The holiday season has been dubbed by many as the “most wonderful time of the year.” It’s a season that revolves around love, quality time, and giving thanks for things we may inadvertently take for granted the rest of the year. It’s a special time for people all around the world… but like all good things (cough, cough: marketing), it comes with a price to pay.
Like marketing, gift giving is an investment. Business owners invest in their brand, and gift-givers invest in the relationships in their lives. Yet, for many people, it’s still one of the least-liked holiday traditions. That’s because gift-giving – meant to be about generosity and appreciation – can quickly become overwhelming, time-consuming, and expensive if not thought through.
We’ve all been there, and we all try our best to give meaningful gifts without losing our minds (or our savings), but sometimes a seasonal shopper just needs a little help. This “gift giving guide” is the perfect recipe for making your holidays a little less stressful and a lot more special!
1. Snoop (just this once) for an online wish list or Pinterest board for full-proof ideas.
Normally we wouldn’t recommend spying on your loved ones, but special occasions call for special circumstances! Most people keep a list of things they want somewhere online, whether it’s an Amazon book wish list, a Netflix watch list (which can easily be turned into a cozy date night), or a Pinterest board full of “must-have’s.” And even if they don’t have a ready-made wish list, their overall online presence will usually provide some helpful hints as to what kind of items they want/need most. But be careful… this is still snooping, after all!
2. Low-cost gifts can have the biggest impact.
Low on funds this time of year? It happens! As we get older, it seems our holiday shopping lists get longer and longer. As a result, you’re bound to spend more money than you’d like. Luckily, not all meaningful gifts have to cost an arm and a leg.
Baked goods, handmade crafts, and other DIY gifts are typically affordable and appreciated by the masses. Remember, the holidays are all about putting EFFORT into the relationships that matter most to you. As long as you put effort into your gifts, people are sure to love them, no matter the cost.
3. Plan an activity as a gift.
If the person your shopping for lives an active lifestyle or enjoys experiencing new things, then get to Googling! There’s bound to be something going on near you that would make for the perfect gift. Think concert tickets, art classes, or a fun outdoor activity. And hey, if you can find something holiday-themed, even better!
4. Give to those in need in honor of someone on your list.
Unfortunately, it’s not the most wonderful time of year for everyone. All around the world, there are charities and organizations that depend on the support of others to help those in need. This holiday season, if you know someone who is especially close to a certain cause, consider giving the gift of donation. Whether you make a monetary donation, spend time volunteering on their behalf, or provide tangible items (such as clothing, food, or toys), it’s going to bring a warm, fuzzy feeling to all those involved, including the honoree.
Check out these organizations if you’re in need of some suggestions:
5. Make your gift a fun surprise!
Another great idea for shoppers on a budget. If you’re planning on celebrating with a large family or friend group this year, suggest a Secret Santa gift exchange in advance. This way, you’re only responsible for bringing one nice gift, but everyone involved has something to unwrap. Just don’t forget to set a spending limit! The last thing you want is someone you love feeling embarrassed or outshined around the holidays.
6. Appeal to one or more of their senses.
What are some of their favorite foods around this time of year? What about scents (think about their current candles, bath products, or perfume/cologne)? How about something nice to look at (jewelry or books, for example)? There are endless possibilities when you think about it this way! The best part of this idea? It shows you’ve been paying attention to what they like.
Note: This is an especially helpful tip when considering smaller items for stocking stuffing!
7. When in doubt, revert to old reliable…
As much as we hate suggesting it, sometimes cash and/or gift cards really are what people want. Many people prefer to pick their own gifts, rather than be surprised with something they won’t use or enjoy as much. No harm in that if it’s what they want!
It’s also helpful to keep a couple extra on hand for those unexpected people that you didn’t get a gift for (you know, like your brother’s new girlfriend or the 2nd cousin you haven’t seen in years that shows up to the family Christmas party). Worst case scenario, you won’t have any unexpected guests and you can use them on yourself. Talk about a win, win!
Whatever the gift, the most important thing to remember is to tailor it to the recipient. According to a 2017 survey taken by Gift.com, 41% of people preferred gifts that were personalized to them, rather than gifts that were practical, flashy, or experiential. Of course, that doesn’t mean those types of gifts don’t have a place in your holiday season! It just shows that the most important part of gift-giving is and always will be knowing your audience (like in marketing!).
We hope these tips were just what you needed to help “guide” your creativity this season!
Have a tip of your own? We’re all ears! Drop a comment below or share your tips with us on social media to help inspire others to get creative.
As always, thanks for reading and HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at Asen!