Gift giving is one of the best ways to show someone how much you appreciate and love them and it should absolutely not feel like a chore. The moment you see a product and think that it will put a smile on the face of the receiver when opening it helps you know that you have just found the best present for that person. However, for some people, trying to find the ideal gift for a friend or a family member, or at least something that won’t end up in their trash, is one of the biggest sources of pre-holiday anxiety. But why does holiday gift-giving make us feel anxious and pressured when giving presents is supposed to make us happy? Psychologists say that some people are awful gift-givers precisely because they spend too much time trying to be considerate. So, if you are a bad gift giver; before you struggle to sort through the likes, dislikes, and wishes of the people on your holiday gift-giving list, here are a few tips to help you become better at buying gifts.

The Art of Thoughtful Gift Giving

Many people consider that sometimes the ideal gift isn’t about how much you give but how much love you put into it. Thoughtful giving is closely tied to compassion, love, and gratitude that you want to show to your loved ones. So, all you have to do is to swap the stress and anxiety of purchasing the perfect present for the true pleasure of generosity. As long as you share the gift from the bottom of your heart, it is very unlikely for your gift to end up in the trash of the receiver. Even a heartfelt note can be a gift itself as long as it reminds someone how much you care about them and cherish them. The easiest way to achieve mindful gift giving is to personalize each gift to the recipient and their values. Recall what they are passionate about, what makes them laugh, or what valuable memory you share with that person.

Pay Attention to What They Say

Sometimes, buying the ideal gift is actually easier than you think. If you are buying a gift for a person that you are very close to, it is very likely that he/she has mentioned what they wish or don’t wish for in one of your conversations. You can get a lot of inspiration from what that person says. For example, if your friend keeps whining about something that they constantly used but stopped working, all you have to do is to buy that thing that will solve their regular problem in their life.

Take A Look at Their Social Media Feed

Who would have imagined that you can actually do more with social media than chatting with your friends and liking their posts? You can actually become a spy for a little bit and go through the likes and hearts of your loved ones on their social media accounts. On their profiles, you will be able to see a whole list of places and pages that they have an interest in. From there, it is easier to find something that they would like to have.

Give the Gift of An Experience Rather than An Object

As mentioned before, psychologists believe that some people are bad at giving gifts because they think too much about the reaction the receivers will have when opening their gifts. However, as long as you know for sure that there is something in the world that would make the person that you are buying the gift for to laugh, cry out of joy, or hug you, then you should definitely go for it. Depending on the person, some people would rather like to receive an experience that makes them feel intense emotions. For example, you can buy them tickets to things that they are interested in, such as a concert of their favourite band, sports events, comedy shows, cooking classes, and the list goes on.

Give Them A Little Bit of Yourself

Giving is actually sharing something that you know it will make your loved ones happy, so share something that is meaningful to you. Therefore, if you have an item that has completely turned your life for good and you enjoy it a lot, there is nothing wrong with buying one for your friends or family as well. So, if you are absolutely in love with a book, a blanket, or a cosmetic product, then go ahead and give it as a present to share the things you love with them.

When in Doubt, Ask

You might be thinking that gift-giving should be a surprise and the person that you are buying for shouldn’t suspect anything. However, if you have absolutely no idea what they would wish for, then it is better to ask them than to buy something that they don’t like. Although they won’t look surprised while unwrapping the gift, you will know for sure that it is something that they have definitely wished for. 

Don’t Overdo the Gift Wrap

Gift wrapping is another tip you need to keep in mind.  Wrapping the present in a plain brown paper or decorating it with a beautiful satin ribbon is good enough to make it look classy and fashionable. Pretty wrapping can raise expectations for a gift and increase the disappointment of the receiver if the present does not live up to them.

Simple and Practical is Good

Sometimes, when shopping for gifts for our loved ones, we tend to think that a fancier and more expensive gift will be more appreciated when in fact, receivers can actually be happier with cheaper and more practical presents. It is wrong to think that things like price and the effort that you put into a gift matter when the person you are giving it to does not see the work or price tag. They will only focus on how your present will fit into their lives and become a useful tool. So, do not think that you have to go to the other end of the world and pay a fortune for a present, believing that it will be appreciated more. Instead, choose something that would actually be useful and meaningful for your friend or family member.


Melvin is an Entrepreneur, Life Coach, and Chinese Metaphysics Practitioner. He holds an EMBA and he is a passionate and engaging teacher, known for his unique combination of science, research, and spirituality.

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