from me), but I put a lot of time & effort into gift-giving & really have fun doing it. I love the feeling of making someone else happy by giving them something that's perfectly tailored to them.

1. Think about what they like - not just what you like.
I think this is one of the biggest gift-giving mistakes: Some people love giving gifts but have a tendency not to think of the likes & styles of the person they're giving said gifts to. Instead, they buy what they like for that person - which is not the same thing.

When you spot something that might make for a great gift, ask yourself: Do I like this, or do I actually think my aunt/brother/BFF would like this? Oftentimes - especially if you're a person who's struggled with gift-giving in the past - you'll realize that, upon asking yourself this question, the answer is the former. If so, move along. Don't buy that. let's try again.

2. Consider their interests.
Where to start where to start... This time, ask yourself: What do the people in your life like to do? Let that be your guide.

If your dad is a hardcore hiker, head to REI & see what looks right. Your wife loves home decor & is always trying to redecorate the living room? West Elm it is, & head straight for the fancy tchotchkes. Maybe you've got a sister who's obsessed with fashion, so you check out Vernacular & ask the store clerk for suggestions for a perfect clutch...

Feel me? Figure out what your loved ones like, then go from there. That's all there is to it.

3. Pay attention when they talk.
It may be too late in the year for this tip, but bear with me for the future, OK? Most people will, at some point, mention stuff they enjoy or want or would like to do. If you're not the kind of person who loves gift-giving & finds it easy, well, pay attention.

Even if it's February, make note of the thing they tell you they're interested in. Your football-loving husband says he needs a warm hat for tailgating? Make a note in your phone, & grab a Browns-themed one from Homage when those holiday deals hit. Your sister mentions that she could totally use a massage? Flag it for later, then buy her a gift card to Woodhouse Spa when her birthday rolls around.

People will reveal what they like, if only you're listening. So listen!

4. Investigate their interests a little further.
Awhile back, I was trying to decided between two necklaces for my best friend, but I couldn't remember if she wears more silver or gold. Not wanting to buy her something she wouldn't wear, I did what any smart millennial would do: I turned to the Internet. In nearly every Instagram photo with her face in it, she was wearing silver jewelry - & so I went with silver. The necklace was a hit, & now it shows up in her Instagram photos!

5. Cheat a little.
Do they have an Amazon wishlist? How about a Goodreads TBR list? A Pinterest board titled something like "Stuff I Want to Own"? (That's what mine's called, anyway!) It's not actually cheating to dig around, find a list like this, & buy them something you know they want. That's just smart.

6. Don't forget about experiences. 
Some of the best gifts I've ever received have been in the category of "things to do" instead of "stuff to own." If you want to be sure they still have something to open - you know, for that holiday ambiance - consider pairing the experience with a tangible related item. 

I love the idea of gifting someone a candle in a scent you love, paired with the gift of the experience of making their own at Candle Studio, or packing up a nice water bottle or workout headband paired along with a membership to Orange Theory. (Note: Don't you dare give a gym membership to someone who doesn't want a gym membership, though! That's called body-shaming.)

7. Everyone likes food.
"Food, glorious, fooood!" Any other musical fans out there? Just me? Moving along...

There are many ways to give the gift of food. You can give a gift card to a restaurant or a coffee shop or a dessert spot (lookin' at you with heart-eyes emoji, Duck Donuts). You can create a foodie gift basket out of high-end goodies from someplace like Williams Sonoma, which sells lots of locally made goods. You can put together the best-ever stocking with treats from an old-timey candy shop like Sweetie's Big Fun. You can give someone a card saying that your gift is taking them to dinner for a nice night out together because everyone loves quality time, right?

Look, I'm Jewish. I just think food is a great gift. 

8. When in doubt, remember: Nobody doesn't love gift cards.
I know a lot of folks are loath to go the gift  card route because they think it's lazy, but listen: If you know you're not a great gift-giver, gift cards are actually great gifts. No one is ever going to complain about being able to pick out their own gift on someone else's dollar! For these, you can do what I mentioned about: Wrap 'em up nice like gifts, & even pair them with a related item to create a more "real" gifting experience.

Can't decide on a store? Some place offer gift cards to entire shopping plazas. Pinecrest, for example, sells gift cards that can be used at nearly any store or restaurant in the area. Choose your own adventure!

Tell me: What are your gift-giving tips? And what's on your holiday wishlist this year?! Mine's here, in case you're buyin'. 

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