We all know that delightful feeling – that moment when you know that you’ve found the perfect gift! The stars align, the gifting gods smile down, and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the item you hold in your hands is going to deliver instant joy and continual delight to someone you love! But most of us also know that, that feeling of gifting eureka is all too rare and can be downright elusive. Which of course, often leads to holiday gift buying stress! The very thing that makes the perfect gift so magical – deepening our connections with the ones we love – can also make us feel like our relationships are on the line with each gift we buy!
So, how to navigate all this and preserve holiday spirit and cheer? Develope a way to consistently find gifting inspiration for the ones you love and reap the joy and gratification that comes from giving someone something that clearly says “I get you, I see what you need or what makes you tic, and I care!” Because that, essentially is the essence of great gift giving. Thankfully, for you, I’ve done exactly that here! Go through my fun, 3 step “detective” process to consistently pinpoint the perfect gift for all your giftees, every time. The secret is – you already know what your loved one wants somewhere in your subconscious – you just need a method for consistently bringing it to the surface!
Scroll all the way down to find your 2 PRINTABLES – A Worksheet with the steps below + A pretty Gift List Organizing Spreadsheet!
The Gifting Detective Method
My method is simple yet very effective, in that it walks you through a brainstorming process that you can use over and over. Now, of course everyone knows that considering your giftee’s preferences and hobbies is the first step in gift buying but it’s easy to draw a total blank the minute you put yourself on the task! My fun little process sparks your creativity and gets your juices flowing by prompting you each step of the way. Let’s get to it!
Step 1 – Gather the Evidence
- Take a moment to remember the last substantive conversation you had with your giftee (beyond just a quick “hey how’s it going”)
- Take a moment to remember the last time you were with your giftee in person – particularly if it was at their house but could be anywhere.
Consider what you HEARD and what you SAW to find your clues in step 2.
Step 2 – Uncover the Clues by asking yourself the following questions
Things you may have HEARD…
- Did your giftee talk about something they are really into right now?
Could be an activity, a TV show, or a specific product. This is the low hanging fruit – they may have mentioned to you exactly what they want and you just had to think back to remember it! If this is the case – as in, your niece gushes to you over the phone about how much she loves Urban Decay makeup, she just wishes she could afford it – you’re done. Go directly out to the store to buy it – do not pass go, do not collect $200! (Sorry, monopoly reference) However, most of the time it’s not going to be quite that easy – no worries though – on to the next question!
- Did your giftee talk about something they are going through or dealing with?
This could be as serious as caring for an ailing parent or as benign as a struggle to successfully grow rose bushes. Either and anything in between could be a clue for a great gift. For the caregiver, for example – researching support networks for adult child caregivers or organizing a week of meal drop offs could make excellent gifts. And for the gardener – perhaps an exhaustive rose growing guide or a fertilizing and winterizing kit.
- Did your giftee tell you about a new project they are embarking on?
Could be work related or personal. Is the project something you have experience with? For example, is your friend taking on a kitchen remodel and you just finished one yourself? How about a gift card to a local Big Box store, with an offer to accompany her to pick out materials (paint, trim, tile, etc.)? Or, your cousin just mentioned he’s learning coding in order to compete for a new position within his company and you recently taught yourself coding with a brilliant book or software program – buy it for him!
Things you may have SEEN…
- The last time you were at your giftee’s house, what did you see?
When you opened a bottle of wine, were there enough glasses or did your host bemoan the fact that her husband just broke her last nice wine glass? When food was served, was it served on nice, appropriately sized serving dishes or did your host have to make due with piling her nice appetizers up on a too small plate? Does your host like to serve cheese and crackers but you noticed that her cutting board is old and cracked and her knives are dull? Buy her a pretty cheese board and serving set! Or, outside of the kitchen, did you notice that her walls were almost bare? A painting – I know where to find a few nice ones 😉 – or a framed inspirational quote make really nice gifts!
- The last time you saw your giftee what did you notice about her person?
Was your best friend struggling to zip up her jacket because of a broken zipper? If you feel you know her clothing taste well enough, buy her a new jacket! Or was she complaining that she can never find anything in her cavernous purse, as she searched for her keys? Did you recently find an amazing, compact and stylish bag, with lots of organizing pockets that you think she’ll love? Buy it for her! Plus a pro tip: always notice jewelry – what is she wearing and how does she wear it? Jewelry always makes a great gift because you can never really have too many pretty pieces. If you can find something that goes well with a piece she already has – you’ve got a surefire winner!
- This one is half seen & half heard – Did your giftee pay you any compliments on your clothing, bag, shoes, or jewelry? Or on something you have in your kitchen or home?
These compliments could definitely be clues for brilliant gift ideas! Just be sure that the compliment was made out of a legitimate interest in the item – rather than just a “friends compliment friends because that’s what they do” type moment. If you think about it, you’ll know the difference!
Step 3 – Check your Ideas against your giftee’s current life stage
This is an important step because while a gift may fit a giftee’s taste perfectly, it’s possible that it may not fit their life situation right at the moment. For example, you’re best friend might love a new cheese board but if she and her family are selling their home and contemplating a move across the country you may want to avoid buying her any material thing, just now. A “gift certificate” good for a day of your help going through her closet might be a far better gift (especially if you throw in a bottle of Rose’!) Or, if your niece just had a brand new baby, a complicated puzzle may not be the right gift for the moment, even if she’s ordinarily a puzzle fanatic! While this all may sound obvious, it is a great sanity check for your gift ideas up to this point because it provides an overarching perspective that can be missed when you get caught up in the details.
And that’s it! It’s that simple to come up with brilliant gift giving ideas every time! And now with our bonus Gift List Organizing Spreadsheet you can keep track of all your ideas and what you end up buying for each person! I don’t know about you but I have definitely forgotten about gifts that I’ve already bought only to find them under my bed the week after Christmas! 😆 This handy organizing spreadsheet helps you keep track of all the gifts you’ve bought and it even has a “Wrapped/Unwrapped” column so you can check off which gifts you’ve wrapped and easily see which ones still need to be wrapped.
Hope this fun gifting method is able to add some Joy and Christmas Magic back into your holiday gift buying!
Merry Christmas and much love!😘