By Dr. Eugene Brink
With year-end functions, secret Santa and Christmas coming up, a whole lot of gifts will be exchanged.
It is fun to receive something and gratifying to give a gift, but for many of us it is a riddle to buy a suitable gift for someone – especially if that someone is unfamiliar to you or has everything you can afford.
This leads to heightened frustration and long hours in shopping malls you could have spent doing something more enjoyable or relaxing.
We’ve compiled a brief list of tips to follow when hunting for gifts.
- Make a list of the things the person is interested in
Make this a long one and spend a few minutes writing down everything that you can. You obviously don’t have to buy everything on the list, but the brainstorming will lead to some interesting ideas, or even combinations of ideas. If you don’t know the person well (as is often the case with a colleague and secret Santa), pick the brains of their closer co-workers.
- Use the past as guideline
If you know the person well, this is a wellspring of ideas. Find out what gifts they received in the past or simply reminisce on what you’ve given them on previous occasions and take it from there. Maybe it was a certain type of chocolate treat, or a certain kind of clothing, that excited them. Try a variation of that.
- Give an experience
Most of us are way too obsessed with physical objects. Often people appreciate, enjoy and remember experiences better than something that will only fill one of their closets. Enter the experience gifts. If they enjoy comedy, find out where a good comedy show is being performed and get them tickets. Ditto music, concerts and shows. Buy them a movie ticket or two. Speak to your boss and offer to do a colleague’s work for a day whilst they take off. without putting in a day’s leave.
This type of giving could even be made more personal and be something the two of you do together.
- Make it delicious
No matter what the person has or who he or she is, food is the universal pleaser. Nobody will be disappointed by something yummy. This should preferably be something special – a naughty treat – and not a necessity. So, make it delicious! Give chocolate, wine, sweets, a box of coffee pods, or cappuccino sachets.
- Give the gift that keeps on giving
Revisit your ideas that you initially wrote down and see what can be turned into a subscription. Magazines, a year-pass to the movies or botanical gardens, multiple spa treatments or long-term free entry to one of their favourite places are just some ideas for “recurring gifts”.
- Find out what their goals and needs are for 2020 and beyond
It could be something as mundane as socks or stationery, or something such as a computer or a new phone or a piece of exercise equipment. It depends on the price and size of the gift. Decide what you can afford and serve your giftee’s needs.
- Diane Barth, 2 November 2013, “The Psychology Behind Choosing a Perfect Gift”, https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-couch/201311/the-psychology-behind-choosing-perfect-gift.
Lifehack.com, 2019, “How to choose the perfect gift”, https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-to-choose-the-perfect-gift.html.
Redditgifts.com, 7 December 2014, “12 ways to find the perfect gift for anyone”, https://www.redditgifts.com/blog/view/12-ways-find-perfect-gift-anyone/.