How to Choose the Perfect Gift for Everyone on Your List This Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, but for many, choosing the right gift seems like an impossible chore. You might feel like you’re under a lot of pressure to choose the perfect gift, and maybe even to do so without much guidance. Your spouse might insist that he or she doesn’t want anything for Christmas, but you know you’re going to be in hot water if there’s nothing under the tree with his or her name on it come Christmas morning. You might not be lucky enough to get gift suggestions from your recipients, and even if you are, buying someone exactly what they’ve asked for puts a bit of a damper on the Christmas magic. What’s a gift giver to do?

The good news is that buying Christmas gifts doesn’t have to be a headache – if you follow these tips. Consider the message your gift sends; think about what your recipient might like, want, or need; remember recent events in the recipient’s life. With a little brainstorming, anyone can come up with gift ideas that are sure to please.

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Brainstorm Gift Ideas

If you have to buy someone a gift and you truly have no idea where to begin, start with a brainstorming session. Set a timer for three minutes, and spend those minutes writing down everything you can about who your loved one is, what he or she is interested in, and what defines his or her identity. Make this list as long as possible.

Now, brainstorm at least one item, small or large, to go with each item on that list. Not every single one of those things will be a great gift idea, but you’re bound to hit on at least one thing that your recipient will really love. Don’t hesitate to get creative. If your recipient already has a lot of stuff, maybe he or she will appreciate the gift of an experience that aligns with his or her tastes. Or, you can think about what he or she might need in more general terms than material possessions – maybe you can give your wife the gift of some personal time by hiring a cleaner to handle the housework, for example.

Think about What’s Been Happening in Your Recipient’s Life

Maybe your best friend’s cat died six months ago, and she’s been grieving ever since. Maybe your little sister just graduated from university. Maybe your mother just retired, and has been talking about taking piano lessons. Thinking about recent events in your recipient’s life is a great way to come up with personalised Christmas gift ideas. Your best friend might appreciate a framed painting of her beloved late pet; your little sister might like a diploma frame; your mother might appreciate a few piano lessons.

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Listen for Conversational Clues

Most people will talk about things they want, and if you pay attention to what they might say in idle conversation, you’ll be one step ahead of the gift-buying game. Has your wife complained about a broken appliance? Has your brother been talking about a new tool he wants? Pay attention when your loved ones talk about the things they enjoy or the purchases they’d like to make, but also listen for statements that begin with things like, “I really wish I had…” or “I wish I didn’t have to…” or “It’s really difficult to…” and think about things you could buy, give, or do to alleviate those situations.

Stalk Social Media

It might sound creepy, but checking your loved one’s social media is another easy way to figure out what they might like. Not only will social media give you insight into what the person likes, some sites even provide areas where users can curate lists of items they want to buy in the future. A peek at your loved one’s Amazon Wish List can reveal all the clues you’ll need.

Think of a Gift as a Message

When you remember that a gift is a means of communication, it can make it much easier to choose the right one. Ask yourself what you’d like to say to the person, and what you can give to communicate that. Remember, the message of a gift and its commercial value are seldom connected. At Christmas time, as always, it’s the thought that counts.