Fast forward to December 23 at 6 a.m. It's the last shopping day before Christmas, and you've left it way too late to buy anything online so you're heading out to your nearest shopping center with a list of 15 people to buy for. You're leaving so early because it's the only way you'll find a parking spot. On the off-chance that this doesn't sound like a whole heap of fun, you might want to take a more thoughtful approach while you still have time up your sleeve. Follow these Christmas gifting tips and not only will you make your own life easier, you'll also be spending your money on something that makes your favorite people happy — and that is the point of all this, after all.
1. Listen up.
If you listen to what people talk about, you'll find the clues to what they would like. This works for your nearest and dearest, as well as with those who are traditionally put in the "hard to buy for" basket. Find out about their interests, work out what would make their lives easier (check their Facebook page or Pinterest account), or what they might need to replace. This solves your gift-buying dilemma and sends a clear message that you care.
2. Save time.
Nobody likes wandering around the stores in December, hoping desperately for inspiration. Set some time aside to do your research by browsing online gift guides. If you are purchasing in store or at a major shopping center, you can often create a wishlist to help you plot your path for an efficient shopping trip that minimizes stress and wastes less time.
3. Add a personal touch.
There are lots of ways to give your gift that extra personal touch. Take a look online and find out how to have a name added to everything from artwork to spoons. You could even choose a gift that's tailored to someone's star sign, birthstone, or birth flower (yes, it's a thing).
4. Stop thinking about yourself.
Shopping is easier if you're buying things you like, but this isn't about you! The true art of gifting lies in finding something that makes the recipient's face light up, and if that's a garden gnome then put your own feelings aside and make it happen.
5. Give an experience.
Just because you can't wrap it doesn't mean it's not a gift. In the age of Marie Kondo, the idea of bringing more "stuff" home fills many people with a degree of horror. Memorable experiences can be as extravagant as a hot air balloon ride, as practical as a home styling workshop, wine club subscription, or food delivery voucher, or as simple as lunch for two at a favorite pub. If you get to be the plus one, so much the better!
6. Just ask.
When all's said and done, you're not a mind reader and sometimes just plain asking someone what they would like is the best way to ensure success. Sure, the element of surprise is nice, but if you aren't convinced it's a good one, it's probably best to play it safe.
This article was originally written by Fiona Joy. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.