Picking a gift is difficult. At least, this is how most people think when they’re tasked with giving something special to a friend. How many times have you been stumped on picking a gift, only to go with a generic package like some perfume, chocolates or even going as low to present flowers to a friend you’ve known for 20 years? It’s saddening, it makes us feel upset and it’s a real problem. Even though your friends and family have probably accepted that you’re not great at giving gifts, it doesn’t make it any better. There are, after all, many things that could affect your gift and small signs that people can pick up when you give them something.
So to help you out, here are 10 useful tips that will help you pick the perfect gift every time.
1. Don’t give advice books
Advice books, such as on relationships, dieting and so on, never make good gift ideas. Not only does it send a subtle message to them that could be unwanted, the chances of them actually relying on it and looking at it are very slim. In fact, many people could consider an advice book to be an offensive gift. In short, this is one of the major “don'ts” in gift giving.
2. Always look at the occasion
The occasion is important. If you’re planning a wedding gift for a couple, then get something useful they could use in their new life together or something fancy like a beautiful painting. Don’t show up with a gag gift because a wedding is a serious situation, not something to be made fun of.
3. Don’t give something to change appearance
Don’t give things like makeup, hair dye or even a voucher at some fancy hairdressers. Much like giving advice books, this sends a subtle message that could be taken as an offensive statement, and you don’t want this to happen if you want to remain friends (or even family members!) with your recipient. These are far too personal, so avoid these unless you specifically know the person and they asked for it.
4. Don’t give wearable items unless you specifically ask
If you give someone an item of clothing that is too small or too big, then it can send the wrong signals. Personal items such as clothing should never be used as gifts unless it’s personalized and fun in some way. If you have to get a friend something like a designer clothing item, then make sure you ask them their size first. This does, however, ruin the surprise a bit.
5. Consider experiences and days out, not just physical gifts
Consider a pampering gift such as a day out to a spa. As long as the place you’re sending your friend too isn’t too personal, then an experience day or a pampering day certificate makes a wonderful and memorable gift.
6. Put more than just thought into it
People usually say it’s the thought that counts, however, a lot more than thought has to go into a present. Put effort into finding a present, research your recipient's likes and dislikes and put yourself in their shoes. If you find yourself working overtime to pay for your recipient’s gift, then that effort is going to show in the final gift and it will make it that much more special. If you’re thinking of creating your own gift, such as knitting a scarf or hand-crafting their birthday card, then that will also show that you’ve put more than just thought into the gift idea.
7. Interests are important, so write them down and remember them
Brainstorm a list of interests that your recipient has before you decide to give them something. Look up the kind of interest they have, learn what it is they like about their hobbies and try to give a gift that they could either use or be interested in. If they like animals such as hedgehogs, then shop for hedgehog gifts such as mugs, coasters, and bags. If they enjoy video games, then look up the latest releases and search for something that will fit their tastes.
8. Use “care package” gifts with caution
Many people like to put together a bunch of different items, such as makeup, snacks, and sweets to create a care package gift. However, as explained above, things that change appearance can often be taken the wrong way, and it’s sometimes seen as lazy to mash together a bunch of cheap items and call it a present. Of course, this all depends on the items you’re stuffing into the care package. If you recently came back from a trip to Japan, then gathering a bunch of unique Japanese treats could make a wonderful gift for anyone who’s interested in Japanese culture. On the contrary, filling a box with regular treats you could find at a supermarket isn’t much of a gift.
9. Pick a gift depending on your relationship
Your relationship with the recipient will determine the types of gifts you can give them. If you’re trying to pick a gift for your partner, then pick something memorable that could mark an anniversary date or something similar. If it’s a friend, then pick something that reminds you of your friendship.
10. Personalised gifts aren’t for everyone
Getting a shirt for a friend with a gag message is fine, but if you try that with someone you hardly know then you’re going to get weird looks. Only pick gag gifts or personalized items if you know the person and if they’ll understand the joke. However, if it’s a sentimental personalized gift, such as a picture frame, pillow or even something that you made yourself, then those are perfectly acceptable gifts that you can give to your friends and family members without worrying too much about them accepting or declining it.