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How to Pick The Perfect Gift

Get a new reputation as the best gift-giver ever with these simple tips

Dec 12, 2017

How is it that some people always pick the perfect present while most of us are stuck staring at scented candles, key chains, and mittens thinking "there has to be something more personal than this"? Being a good gift-giver is an amazing life-skill, and it's not that hard to learn. 


Be a Good Listener

The most important thing is to be a good listener. When a holiday or birthday is coming up soon, most people start thinking about things they'd like to get as gifts. Even if they don't mention it, the wheels are probably turning every time they look at a catalog or go window-shopping. You just have to look for the signs. Pay close attention when your friend or family member compliments someone on something they are wearing. Listen for other clues when they mention a favorite band, a book they'd like to read, or something they need. If your friend's favorite pencil case breaks in math class, it's the perfect opportunity for you to swoop in and get her that glitter unicorn pencil case you saw at the store.

Unicorn pencil caseGood gifts are fun, personal, and usefulCourtesy of Kohls

Ask Questions

Finding the perfect present is as easy as knowing the right questions to ask. If you ask someone directly what they want, they probably won’t give you a good answer. For one thing, most people have a hard time asking for presents. For another, people don’t always know what they want. While you won’t get a lot of information asking straight out, you can ask leading questions about their favorite foods, things they wish they had time to do, their favorite TV shows, or their favorite color. Last but not least, being surprised by someone’s thoughtfulness is one of the best parts of getting a present in the first place!>

Lilo and Stitch Christmas PresentThe surprise is part of the fun!Courtesy of allmoviegifs.com


You can do some super sleuthing without being too nosy by observing your friend or family member in their natural habitat. How is their room decorated? If your friend loves puppies, while you can't adopt a puppy for them (we can't stress enough that you should really, totally never do this!), you can get them a gift with a picture of their favorite dog breed on it. Take clues from their hobbies, interests, and passions.


When in Doubt, Research

If your friend is big into books or graphic novels, a quick search of their favorite book will turn up a list similar ones they might like. Sites like What Should I Read Next are a great place to start. During the holidays, publishing company Penguin Books offers a Penguin Hotline with personalized recommendations for everyone on your list. Follow the link and fill out a form for everyone you are buying a gift for and give the gift of reading! 


Once you have some ideas of where to start, get out there and go shopping. It's important to know your budget and stick to it so you don't go all out on the first gift you buy and end up scrounging around and repackaging uneaten candy from Halloween for the last person on your list.

Girl disappointed by bad holiday giftThere's nothing like a leftover sandwich to tell someone how you really feel about themCourtesy of The New York Observer

To keep your spending in check, you can buy in bulk. Buy a package each of bookmarks, fun pens, individually wrapped chocolates, sheets of stickers, and fun erasers, then separate them out into several identical gifts. Each friend will get a variety of different items while you spend less money and time on each gift.

It's All in the Packaging

It's always more fun to get a present that was wrapped with care. Ribbons, wrapping paper, and note can give a store-bought gift a personal touch.

One employee at the Japanese store Takashimaya can wrap a gift in just a few seconds.

Check out the video!



Some Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

  • Book lovers
  • More bookish ideas
  • Someone crafty
  • An experience like a mani-pedi or going out together for ice cream
  • Hand-dipped truffles in a cellophane bag tied with a ribbon
  • A fun mug filled with a package of hot coco mix
  • Best friends bracelets

Get Crafty

Even if you don't have $ to spend, you can easily craft a personalized gift. Here are some ideas for you:

A thoughtful gift from me to youIt really is the thought that countsCourtesy of Megan Jo Nairn

Make Holiday or Birthday Glitter Slime

Handmade gifts are always a good idea, especially when you're short on cash and long on time. All you need is ¼ cup glitter glue, ¼ cup clear glue (like Elmer’s), ½ cup of water, and ½ cup of liquid starch. Using a spoon, mix together the glitter glue, clear glue and water, then add the liquid starch. It will turn into slime before your eyes! Add tiny foil harts or foil confetti if you’d like. Place it in a plastic container and cover it tightly between uses. Visit the Elmer's Glue website for another easy recipe using contact lens solution.

Glitter slime recipeOne recipe for Glitter Slime involves glitter glue and contact lens solutionCourtesy of Elmer's Glue
Have Your Say

What's the best gift you've ever given or received? Comment below!