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How to Buy the Perfect Christmas Gifts for Friends and Family

Updated on December 19, 2012
A crazy Christmas shopping crowd.
A crazy Christmas shopping crowd.

Christmas is everyone's favorite time of year and everybody loves giving the perfect Christmas gift to someone they care about, whether it is a family member, close friend or even significant other. However, sometimes buying gifts can be a pretty difficult and stressful time, especially when you leave it to the last minute like I do!

Here are some tips that I like to use when trying to buy everyone the right Christmas gift over the holiday season.

1. Do as You're Told!

Hey, why make things complicated? If somebody has made it completely clear what they absolutely want, then why not get it for them. Now be careful with this one. If they just threw out some ideas because you asked, and they had to think about it, chances are you can probably do better. But some years, you just get lucky and you know that there's only one thing that is going to make somebody happy that year. Doesn't mean you can't get them something else to go with it, if you prefer to give surprises!

2. Use Your Initial Gut Reaction

If you haven't been given specific direction in what to get someone, then your first step should be to stop and think, "what would be a good gift for them?" This may sound silly and obvious, but the second you think about it if a clear, fantastic, epiphany of an idea pops right into your head, then chances are you have the perfect gift idea right there! Don't fight your instincts, if it seems obvious then it probably is!

Gifts under the tree.
Gifts under the tree.

3. Use a Personal Touch

If you're buying for a person you're very close to or that you know very well, then the chances are you probably have some stories, past events, things you've done together or knowledge of one another than is unique to the two of you. This is a perfect opportunity to play to what you know and buy something that means something and shows more thought than an average gift. A lot of times you can do this without having to break the bank, and it often means a lot more to the person receiving it. It's difficult to give examples, seeing as each gift should be unique, but let's say you're friend once told you they had always wanted to learn guitar but ever did, buy them a book on learning guitar. Or if your first date with your significant other was sushi, buy her a sushi making kit. Something that requires a little thought can go a long way, and can also help give you some ideas!

4. Ask For Help

If you're really struggling, and even the personal touch idea is drawing a blank, you can try using some valuable resources around you. Ask their friends and family if they know what they want or need. Oftentimes they will have some insights that you may not, and can also give you an idea of what they may already be receiving from others. There's no shame in asking for some help, especially if you don't know the person quite well enough yet. Also, some people are just really hard to buy gifts for!

5. Go the Quantity Route

Everybody loves getting a lot of presents. That's what's so great about Christmas stockings and why kids go crazy for them. So if you can't find that ONE perfect gift, then one idea is to buy a bunch of small gifts and lump them all together. There's something about the "goody bag" style that seems to go over well with a lot of people. Now, this isn't to say you should just throw a bunch of junk in there. Find a nice combination of smaller gifts that fall into the "personal touch" category, some general gifts that are good for everyone, like gift cards or snacks, and some other small stuff you may know that they need.

I am certainly no gift giving expert. In fact, quite the opposite, which is probably why I have to think about tactics such as these each Christmas season. But I hope these five Christmas gift-giving tips will help spark some ideas for anyone struggling this holiday season. At the end of the day, just do your best and don't get frustrated. If they're close friends and family, they're probably worth the stress and hassle!

Merry Christmas! Happy Shopping!

Uncle Eddie gave Clark exactly what he asked for!
Uncle Eddie gave Clark exactly what he asked for!


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    • jmartin1344 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      Thanks W1!

    • W1totalk profile image


      5 years ago

      This is the method of getting gifts for other. Great article.

    • jmartin1344 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      I definitely agree - thanks for reading!

    • jmartin1344 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      I certainly love cookies.... a little too much this Christmas I'd say. I am going to be running for months to try and erase all the cookies I've eaten!

      Thanks for reading!

    • sarahshuihan profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      This is great advice. I usually nag my husband into giving me a list of what he wants. It's just easier. For friends and family I try to do homemade or edible gifts. Who doesn't like cookies and chocolate?

    • jmartin1344 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      Thanks for reading peachpurple - much appreciated!

    • peachpurple profile image


      6 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i only buy the gifts that my family wants. I wouldn't buy something useless , waste of money. Asking for help is a great idea to get the right gift. Wonderful hub


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