I’m good at buying presents.  There’s very very few things that I think I’m good at, but buying presents is definitely one of them. I like shopping and I like curating things, so buying presents is an extension of that. I mean, it’s shopping without the guilt, what’s not to love?  I think anyone can be good at gift-giving, it just take preparation and planning.  Even though I enjoy it, I still think finding the right gift can be very extremely stressful. So here’s how I approach it to try and make the holiday season go a bit smoother:

    Make notes
    It might be a little late for this one this year, but I think it’s one of the most important tools. Whether it’s on a phone or on a piece of paper, make notes when your friend and family say they like something. I have a notebook where I write down thoughts and ideas, along with things they’ve said they like. It might seem silly in January to write down that your aunt said she liked the necklace she saw online but you’ll be glad in November.

    Search general topics
    If you don’t know what specific item you want to get someone, try searching some bigger topics on online stops; just more general interests will give you some inspiration and help give you an idea of what’s out there. Brain storm about what you know they like; food, movies, products etc. For example, I know one of my friends loves The Nightmare Before Christmas. So I went onto Amazon and literally just searched for ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’. I scrolled through a few pages, and found a mug that said ‘Skellington Coffee’ in a copy of the Starbucks logo. This is perfect because the person I was looking for loves Starbucks too. I would never have thought of searching for this exact item, so sometimes just approaching it from more a general perspective means that it’s not only less daunting but you might something you didn’t even know exists.

    Don’t be afraid of gift cards
    People think they’re impersonal, but it’s all in the delivery. For example, I’m going to put a Starbucks gift card in the Skellington Coffee cup I mentioned above. Sure it’s a gift card but it’s something she will use and it’s presented in something thoughtful. You don’t have to buy a mug, you could make their card, buy some chocolate you know they like etc. Or really just buy a giftcard to a place you know they love. Maybe it’s because I know I’m hard to shop for and I’m very picky, but I would never be mad at a giftcard. On a sidenote, did you know you could get Netflix giftcards? I didn’t!! But that’s so cool!

    Gift guidessushi-socks
    It’s time consuming but look at gift guilds, both on YouTube or online stores. They tend to have more general presents but they may get your imagination working. Most websites have them, I love ASOS for random gift ideas (really I just love ASOS in general), but there are tons of different options out there. I found socks on ASOS that I’m going to give people this Christmas (sushi socks and Star Wars socks – both are sold old but they have tons of other options).  I think funky socks are a fun idea because they’re a classic – the ultimate socking stuffer – but if you find a cool pair with something somebody likes on them, they are also thoughtful and useful.

    Keep an open mind
    You never know when you’re going to see something for somebody. Recently I went away for the weekend and ended up in a wind-chine store (who know they were a thing?).  They had a bunch of random things, and in a corner I found some fossils. Now I know that seems like a ridiculous present but the person I bought it for will love it! So the moral of the story is, you never know when you’re going to find something, so if you’re struggling to find something for someone, try not to stress about it, just keep your eyes peeled and your mind open.

    Remember, presents don’t have to be a physical object, you can always go for plays or concerts.  That’s what my parents are getting me for Christmas, tickets to see the King and I in February.  I normally get that kind of thing for my parents too. It gets more expensive, but in the past I’ve gotten them tickets to something in the UK and bought flights and a hotel for them too. Food is also always a good options, so whether that’s a cooking class or a giftcard to dine somewhere, everybody’s gotta eat!

    Remember that giving gifts should be fun and about the thought, don’t get too stressed out about! Have fun with it and enjoy the holiday season.