In my family when we bought someone a gift we asked ourselves 3 questions:
- The first criteria – “What do they NEED?”.
- If we answered ourselves in the affirmative the next question asked – “What DON’T they have?”
- And the final test to pick a gift – “Would the gift be USEFUL to them?”.
Sometimes the resulting gift was wonderful and appreciated. This, I will admit, was often when the gift giver didn’t follow those rules or asked the recipient what they WANTED.
Entering adulthood I learned that my family-rules-of-gift-giving are waaaaay off. Here are my own guidelines (I’ve been told that I am pretty good at picking out gifts that hit the mark):
- Give people what they already have! I know, this doesn’t seem to make sense. Nobody needs what they already have. But if they have it, they LIKE it. If they have a whole lot of whatever it is, they like it a whole lot. So get them more. They will love it. They have already told you by their own choices.
- If they don’t have it be sure they want it. This is something I have been guilty of–I think they need this. It would be good for them to have this. But if it’s easy for them to get and they haven’t gotten it . . they may not want it, unless it’s new or updated.
- Wrap it beautifully or creatively. The neuroscience bears this out: When people are impressed by the wrapping that carries over to the gift. This is a similar concept to the wine testing that found people like a wine better when they are told it costs a lot, and like it less when told it is cheap – when it’s the exact same wine.
- Use their colors & style. Think about the colors they wear or have in their homes. If you are getting clothes, this is also true of style–do they dress like a tomboy or a diva? Match their style. Matching style is good for everything, even a toaster.
- Give an experience or time. Help them do more of what they love: Tickets to an event, creating free time (Your time babysitting, pet walking, running errands, cooking a meal etc ), Always ask yourself the same questions you would for a physical gift – Would they want/enjoy this?, Will it be easy for them to do?)
- Resist temptation to get what YOU would want,
- Think about how they will use it later, not so much about how they will react when opening the gift
- Ask what they would like (research on gifts shows following the gift list is more appreciated than off list items).
- If you’ve found a great gift that fits more than one person, go ahead, give the same gift to different people.
- Don’t go too fancy or complicated as most people want easy and convenient (unless you know they like fancy).
- Let them know you were thinking about them–why you got it, what it reminded you of about them (especially for unusual or weird gifts).
- if you give a “big” gift, leave it at that. Additional small gifts decrease the perceived value of a big gift
- Ask their friends or look at their Facebook page for ideas on what they like (hobbies, interests, clothes/jewelry do they wear in their photos)
Are there gift-giving guidelines you follow? Let me know!