Gift Guide: The Art of Gift Giving

We’ve all been there. It’s the day before, weekend before, or month before a major celebration and you need a gift. If it’s a major holiday like Christmas, and you’ve procrastinated sufficiently, maybe you need a bunch of presents. You begin to sweat thinking about the millions of products available. Next come the questions. Is the gift appropriate? Will they like this present I bought? I wonder if someone else already got them this? We tackle this and more in this gift guide!

I’m going to break down the process of selecting, purchasing, and presenting a gift. Not just any gift, but one that is memorable, meaningful, and unique. I’ll go through some of the pitfalls you’re likely going to run into along the way, and how to avoid them. I’ll also offer tips on how to take giving to “the next level.”

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Calm Down, Breathe, and Evaluate

Now that I have sufficiently described your predicament, take a second and accept the fact that you have some work ahead. Don’t worry, you’re gonna be fine. You’ve already survived countless birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays on the old game plan. At least now you’re taking a step in the right direction by reading this gift guide. The first thing to do is make a comprehensive list of everyone you need to get a gift for. Not such a big deal on a birthday, but when Christmas rolls around it’s time to start making a list and checking it twice. Don’t forget weird Uncle Joe!

Map Out Your Game Plan

Alright, you have your list. Now what? Do I start scouring Amazon yet? Negative chief! Now you need to beef up your list. Go through each person on your list, and think of three distinct characteristics about each persons’ interests. You may have overlap across all of your gift recipients, but try to limit those as much as possible. Ideally you’re rank ordering them. Here’s an example:

Uncle Joe: goes fishing, loves football, strange affinity for cats.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully laid the groundwork for the actual research portion of your gift giving. That wasn’t so bad was it? This step is crucial because it helps you find a gift that is appropriate for that individual. In all likelihood, it should help eliminate the scenario where you and your cousin get them the same gift. Each persons interaction with the recipient is different. If everyone used this method, it’s very unlikely there would be overlap with the presents they receive.

While you’re making the list, it’s a good idea to try and set a budget. Don’t set it per person, that never works out. You may find as you’re buying items you start to exceed your budget. I always try to start on the lower end to build in some wiggle room. As a general rule I use the 80/20 rule. I set my initial cap at 80% of my actual budget. Then if a few presents get pricey I know I’m good.

The Different Types of Gifts

Here’s a surprise, there’s really only two types of gifts. Shocking I know, but it breaks down to the tangible and the intangible. Tangible gifts are the ones that take up space. These are the tech gadgets,clothing and apparel, decorations, novelty knick-knacks, etc. You’ll find these by the droves at pretty much every brick and mortar store in your area. It may seem obvious but if you can pick it up, it fits into the tangible category.

The second type of gift is the intangible gift. Experience gifts are the best example of this. What do I mean by “experience gifts?” Usually it is some type of event or activity that once complete, the lasting memory is what the gift recipient will carry on through their lives. There’s no need to have shelf space for this. Giving an experience is often seen as more sentimental. This is especially true if it is an experience you can share. Some examples include shows, concerts, trips, sporting events, etc. You get the idea.

The Actual Gift Guide: Choosing Your Present

It’s shopping time! Here’s where worlds collide, and the most difficult part of the gifting process begins. You have to take your list from game plan, to gift action. Let’s use good old Uncle Joe as an example. What do you think would matter more, getting him yet another fishing rod to add to his collection, or a fly fishing trip you plan for the two of you? Would he be happier with his favorite football players’ jersey, or a ticket to an upcoming game? Only you can decide what would make them the happiest.

Try and look at things from all angles. Not every gift has to be an item. However, sometimes that’s your only option. Maybe Uncle Joe has season tickets to the hometown games already, and you absolutely loathe fishing. The experience portion of those gifts is out the window at that point. Now you need to dig deeper. You could get the fishing rod, or you could try to find a cool fish finder or handmade lure.

Gift Guide: Presentation Matters

You’ve put in the thought, you’ve put up the cash, now it’s just wrapping the present or sticking the tickets inside a card you’ve signed right? And the survey says?…[X]

Take some time on your presentation. It can be funny, it can be sweet, do something out of the ordinary. Gents I’m talking to you specifically. That way even if you bomb on the gift (unlikely if you read this gift guide), at least the process of receiving the gift is memorable. Here’s an example:

My girlfriend and I love baseball. She played/plays softball, and I grew up on America’s past time. One day at a local MLB game we discussed hitting the stadiums. So guess what she got for Christmas as her big gift? Tickets to Roger’s Center in Toronto to see her team play the Blue Jays. Did I just send her the e-ticket to her email? Heck No! Did I just print it out and stuff it in an envelope? Wrong again. I bought a poster map of all the MLB stadiums, and attached the tickets to that and stuffed everything back in the poster tube. Not heavy at all, almost obvious it was a poster of some type sitting under the tree, but little did she know the surprise that waited.

And that folks is — what does Charlie Sheen say? — Winning! Sorry for the micro brag, I was super happy with the way that present turned out.

Gift Guide: Traps and Pitfalls

Alright, now we’ve reached the point in our gift guide where we cover those pesky pitfalls you’re bound to come across. Right from the get go, the dreaded pre-constructed list. This is the list that gets sent out among friends and family members alike from the gift recipient, also known as the “I want” or “Wishlist.” Do you want to compete for a gift that someone else has already bought? Maybe the person knows they’re likely to get the gift, where’s the fun in that? I’m not saying you can’t use the list for ideas, but verbatim purchases are rarely the way to go.

Next up, the “best sellers” list. I’m not necessarily talking about the top gifts in a certain category. I’m talking literally the items that have sold the most. Are these usually useful gifts? Absolutely, and I’m not saying they aren’t good gift ideas. But be cautious, especially around Christmas. Let them brag about the sweet gift you got them without their coworker saying “Me Too!” That takes the wind out of their sails pretty quick.

Finally, the re-gift. I’m not sure why I’m including this one. It is the rare occasion that a re-gift is the right idea. You didn’t like it. So much so that it never made it out the wrapper. Why would the next person feel any different? Just some proverbial food for thought.

And that is it ladies and gents. Assuming you’ve read this to the end, you should be well equipped to be the next giftasaurus in your family or circle of friends. Feel free to check out the rest of the site for ideas, or maybe perfect matches. If you enjoyed this content and found it helpful, signup to join the pack. Happy gift hunting!

This site (TheGiftasaurus.com) is owned and operated by Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC also participates in affiliate programs with Clickbank, CJ, and other sites. Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

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