Friday, December 12, 2008

Shopping for gifts

'Tis the time of year when we all scramble for last minute party gifts. People have come to expect gift exchange at holiday events. It's sad to say that a lot of thought rarely goes into what is purchased.

If it's for a younger child you instinctively head to the toy aisle, an adult - a gift card, but what do you do for teens? You can get a CD, but who knows what any particular person is into? What about clothes? There again, you're stuck because you may guess the wrong size or may purchase something with a design that they don't particularly care for. Do you really want to give another gift card? (Yes, I know you do. Let's face it, it's easier, especially when you have 10 other things you could be doing.)

My thoughts on gift giving are these - if you care enough about a person to give a gift, put some thought into it, gift lists are tacky, and gift cards are generally cop outs (even if they requested it on their dreaded gift list!).

My reasoning behind this - a gift card shows lack of thought unless it's to a favorite restaurant. They always make me feel like I was an after thought or that the person didn't want to make the effort to select a more personal gift. Gift lists, to me, are just shy of demands and if I can't figure out what you might need or want, I probably shouldn't be buying you something to begin with. Also, gift lists take the surprise out of gift giving. Part of the fun is the element of surprise. If you know what should be in every box why even bother to wrap it?

With that said, here's a basic shopping guide:

  • Consider persons likes and dislikes. If you don't feel you know them well enough ask someone who has known them longer (and rethink why you're buying the gift to begin with).

  • Try to figure their size if your buying clothing. Trickery is easy and useful in this. You can compliment them and attempt to get it out of them - "Mary, have you lost weight? I think you look great! What size is that?" or pretend that their tag is hanging out and "tuck it in" while checking out the tag.

  • Be observative. When you're together, watch for things that they look at but don't purchase. Or, if you know that they constantly misplace things or always borrow certain items, make a purchase that could be a remedy for them.

  • If you absolutely have to go with a gift card make sure it's personal. Anyone can go to Walmart and get a gift card, but only you may know how much the person enjoys a certain restaurant or that they have been really stressed and may enjoy a massage.

  • Enjoy the shopping experience. If you are hurried or agitated when picking up the gift, it may show in the gift selection. Relax. Make sure that when you go shopping that you have enough time to consider your gift choice before making the purchase.

  • Most importantly, remember that you don't have to go broke for someone to enjoy your gift! Sometimes the smallest gifts are the most important and are enjoyed more often than something you place on a shelf.

No comments: