This holiday season can be crazy with decorating the house and making appearances at Christmas parties. On top of that, you have to buy gifts for people. I have seven others to buy presents for, and that is just in my immediate family. If shopping for gifts causes you as much anxiety as it does me, you've come to the right place. Join me on this journey that I take to try to find the perfect gifts for my large family.
Know your person.
This should be an obvious piece of advice, but if you don't know what the person who you're buying for is interested in, you are doomed. There is no way that you are going to get them what they want. Figure out some of the things the receiver is interested in, and go with that. Don't make them have to pretend to like something you got them. If you have no idea what they want, go safely with a gift card. When you know your person, you can also exchange "inside gifts." These are what I call gifts that may seem random or worthless to other people, but to the person you got the gift for, there is a hidden meaning that only the two of you understand.
I go to college in Lindsborg, Kansas. This is more commonly known as Little Sweden, U.S.A. The small town is busting with tons of cute boutiques and shops with works from local artists. You are bound to find something for someone when you check out the small, downtown stores. This is one place where the gifts you find are for the more artsy, eclectic people in your life. Plus, when you throw in the little bit of cultural influence (like the Swedish one here), you are sure to find seasonal decor.
Listen when you're around them.
Do you talk when together? You probably do. If not, you have bigger problems than this article can help you with. If you get them talking enough, you can probably either hear them subtly throw out hints of what they want or mention what they need. Listening specifically to what they are wanting, needing, or interested in is the key to getting the perfect gift that will leave them asking, "How'd you know?!"
Include everyone in a group where gifts are discussed.
My three sisters and I have a Pinterest board called "Christmas Wants" where we pin things that we are interested in. This leaves the spontaneity of the gift up to the buyer, but it helps the buyer know roughly what the person wants. Also, it makes it much easier to claim a gift for someone who many others are buying for when you can send or specifically show them what you are buying.
Jump on those Black Friday sales.
Okay, don't go all crazy mother hulk on people in the store on Black Friday, but really check out what electronics are on sale. We all have that techy person who we are shopping for. Why not get them what they want and save a little?
Save ads and use them.
My grandma and mom used to save ads that they saw in newspapers and magazines and have all of us kids mark what we were interested in. This was our Pinterest before Pinterest was a thing. As stated above, this gave them a rough idea of what we wanted with keeping the surprise of the gift. If you aren't on social media, or you're old fashioned, or you don't want the government knowing what your interests are (you conspiracy theorists, you), this is the way to go.
Take them out to do something.
Pay for them to see the movie they have been dying to see. Take them to go ice skating. Pay for the tattoo that they are wanting. Maybe just taking them to a fancy restaurant is enough. I am a fan of not getting someone something expensive, but rather something with more meaning. Pay for them to have the chance to create memories with you.
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Yes, you ruin the surprise, and you ruin them believing in Santa, but you get them exactly what they want. This method is 100% effective. Sometimes if I do this, I ask them way too early so that they forget what they told me or that I even asked. If the person you are shopping for is older, I recommend this method the most. They have already discovered that Santa isn't real, and they really don't care to get a meaningless gift.
Go forth and shop your hearts out, or just make something. Remember, memories are better than material things. Keep the holiday spirit!