How to Give the Best Present for the Holidays


Erica Niehoff

Gift-giving is an art that some succeed in, but many fail at. From buying ugly socks to boring card games, many struggle to think of a present that is best suited for their gift receiver. Whether it’s a friend or a random person you got for a gift exchange, this article will help you one-up Santa and be known as the best gift giver.

First and foremost, which seems obvious, it is important to know who the gift receiver is. Try to take note of what they like. Do they like sweets, and if so do they like chocolate? Do they wear jewelry, if so are they gold or silver person? Do they like plants, or do they not have the responsibility of keeping them alive? Do they like cool stuff like suncatchers or something practical like a mug? Do they have any hobbies? Keep these things in mind and act accordingly. These will depend on how close you are to the gift receiver. Are they a good friend? If so, then you should probably have an understanding of their aesthetics and what they are interested in. If they’re someone you were matched up with for secret Santa or randomly got invited to their birthday party, then make sure you play it safe. Gift cards are a little too easy, but can’t be wrong if you’re under pressure. However, try thinking of something creative in order to impress them and possibly start a friendship.

Secondly, whenever you’re in doubt, get something practical. Don’t get them a funny sweatshirt if you know they won’t wear it. If you have no idea what this person wants, then get them a mug, reusable straws, fun holiday socks, a mug, cool pens, some snacks. Something practical that they would use. Especially if you aren’t close, don’t give them something that they would put on display. Something simple that isn’t too flashy or unique should do the trick. As your friends and take note of gift ideas that they all like. Most would say candy. However, this can be tricky so many ask one of your gift reivers friends what type of candy they like. 

Additionally, keep in mind what they buy and what gifts they give to others. Take note of what things they mention they like or want to buy. Not only this, but you can also see someone and their interests by seeing what they buy others. Giving someone an experience instead of a tangible gift can also be a great present. Whether it’s paying for the check when out for dinner, paying for a massage, or buying concert tickets, giving someone an experience that they can shape to what they want is also a great way to make your gift recipient happy.

If you’re really stuck, look at their social media. Whether it’s Vsco or Pinterest, look to see what they like or what they want. Some often reblog items they want or have an interest in. Not only this but any music streaming app is also a great way to find out what they like, if you look at their “favorite songs” playlist and notice an artist or band they like a lot, maybe get them some sort of memorabilia surrounding it. Also, keep in mind accomplishments that they have made recently. Maybe they just started recently driving? Maybe get them a keychain or a funny bumper sticker to commemorate that.

Another classic way to know what to get someone is to go shopping with them. Whenever they point out something they like or want, remember the store and come back later. Perfect and easy way to get the job done.

If you are a creative craft person, you are in luck. Everyone loves the idea that you spent time on something that you made just for them. Sadly, it’s not elementary school where you can make a sad arts and crafts project for your mom’s birthday. This can be a little tricky though because like previously mentioned, you want to make sure it is practical. If you a close friend, however, this doesn’t necessarily apply because more likely than not they will want a tangible item that shows you care about them. Making keychains, jewelry, pins, paintings, whatever it is, your gift receiver will appreciate the knowledge that you created this item just for them. If you are struggling with money, know that time = money, so the more time you spend on something the more appreciation you will receive. You don’t have to spend money and you recipient likes it? Seems like a win, win. If you are not so creatively gifted, you can always go on Etsy, Instagram shops, or any small business and support people to do the work for you. Buy locally as well to support stores in your town. Yes, it might be a little pricey, but not having to do any work and the idea that you are supporting a small business and giving your friend a cute gift is worth it.

The most important step that a lot of people forget is a card. Once again this depends, don’t write a four-page essay about how much you love a person if you barely know them. However, if it is a friend make sure you give a card. Don’t just buy a hallmark card and sign your name. Try to buy a blank one or make your own and write how much you care about them. The good thing about this is if you can’t break the bank, then writing a card is free, it just might take a little time and your hand might hurt afterward. Words speak volume, so if you can’t afford to buy a gift or make one, words will let someone you know how you truly think about them. Sentimental values, especially between friends and family, is priceless.

Also, keep in mind that all of this thought process should be done in advance, don’t rush anything at the last minute because they will notice. Giving yourself enough time to create a list of ideas and decide what is ultimately the best is an important step to giving the best present.

In the end, it’s never wrong to flat out ask them if you really are stumped, but it’s so much rewarding to see the recipient grateful for the present you gave specifically for them.

In the end, as long as you put thought into the gift, it will be appreciated. Showing that you know a person by giving them something is extremely flattering and can help grow your relationship. Overall, becoming known as a great gift-giver is easier than you thought and comes with great rewards.