For some, giving and receiving gifts is their love language. For you, it might be another story. But like everything in life, you can become a better gift-giver with a little practice.
Here are 5 ways to become a better gift-giver:
Listen and Observe
Pay attention to the person you are buying a gift for. Listen to their day-to-day conversations intently.
Below are a few ideas to observe more closely:
- What problems have they been experiencing that your gift could help them solve? Examples: Coffee gets cold too quickly (coffee warmer plate or new to-go mug). You overheard they don’t love their current hair salon (gift certificate to a new one with great reviews). They’ve mentioned they need some quiet time away from the kids (massage at a day spa).
- Pay attention to what they’ve been consuming regularly and give them something you know they already enjoy. Consumables make excellent gifts, especially for people who say they don’t need anything or don’t know what they want.
- Where have they been spending their time? Make note of a favorite restaurant, bakery, coffee shop or boutique they mention frequently.
If the opportunity arises to go shopping with them – take it, even if you aren’t a big shopper yourself. See what types of things capture their attention. If there is something they like, but they don’t buy it for themselves, go back to the store at a later time. Not only is it thoughtful, but it shows you are paying attention and present when you are spending time with them.
Do Some Detective Work
Buying a gift for a co-worker or boss but not really sure what they need or are interested in? Ask around. Talk to friends and family of the gift recipient. Is there something they’ve had their eye on lately that they don’t want to spend the money on? Are they saving up for something big that you could give them a smaller amount in the form of a gift card to help them reach their goal sooner?
It never hurts to do a little digging if the person who you are buying for isn’t someone you spend a lot of time with.
Giving gifts doesn’t need to be stressful. Some types of items can send the wrong message depending on who you are giving it to.
Here are a few items to avoid gifting:
- Pets – It may seem like a sweet idea to buy a puppy or other furry little creature to give a loved one. A pet is a huge responsibility and requires a large commitment of not only time but money too.
- Cleaning Supplies – “Are you trying to tell me something?” Unless you’ve discussed the idea of needing a new vacuum for a gift beforehand, avoid gifting any items related to cleanliness.
- Alcohol – Unless you specifically know your gift recipient loves a certain type of wine or spirit, it’s best to leave the booze at home. Many people do not drink for health reasons.
- Clothing – Specifically if you don’t know their size. You wouldn’t want to offend anyone who is sensitive about their body size.
- Plane Tickets – Half the fun is planning the adventure! Not everyone loves to travel or has the time to take off work. If you’re going to buy someone a plane ticket, talk with them first rather than surprising them.
Follow The Rules
Don’t Spend Extra On Gifts
If you’re participating in a gift exchange be sure to stick to the guidelines. Don’t spend more than the recommended amount. Spending more sends the wrong message to the other people giving gifts and can make the gift recipient feel uncomfortable.
Give Work Gifts Privately
Nothing is worse than making another co-worker feel left out or that their gift didn’t measure up to yours. If you are going to give a gift to your boss or a co-worker be courteous of others and give it to them privately.
It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of having to look for a gift last-minute. We’re all busy. But being busy is a choice. How you spend your time is a choice. We all are given the same amount of time in life.
Add Important Events To Your Calendar
If you truly would like to be a top-notch gift giver add birthdays, anniversaries and holiday reminders to the calendar you use regularly. Make sure it’s something you look at daily. Don’t leave it up to Facebook to tell you when birthdays are.
Set a notification to remind you a month before the event and the day-of to make sure you have time to find the perfect gift.
One of the easiest ways to be an excellent gift-giver and all-around nice human being is to simply say “thank you”.
If you receive a gift from someone you didn’t give a gift to don’t feel the need to mention you didn’t get them anything. Be gracious and show them you appreciate their thoughtfulness by sending them a separate thank-you note.