Picture this scenario: You’re frantically trying to finish that last bit of work before heading home for the weekend when you get a text from one of your friends reminding you about their birthday party tomorrow night. You think to yourself, “Crap! I forgot to get them a gift!” I’m here to help you avoid putting yourself in that situation ever again. Here are my top five tips for giving the perfect gift.
- Think about what they need – Now before you roll your eyes and write off this tip as un-fun, there’s a reason this tip is first. This tip is to get the juices flowing in the gift-giving section of your brain. Did your sister just complain to you that one of the wheels fell off of her suitcase? Did you just get off the phone with your best friend who talked about how her hair dryer smells like fire? As you’re having these conversations, make mental notes of potential gift buzz-words (from the above examples, suitcase, hair dryer). Once you have an item in mind, you can focus your attention on finding the perfectly colored/customized/technologically-advanced one!
- Focus on the experience – In having these conversations with the soon-to-be-birthday-girl/boy, they could mention experiences rather than items they wish to experience/re-live. In this instance, repeat the same mental-noting process with these experience-related buzzwords. If they keep talking about the upcoming Maroon 5 tour, look into tickets for you and them. If they keep talking about their favorite sports team coming to town, look for sporting event tickets.
- If the birthday-haver is tightlipped with what they want, pick an item that can add to their life. That being said, I don’t recommend trying to change this person’s lifestyle with your gift. For example, if someone is naturally unorganized and has no desire in becoming more organized, perhaps an agenda and/or an under-the-bed organizer aren’t the best gift ideas for this person. Rather, play up the strengths of the person turning one year older – get multi-colored, good quality pens and stickers for the planner junkie, get new weight-lifting gloves and a water bottle for the fitness enthusiast, see what I mean?
- Start. Early. This is my #1 tip for anyone trying to give a gift – ever (Yes, I start my Christmas shopping in August – no shame). Personally, it’s very important to me that the birthday boy/girl feels extra special and extra loved on their birthday so my mantra comes in handy – better to find the perfect gift four months in advance than one day too late.
- And finally, number five: When all else fails, just ask. This is my most recently learned tip. Growing up, whenever my sister and I got asked what we wanted for our birthdays or Christmas, we would shrug and say “I don’t know.” Somehow, our parents managed to pick out an item that added something to our lives. It wasn’t until I came to college and met people who came from families that told each other specific items that they wanted.
(More on the blog: How to Keep in Touch Throughout the Year Featuring Paperless Post)
I am a huge fan of birthdays and celebrations in general, but I want to make something clear, a gift does not make or break a birthday or celebration. In my eyes, the most significant part of any celebration are the people you celebrate with – everything else is just extra.