10 tips for giving better gifts

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Giving better gifts guide
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

This post is also available in: French Chinese (Simplified)

Gifts are a means of showing appreciation for the people around you. A good gift doesn’t have to be expensive – it just needs to have thought put into the presentto show that you care for the recipient. Here are 10 tips to help you with giving better gifts.

1Plan gifts in advance

By planning ahead, you’ll have enough time to buy gifts that you put some thought into, rather than last-minute options. It can also increase your options when it comes to custom gifts that may take a certain amount of time to be constructed or online gifts that may come with a long shipping period.

Some people buy gifts throughout the year as both a way of spreading out the cost and as a way of getting the best deals. This strategy could also allow you to buy gifts that may only be available at certain times of the year.

All in all, it’s harder to buy gifts if you’re literally buying them the day beforehand. Your options will be severely limited and you won’t get the best deals. To stop you from procrastinating, set yourself reminders a couple months before special occasions. This could spur you to start looking early for those more special gifts.

2Don’t underestimate practical gifts

Practical gifts can sometimes be seen as boring, but actually many of us appreciate them a lot. For instance, buying someone a new vacuum cleaner to replace their semi-broken one is a thoughtful and useful gift – and yet many of us would never buy such a gift.

Consider your recipient’s practical needs and the gifts that are able to meet these needs. This guide at Mashable lists a few examples of unique practical gifts.

There are ways to make practical gifts more fun such as presenting them in funny ways. You could also try accompanying them with a small fun gift such as chocolates or a novelty gift.

3Educate yourself when it comes to giving better tech gifts

If you’re buying a gadget for someone – especially a niche gadget such as a guitar pedal or a photography light panel – it’s worth educating yourself before you make a purchase. Your recipient may have a precise name and model of a product in mind, in which case you’ll want to find this out first. If not, you’ll have to do your own personal research to find the best gadget.

Online reviews and comparison guides are great tools for working out which model is best. Alternatively, you may be able to walk into a specialist store and ask the members of staff for their professional opinion of the best product.

Be wary of seeking advice from brands themselves as any information will often be biased to sell the product. For example, a cheap bad quality pair of headphones isn’t going to advertise the fact that it’s bad quality.

4Embrace private jokes (but don’t overdo them)

Private jokes can be a great way of strengthening a personal connection with a recipient. This could include a souvenir of a place in which a funny incident happened or a book delving into a funny topic that you both discussed.

You’ll generally have to spend time hunting down such gifts, but they’re worth the response. Just make sure that you’re not running these jokes into the ground by tapping into the same private joke every year.

That point is especially true if the joke is poking fun at the recipient. Such gifts could start to become tiresome, especially if other friends and family members join in.

5Giving better gifts by personalizing boring options

Many people are guilty of buying boring gifts like socks, mugs and boxes of chocolates. These gifts tend to be cheap, easy to acquire, and a safe option when you haven’t got any other ideas. However, these gifts are also not very inspired; your recipient is going to know that you didn’t put much thought into them.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get these kinds of gifts! Instead, personalize these mundane gifts to make them more exciting.

For example, you might put someone’s name and face on a pair of socks, print a special photograph onto a mug, or buy a chocolate plaque with a special message on it. You can find personalization services online for all kinds of everyday objects, from ties to wallets.

For example, last year I gave my sister-in-law shoes that have her name printed on them. Give yourself enough time for these items to be manufactured and delivered to you.

6Craft your gifts

One certain way of showing that you care about the recipient is to hand craft them a gift. This involves putting time and effort into the gift, which can be more meaningful than pouring lots of money into a gift.

Think about what your craft skills are to make this present extra-special. Some examples are jewelry making, knitting, and carpentry.

Even if you consider yourself to be a bit of an amateur, it’s the thought that counts, as the saying goes. A homemade gift will show that you have a lot of appreciation for the loved one who receives it. Besides, there are plenty of craft guides online that you can use to help you create the finished item.

If you don’t consider yourself to be crafty, there are still other DIY ideas that you can try that don’t require specialized skills. Some examples are creating a photo collage or simply making a card using an online custom card generator. You can find plenty of DIY gift ideas online at sites like The Idea Room.

7Giving better gifts tips: Merge their interests

Another great gift idea could be to merge a loved one’s interests into one gift. If they love motor-racing and coffee, for example, a motorsports-themed coffee mug is a terrific idea. If someone loves cycling and travel, you may be able to find a book on cycling destinations around the world.

You can find these kinds of unique or quirky gifts by simply typing keywords related to the two interests into online shopping sites. See what comes up in the search results.

You’ll likely find it surprising what’s out there. Your recipient will appreciate the fact that it appeals to multiple interests and the fact that you went out of your way to find it.

8Buy an experience

What do you buy the person that already has everything? Your best option is probably an experience.

Experiences can provide lasting memories that can outlive the use of any object. They can also be shared with people, helping to make them more meaningful.

You’ll find plenty of experience packages online. Finding them on the internet can often be a great way of saving money on these experiences too. But there will usually be an expiry date attached, so be cognizant of that.

Then, decide whether to book these experiences for the recipient or let them do so themselves. The latter option is probably the better of the two if you don’t know what their calendar ahead looks like.

The type of experience that best suits someone is likely to depend on their personality. If they’re a thrill-seeker, for example, you might gift them a supercar driving experience or a white water rafting experience. If they prefer more leisurely activities instead, you could give a wine tasting experience or a spa day out.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has made many experiences unavailable, so now might not be the time to get these types of gifts. However, these gifts are well worth looking into on the other side of the pandemic. By this point, everyone will be even more eager to soak up fun experiences than before.

9Giving better gifts for celebrations beyond birthdays and Xmas

Christmas and birthdays aren’t the only events when gifts are appropriate. There are many other events that you can buy gifts for as a way of celebrating people’s successes and showing that you care about them.

For instance, if someone has recently graduated from college, one of these custom graduation announcements from MagnetStreet would be a thoughtful gift. If someone has recently had a baby, you could consider buying a gift for the baby, such as clothes or a gift for the mother such as some bath bombs. Housewarming gifts, get well soon presents, and leaving gifts to colleagues are some other special occasions.

10When it doubt, ask what they want

What about if you don’t have any gift ideas for someone? When in doubt, ask them what it is they want.

Doing so can prevent you from buying something generic that they may not want or use. Your recipient is also certain to appreciate the gift because it’s something they wanted.

Yes, this approach does take away the surprise factor. However, such a gift is still likely to be meaningful.

If you really want to keep that surprise element, you could always buy a decoy gift, pretend that you didn’t get them the gift they asked for, and then unveil the real gift at the last moment. This could help to make the gift a little more exciting.

Some people, even when asked, might still not offer you an idea as to what they want. In this case, try to get ideas from others who know them well. Alternatively, you could buy them a shared experience.

Are you starting to think about gifts for Christmas yet? What are some gifts you’ve given people that have been a big hit with them? 

This post is also available in: French Chinese (Simplified)

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