Choosing Gifts A Guide

As birthdays, major holidays, weddings and baby showers roll around each year, the pressure of finding perfect gift ideas can become stressful. But finding great gifts doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, it’s not difficult at all if you remember the cardinal rule of gift giving: make it about your recipient, not about you. Instead of looking for gifts that you like, think about what kind of gift your recipient will enjoy. Use this gift-buying guide to help you find the perfect present, no matter what the occasion.

Finding the Perfect Present for the Occasion

Some holidays and occasions lend themselves better to themed gift giving than others. For example, traditional food-based gifts such as wine, pistachios, gourmet baskets and homemade desserts are popular at Christmas because most people are in a festive mood and holiday celebrations often involve food. Winter-themed items can also be a perfect present for Christmas, since people in many areas experience cold weather for several months after the holiday. New coats, skis and ice skates are great winter gifts.

Likewise, some occasions dictate specific gift-giving etiquette. For example, engaged couples and expectant parents typically set up a gift registry before a wedding or baby shower. A gift registry is a list of items the recipient wants or needs, such as fine china for an engaged couple, or burping cloths, clothing and baby-bath needs for new parents.

Although it’s not always easy to choose the perfect present for every situation, allowing the holiday or occasion to guide you may make finding perfect gift ideas easier.

Personalized Gift Ideas

Although asking recipients what they want is the easiest way to find a good gift, most people would rather find the perfect present on their own, without directly asking. If this is the way you prefer to find gifts, then you’ll need to pay close attention to your recipient. Take note of his hobbies and look for a gift that fits his interests. Pay attention to conversations, too. If your sister mentions that an important possession is old or needs replacing, consider surprising her with a new one. Personalized gift ideas based on the recipient’s interests, wants and needs are thoughtful and almost always appreciated.

Perfect Gift Ideas on a Budget

Finding the perfect present on a budget can be a challenging task. But the ideal gift doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you play to your own strengths. Are you a whiz in the kitchen? Consider whipping up some cookies or fudge and wrapping them in pretty paper. If you’re good with a camera, take some candid and posed shots of your recipient (or his family and friends) and frame them. But remember that for the really important people in your life, the best gift you can give them is your time—and that’s free.