There are so many ways to find the perfect gift and some people are born with the skill to do so and some people spend hours trawling the internet and dragging themselves around the shops. Not being able to pick the perfect present doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or a bad friend/sister/husband/colleague, it just means you need a little help and a little coaching to find the gift that is going to make you seem the most thoughtful, insightful and caring gifter.
We’ve gathered these top tips as a step by step guide to finding and buying a present. No matter who it’s for, following these simple tips will ensure that the receiver will think you the top dog of present giving. Besides, a great gift can signal so much more than that and we know that relationships are so much more than gifts.
Pick a Budget
The budget can be a tricky thing to decide. Depending on the type of person you are, you may only want to spend what the other is/has on you, or maybe you want to go overboard and not be outshone. In either case, you’ll have to decide before even thinking about the next steps of gift giving. For Secret Santas or gift swaps, there’s usually a price designated so stick to it. No one wants to feel bad because you’ve spent too much or too little when there was a specific budget set.
For all other occasions, think about your relationship to the person, if the birthday is a big one, how invested you are in the happy couple etc How much do you feel comfortable paying? Set a budget and stick to it, unless there is something slightly more that cannot be missed out on.
Consider the Occasion
Why is it that you’re buying this person a gift? Is it for a birthday? Engagement? Wedding? Secret Santa? Get well soon? Figuring out exactly why it is that you’re giving the recipient something can help you to decide the tone of the present you’ll be giving. Birthdays and Christmas are the most diverse occasions for giving gifts. Practical, funny, treasured or meaningful can all be handed over on these broad occasions. While for wedding or engagements, consider the fact that the happy couple will probably want something associated with the occasion, such as engraved champagne flutes or a personalised photo frame.
Secret Santas are normally associated with office gift giving or big groups of friends, you’ll usually get a budget designated for these so have as much fun as you can. Sure, they may love something they can use, but if the presents are swapped at a Christmas Party, then joke presents or something funny can provide entertainment in the evening. Let’s be honest, how well do you know your coworkers to be able to get them something they’d truly enjoy? It’s better to stick to joke presents that can be utilised at the event.
Think of the Recipient’s Personality
Another thing to look into is the recipient’s personality. Their hobbies and interests can be a great starting point for a gift search. If they like playing football, new boots, a training bag, a jokey football book can all be bought as a great gift. If they like music, new headphones, concert tickets, musical history books/artefacts are an option.
Are they quiet or confident? Bookworm or sports lover? These aspects of their personality can aid in the search for that perfect present.
Think About Their Circumstances
Where is the recipient in their life right now? If they are about to move home, they might prefer a gift for the house or even the money to help get them started. If their life never seems to change, maybe they’d like to break the monotony and go off on a fun trip or might enjoy a hotel break. If they have a baby on the way then practical gifts like nappies or clothes can really help them out. Maybe they’re just starting university? In which case, they’re in for a wild time and drinking game guides, shot glasses or even bottles of alcohol will probably be much appreciated.
Significant others can sometimes be the hardest to buy for, even if you know them inside out and have been with them for a significant amount of time. Sometimes this is because you feel like you’ve exhausted all possible gift paths, bought every item of clothing possible, bought them all their favourite things, splurged on jewellery and expensive accessories. Once the honeymoon phase is over and flowers and chocolates have lost their novelty, what more is there to buy? The key here is to always keep listening to your partner, they tell you about their lives day in day out, and it’s not unusual to switch off.
But listen closely, do they wish they had more time to relax? Book them into a spa for some treatments. Do they buy the same bottle of wine every week? Buy a case load, or broaden their horizons with something similar but more luxurious.
Every person and every couple are different, so we can’t provide a magic equation for buying the perfect present. Take into account all of the points above if you’re looking for a gift for your partner.
For more gift giving advice, including specific ideas for a range of occasions, keep up with our blogs and sign up to our newsletter for regular updates.