What to consider when choosing a gift that’s just right
BY Hailey Hudson December 2018
Purchasing gifts for others often feels better than the guilt we might feel when splurging on ourselves. Yet, we sometimes get it wrong in predicting what our recipient really wants. Feeling obligated to give and worrying about how the receiver will feel about your gift often interferes with what should be a joyful endeavor. In fact, it can be downright stressful. Here are a few tips to help you select the right gift for everyone on your list.
Consider the recipient’s age. It’s important to think about ages as you plan what gifts to buy. Toddlers will need toys that encourage exploration and problem-solving.
Elementary school children can enjoy more sophisticated toys or books. Many middle school students feel that they’re too old for toys, but still want something to play with on Christmas morning; they might enjoy a craft set, snap kit, or model airplane to assemble. High school students appreciate gift cards to favorite clothing stores, while young adults might want something that’s fun and quirky but still useful. Middle-aged adults would welcome a gift card to a favorite spa, restaurant, or golf course with free babysitting attached. Senior adults might enjoy a new board game or a magazine subscription. It’s essential to consider what stage of life someone is in before purchasing a gift for him or her.
Think about the recipient’s interests and hobbies. Make a list of everything the gift recipient likes to do. Write down the obvious things, such as the art class they take and the TV show they watch every night, but also dig deeper and think about more obscure things they enjoy—maybe they’re a hot chocolate connoisseur or happen to be fascinated by wildlife. Once you have a list of ideas, begin sorting those ideas into categories such as food, apparel, or electronics. For instance, you could purchase a hot chocolate subscription box that will arrive every month with new flavors of hot chocolate; a T-shirt with a quote from their favorite TV show; or a set of wildlife documentaries on DVD. Most people have many interests, so taking those hobbies into account is an easy way to get them a meaningful present.
Give an experience. Instead of gifting a material item that will sit around and collect dust, give an experience that the recipient can enjoy. Depending on your budget, this could range from an all-expenses-paid vacation, to waterpark tickets for next summer, to a gift card for a local coffee shop. Gifting an experience heightens the excitement level, giving the recipient something to look forward to; the happiness doesn’t end when the wrapping paper is thrown away. And afterwards, everyone involved has new memories to keep.
Consider what happened in the past year. Take stock of the last twelve months and think about any big events that happened in the recipient’s life. Maybe your niece graduated college and could use a gift card to a home goods store as she settles into her first apartment. Did your parents get a puppy? Get them a basket of dog toys and treats. And if your family went on a special vacation, create a photo book or scrapbook that details the memories.
Aim for a mix of fun gifts and useful gifts. If you are buying multiple gifts for immediate family members, strike a balance between gifts that can be put to use and gifts that are just for fun. Many experts recommend purchasing the following gifts for the children in your life: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. This is an easy strategy you can apply to any age child to make sure they have a well-rounded Christmas morning.
Lastly, spend locally whenever you can. You can find almost every kind of gift at the wonderful local shops in Macon, Perry, Warner Robins, and Forsyth.