Have you ever unwrapped the perfect present? You know, the kind where you light up with excitement after you tear through the packaging to find exactly what you want without having to ask for it. It makes you want to return the favor, but it can be difficult to think of gift ideas when a birthday or holiday rolls around. Struggle no longer – learn from the gift giving pros with this expert advice.
It Starts with Friendship
Chances are, if you’re shopping for someone else, you have a pretty close relationship with that person. You probably know a ton about what they like to do, what they wear, and what music they listen to already.
Make a list of their interests and brainstorm about how they relate to products out there. If someone always sings along with a certain song on the radio, look for concert tickets when the artist comes to town. Do they have a favorite food? Maybe you can get them a gift certificate to a restaurant that specializes in that dish or a recipe book that teaches him or her to cook it. Do it right and you’ll look like a caring creative genius. Of course, there’s another way to find out exactly what they want…
Listen to what your friends say throughout the year. Odds are, they will tell you exactly what they want at some point. If your best buddy says how cool it would be to have a new pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses or a subscription to Vogue, take note. Frequently, people let you know what they desire but are unwilling to spend money on themselves.
All that information is terrific, but only if you have a way to keep track. Having a great plan is only valuable if you remember it. Take notes throughout the year to avoid putting pressure on yourself to come up with an idea at the last minute.
A smartphone really comes in handy for this. Keep a “Gift Idea” note file on your phone organized by friend’s names throughout the year and update it whenever inspiration strikes. You can write the ideas down somewhere else, like an actual notepad, but your phone lives with you full-time. You can also take advantage of an app like Evernote that syncs notes between your phone and computer automatically. That way, all the information you record is at your disposal whether you choose to shop online or in a store.
Don’t wait until the last minute to buy presents. Shopping early reduces stress and gives you more opportunities to save. Waiting to the last minute puts the pressure on you to get something immediately. With the extra time you give yourself, you can compare stores and search for coupon codes to get the best deal. If the particular item you want is out-of-stock, you still have a chance to look elsewhere or wait for it to be put back in inventory.
Have a Backup
Let’s face it, even with all that thought and planning – sometimes creative ideas escape us. Pick up presents while traveling throughout the year. When you find something truly amazing, purchase several of the same thing to give out to friends later. No matter who you give these foreign treasures to, they’ll feel special and connected to your adventures.
Just like building out a list of gifts for specific friends, come up with a list of gifts for any-friend. Massages, house cleaning services, and gift certificates to major stores all make for great presents and handmade items show how much you care.
Wrap it Up
Now that you have the perfect gift, it’s time to put it together. Adding a personal touch like a photo of you and your friend together will really reinforce how special you view your relationship.
With a little extra thought, planning, and time you’ll be giving out unforgettable gifts. All that extra effort is worth it when you see how happy you make your friends – not to mention the presents you’ll get in return!