In an ideal world, gift giving would be a fun activity; I mean what’s better than showing someone you (hopefully, probably) care about how you feel about them with a thoughtful gift? It’s so hard in today’s world though. Some people are hard to shop for, some people expect too much and sometimes we have to get gifts for people we don’t know very well or even like! With the holidays approaching quickly, I wanted to share my 10 tips for giving great gifts.
- Think about what they’re interested in. Sounds obvious but you can cull some great ideas just from knowing someone’s likes. For example, if someone loves France (c’est moi!), you could give them a gift basket filled with French food items. If they like tea, give a fun mug and different varieties of tea. If they like Starbucks, you can give a Starbucks-themed gift. My friend’s boyfriend in Germany collects Starbucks mugs, so I bought him a Starbucks mug from New York City. There is a new city series available that you can buy here for $17 and up. If they love a certain store, you could buy them something, like a makeup bag, that has the store’s name on it. Bloomingdale’s has a great selection of items with “Bloomies” on them, like the cotton canvas tote bag here. Have they always wanted to go to Fiji (I have!)? Get them a guidebook. Did they just have kids? Then how about a holder for photos that they can carry around to show people like this one?
- Luxurious practicality is a great gift idea! Some people say you should give a gift that they wouldn’t think of getting themselves; some people say give practical gifts. I combine the two. Everyone wears socks, right? But how many people buy themselves cashmere socks like these for $43? If they like sweets, buy them some fancy cookies or macarons. Chocolate addict? Buy bacon truffles from Vosges Haut-Chocolat for $48 (my husband bought me two bars with bacon in it for Valentine’s Day this year. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not but it was so delicious I polished off both bars in a span of a day). Do they love Michael Kors? Buy them a Michael Kors signature coin purse like this for $58 or other small leather good from a company they love.
- Women love getting cosmetic sets. I think every women turns into a 5-year old girl when she gets cosmetics. Even if it’s not a brand they typically use, they’ll enjoy testing out a different look like this one from MAC for $49.50. And it’s perfectly acceptable to get it for multiple people you are shopping for (maybe not if they’re best friends!).
- Get an expert opinion. If you work with a salesperson at a store you love, ask them for their opinion; they have access to a larger inventory of items than you do and know what’s selling. I’ve found great gifts on Amazon.com by plugging in the ages and genders of the kids I was buying for. Gifts.com has a personality finder that generates gift ideas for you. Some websites have a curated gift section like RozTayger.com,which is a site I love, because everything is super chic. If you have a friend who always gets you great gifts, ask her (I’m assuming it’s a her!) for help with those hard-to-buy-for people.
- A charitable gift keeps on giving. I have two go-tos for charitable gifts: World Vision and Heifer International. Both sites allow you to donate specific items to families, such as school uniforms, ducks, trees, part of a water well, etc. This is a great gift for teachers because they (hopefully) have a soft spot for impoverished children and would appreciate helping a poor family. If donating a duck in the name of someone isn’t your thing, many companies sell items and donate the proceeds to charity. Anne Fontaine is selling a chic leather bracelet for $35 and the proceeds go to reforestation efforts: Anne Fontaine bracelet. Or, there are some websites that have stylish options and donate a portion of sales to specific charities. Two good ones are Tom’s Marketplace (same company as Tom’s shoes) and Accompany.
- If a friend compliments you on something, give something similar. A friend complimented me on something the other day and I called the store where I got it to see if they still had any. They did, and now it will make a perfect gift that I know she will love (I can’t tell you what it is because her birthday is coming up and I don’t want her to read about her present on my blog!). If the item is no longer available, look for something similar.
- Consider subscription gifts. Gone are the days when you could only send fruit subscriptions. Now there is a subscription box for every possible interest under the sun. Amazing clubs has 38 different subscription gifts including beer, bacon (yum!), tea, dog treats, etc. Makeup fan? Try Goodebox for eco-friendly beauty at $18 a month (you can choose how many months to give) or Sample Society for $15 a month for 3 months.
- If you want something, it’s probably a great gift for a friend. For example, I love Henri Bendel’s makeup bags, and I have a couple friends who no longer live in NYC who would appreciate receiving one like this for $38 as a gift. That’s also how I came up with the cashmere sock idea from tip #2. I want a pair!
- A book about their interests is a personal gift (and usually easy to find). Are they interested in jazz, motorcycles, boats, interior design, fashion, history, food? Yup, there’s a book about that.
- Movies and music are fun to give and receive. Music was such a big part of my roommate’s and my life in college. Every once in a while I’ll watch a movie that makes me think of her or hear a song that brings back so many memories, and I’ll make an iTunes compilation for her. Or, if they love a specific artist, give them a compilation of her lesser known songs (chances are they have the popular ones). You could also send them a DVD of their favorite movie or a movie classic. Do they love John Hughes? Send them a set of his best teen movies. Love Audrey Hepburn? Send a set of her best movies.
I hope these 10 tips for giving great gifts will be useful in figuring out what to get everyone on your list! To help you remember these tips,here’s an infographic for you.
BTW, are you looking for that perfect holiday outfit? Check out these fab looks: Holiday Party Chic