Friday Fave – Gift Giving

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I know this is kind of a weird one. Just go with me here.

I think gift giving is a creative pursuit.

Person holding white a present with ribbon
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Think about it. It requires brainstorming, practice, inspiration. When it’s not coming together, it can be. So. Frustrating. Especially since you’re usually on a deadline.

But on the other hand, when lightning strikes and everything comes together, it feels so, so good. When someone opens your gift and says, this is exactly what I wanted! Or, even better, I didn’t even know I wanted this!

So, how do you get better at gift giving?

I’m no expert, but I’ve got a couple of ideas that can help.

Keep a wish list for the recipient

We usually give gifts to the same people over and over, right? There’s always a family member’s or close friend’s birthday coming, or an anniversary, or a Hallmark holiday. I think it’s particularly tough when a birthday falls shortly after the big winter gift-giving season (ie, now). It’s like, I just poured my heart and soul into getting wonderful, thoughtful gifts for so many people. I’m out of ideas.

Since Amazon sells almost everything, I keep my wishlists there. There’s also apps out there you can use. Even Pinterest could be a good idea – just be sure to keep your wishlist boards private! If I come across something, or hear about something, that I think someone I’m close to would like, I add it to their list. Then when I need to get them a gift, I go to the list and see if there’s something that’s still appropriate and in my price range. Even if there isn’t anything exactly right, it will give me ideas that I can riff off of.

Have an idea site

The easiest example here is buying gifts for kids. Years ago I stumbled on a site called Fat Brain Toys (no affiliation, just a fan). It’s a great place to shop for kids’ toys and gifts. The best part is that they have lists of gifts by age and gender. So when I don’t have any ideas, I go there to browse. Again, even if you don’t find the exact right gift, you’ll at least get some ideas.

If you’re not buying for kids, think about what your recipient generally likes. I have a lot of friends who are big Harry Potter fans. So if I were looking for something for one of them, I might try looking at the official Harry Potter shop.

For a good friend, you might even peruse your own wishlist. Presumably you’re friends because you share some interests, so the things you like may be things they would like as well.

Have a standby, but with a twist

If amazing ideas just aren’t coming, there’s nothing wrong with something like a gift card or a box of chocolate. But to make it a little more personal, add a little something fun to it. Maybe make a cute presentation or box for that gift card. Attach it to a sheet of stickers. One time, for a friend who loves Topo Chico, we taped a gift card on top of a case of them. Basically, the formula is a generic gift plus a tiny personal gift. That little extra something make your recipient like you went the extra mile.


I hope these ideas help you next time you’re stuck trying to think of a gift for someone. Just like any creative pursuit, gift giving can be hard sometimes, but it’s worth the effort.

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