Don’t Be a Gift Doubter: 5 Great Tips for Buying Gifts
We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s the holiday season or your mom or dad’s birthday. Maybe it’s your best friend’s baby shower or your 10th wedding anniversary. Regardless of what it might be, we’ve all had a special occasion to buy a gift for…
...and we’ve all experienced having no idea what to get.
You know the type of experience we’re talking about. Thinking until your brain hurts about what to buy for your friend or family member. Spending hours at the mall, wandering in and out of stores without seeing any great options, or even any good ones.
And then, after you finally just buy something so you can be done with it, you wrap the thing up and anxiously hand it over to your special person...all while knowing that you could have done better.
If you’ve been there, you’ve been a gift doubter: a gift-giver who overthinks what to buy for a friend or loved one...and then wonders if they’ll even like it at all.
Nobody wants to admit it, but most people really don’t like buying gifts for this exact reason. There’s just too much pressure to not just find a gift, but to give something the person will actually like.
It’s the fear of wasting your own time and money only to have your gift end up in a closet, on a basement shelf, or worse….regifted.
As a result, your special occasion, which should be the perfect opportunity to show your friend or loved one just how much they mean to you, becomes something you actually dread.
You have nightmarish fantasies of the person opening your gift with wonder and anticipation in their eyes, then seeing their face fall when they actually see what’s in the box.
“Ohhh...a set of Santa hand towels. Thanksssss.”
So if gift-doubting has become a chronic issue for every holiday or special occasion you face, we’ve got good news: it doesn’t have to be this way, and if you follow our 5 easy tips, it won’t be.
But first, you’ve got to face up to the following facts:
But if you focus on yourself instead of what your loved one genuinely would want or need, you’re going to miss the whole point of the occasion, not to mention the chance to make memories with your loved one.
And then there are events like baby showers and bridal showers, where your gift is opened in public and on display for all to see.
But that’s not how this is supposed to be. The truth is, your gifting talents are yours and aren’t determined by how great anyone else is at this. Stay in your own lane and focus on buying what you believe is the right choice for your friend or family member.
Ask yourself what it would look like if your friend or family member absolutely loved their present. Visualizing a positive, happy experience for you and your loved one will put you that much closer to finding them that perfect gift.
Having said that...let’s get to our 5 Great Tips for Buying Gifts so you can stop being a gift-doubter, see how to pick the perfect gift, and start being a lovely gifter.
Don’t go “too practical”
Thinking about what a person needs is a great way to get started with finding gift ideas. Even if your friend or family member is the kind of person who seems to have everything, thinking broadly about what they might need in various aspects of their lives is a great way to come up with possible options.
For example, someone who works in business could always use an extra phone charger, while a planner or a set of nice pens could always come in handy for a teacher.
However...there is such a thing as giving gifts that are too practical. It’s true that people do need plain, run of the mill socks, hygiene products, and appliances. But if you’re looking to give your loved one something unique that truly shows your love for them, these things probably aren’t your best bet.
Nonetheless, there’s a way to spice up these gifts, taking them from drab to both fantastic as well as useful. Instead of boring white socks, how about novelty socks with pictures or words that suit your loved one’s interests or personality, or even soft, fuzzy socks or slippers to enjoy after a bath on a cold night?
Moreover, substitute those bland bathroom soaps for lotion and shower gel with delightful fragrances that create a sensory experience every time they bathe or wash their hands.
The point is, giving your loved one something they need doesn’t have to be mundane and dull. Useful gifts can still be tailored to fit their unique personality and interests.
On the other hand...expensive and luxurious doesn’t always equal good gifting
Think making a big splash with something expensive is the way to pick the perfect gift? Think again. While it’s true that everyone knows that person who enjoys the finer things in life, pulling out all the stops with pricey gifts doesn’t always get the jaw-dropping reaction you want.
In fact, these gifts can come across as disappointing, or even downright tacky.
The problem is that the most expensive thing isn’t always what your loved one needs most. Why buy an espresso machine that makes cappuccinos and lattes when your special person just likes a plain cup of black coffee in the morning? Or why throw down the cash for a solid gold-plated rattle for your friend’s baby shower when you can get a toy their baby will actually play with?
An honest gift that truly meets a need or area of satisfaction in someone’s life is always a better way to show your love than something that goes overboard.
It isn’t even just because the gift might be impractical. You could also be overshooting on your gift budget, spending too much money on something your friend or family member may not use, let alone even like.
You may also need to check your motivations for giving the gift. Do you truly want to meet a need or pleasure in your special person’s life? Or do you just want to see everyone’s eyes pop out when they see the decadent gift you’ve chosen?
In case you missed it earlier, your gift-giving occasion isn’t about you. It’s about your loved one.
So forget about luxury and sparing no expense. The simplest gift may be the one your friend or family member wants the most.
Don’t just give a gift—give an experience
A gift doesn’t have to be a thing in a box. Maybe you’re having trouble thinking about a physical object your loved one might want...but when you broaden your process to include experiences, you might have more ideas.
Experiences are some of the best gifts ever because they make a lasting impact in ways physical gifts don’t. A family trip can lead to special memories that last a lifetime. A class in music or art can help someone develop new skills and passions. A gym membership or massage can help people develop new healthy habits or find ways to relax.
Does your friend or family member love to go to the movies? Buy them a gift card for Christmas so they can ready for Oscar season by seeing all the nominees.
The same goes for people who like going to plays or sporting events—season tickets to a local theatre or for their favorite sports team can give the gift of an artistic or athletic event.
If you truly want to go above and beyond with a gift that gives over and over again, this is the way to do it.
Also, if your loved one lives a stressful, always-on-the-go life, bath bombs make a great choice. They’re a unique gift because they are a physical object that also provides an experience of pampering that they probably would not normally do for themselves.
Your loved one will have the experience of unwrapping the gift and smelling the all-natural, aromatherapy scents, but will also enjoy some relaxing me-time simply by dropping them in the bathtub.
Don’t regift or budget-shop
We’ve already talked about how going overboard with expensive items isn’t one of the best strategies for how to pick the perfect gift...but this can easily go the opposite way.
Everyone loves a good bargain, but there’s a difference between taking advantage of great deals and buying something specifically because it’s cheap.
One can still get you out of your special occasion with a gift your friend or family member will love. The other is almost guaranteed to get a telltale stiff smile or forced “thank-you” from your loved one when they open the box.
Here’s how this typically goes down: throughout the year, you buy a bunch of stuff that’s “on sale” because come the holiday season, these things would “make great gifts.”
The problem? You bought something for the sake of buying something, not with a particular person in mind.
That’s why when your loved one opens that ceramic cat you got at a flea market back in July, it’s not going to feel personal. It’s going to just be awkward.
A great gift is purchased with the recipient in mind—not just because it was cheap.
Perhaps an even worse gifting situation than the “on-sale gift” is the “regift.” This occurs when you solve your gifting dilemma by grabbing last year’s Christmas gift from Cousin Sally out of the back of the closet, wrap it up, and give it to somebody else.
Where’s the logic in that? Clearly, you didn’t like getting the gift yourself. Why would you want to wish that experience on somebody else?
The reason why this is one of the most important tips for buying gifts is that gifts are supposed to be personal expressions of your feelings and relationship toward a person you care about. And just giving them something because you saw it on sale will almost certainly put you on the fast track to being a gift-doubter.
Most importantly...Plan Ahead.
Whether it’s that test you had to study for in high school or that big presentation you had to make at work, waiting until the last minute never leads to a good outcome for anything.
And if it’s true for work and school, it goes double for buying the right gift.
Honestly, a big reason why so many people end up being gift-doubters is that they didn’t plan ahead. Before you know it, it’s the day before your friend’s wedding or 2 days before the big family holiday get-together and you still don’t have a gift. If that’s the case, you’ll be more likely to just buy something, anything, to make sure you have stuff for people to open.
As a result, you end up in the typical gift-doubter dilemma—overthinking, running around in circles, making mad dashes to multiple stores, and still ending up wondering if what you bought is doomed to be regifted.
This whole situation is completely avoidable. Before you hit the mall, take some time to brainstorm gifts your loved one might enjoy. Write down their interests, hobbies, and occupation. Then, consider what gifts or experiences might fit within those areas of their life.
And don’t forget about wedding or baby registries, as well as wish lists. If your loved one has one online, your search just got a lot simpler.
This is a big reason why we at Freida and Joe created our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide. We’ve put together the best of our products for this holiday season into one easy-to-use catalog so you can find just the right gifts for your loved ones.
Bath bombs, bathrobe and slipper gift sets, and shower gel and lotion gift sets in beautiful baskets, boxes, and curio cabinets are the perfect gifts that give again and again.
Ready to check it out? Click here to check out some of our favorite products and receive 10% off!
Check it out. This holiday season, you can make all your gifts enjoyable to give and delightful to get.