Most people love receiving gifts. Gifts are fun and exciting. They make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because someone was thinking of you. And if the gift is something you actually really wanted, then it can make you so happy you’d be literally jumping for joy. So we’re agreed – gifts are great. Right?

But what about finding gift ideas for other people? Errrrrr… Not as much fun. I mean, giving gifts can be great fun if I manage to find the right gift. I used to have this fantasy that I would be that person who always gives the perfect gift. Stylish and tasteful gifts, so beautifully wrapped that it’s almost a shame to unwrap them. Unfortunately, reality hits every time with this painful truth: I hate shopping for gifts. I am really bad at it.  And you know what? Most people don’t know how to buy gifts properly. I know, because I asked a lot of people, and almost all of them had very scared looks on their faces when I mentioned picking a gift for someone else.

So let’s figure it out: Why is it so hard for us to come up with gift ideas?


We don’t know what people want


What  happens when you ask a grown-up what they want for their birthday?

“I don’t know.”

“Nothing. I really don’t need anything.”

Even waterboarding wouldn’t get the information you need out of them. Some people don’t know what they want. Some just can’t remember. But in most cases, they just feel weird about it and they’re too embarrassed to tell you the truth. It goes against social norms for anyone past the age of 16. Even if they did know what they wanted, they don’t know how much you want to spend. It’s all very awkward and uncomfortable, so they say nothing.


Gift-shopping is a nightmare

I love shopping. Searching for things to buy for myself can be a real pleasure. However, when I have a deadline over my head and no information to help me, it can be extremely nerve-wracking.

Let’s say I was looking for a birthday gift for a family member, but I don’t really know what she likes. Add to that the fact that I don’t remember what I got her for her last birthday, or any of her birthdays for that matter. It could be really embarrassing if I get her a scarf for the third year in a row, even if scarves are one the best things in the world and I have three drawers full of them because I need them and I don’t have a problem, really, I can stop whenever I want. But normal people don’t need 700 scarves, and she might even be offended if I give her the same gift a second time. So I might try to pick something that I don’t think I have bought her before. I’d find myself standing in a store trying to decide between two items: One looks really cool, but what if it’s not to her taste? The other is pretty and a “safer” choice, but less exciting. What should I go with? I don’t know! I need help…


We care about what the gift says about us

I can think of several times when I saw a really cute potential gift that I thought a friend would love to get, that’s right for my budget, but I still didn’t buy it. Why? Because the gift looked cheaper than it’s actual price, and I didn’t want to look cheap.

A gift is not just a gesture of giving with the purpose of making someone else happy. It’s also a status symbol. If I give a cool gift, it means I’m a cool person. Giving a pricey gift says that I’m successful or generous. If I give a gift I made myself, it says that I am thoughtful and talented.

We sometimes forget to take into account the most important thing – what does the person receiving the gift actually want? And why do we do that? We already established that – we have no idea what they want.

Instead of going into an egocentric spin of anxiety about what is the right gift and what people might think of me, I would really truly prefer to give the people I love gifts they actually want to receive.



So what can we do?

It’s simple, really. Find out what the person really wants, and give it to them. I tried it with a few people, and results were unbelievable. People get very excited and moved when they receive a gift they asked for and even knew they were going to get – just like little kids.

For example, a couple of years ago I got one of my lovely sisters-in-law a gift card to her favorite fashion store. She was of course happy and thanked me with a hug, but the gift didn’t feel personal or special, so she wasn’t particularly excited. Then the year after that, I got her two specific sweaters that I knew she wanted from the same store. This was basically the same gift as the year before – same store, same value. But the added emotional value from giving something specific that she wanted was immense. Every time I saw her wearing one of those sweaters (which look great on her!), I felt proud, happy, and close to her. I believe she feels the same way.

Source :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *