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How to Pick Up on Clues for Gift Giving

Updated on July 17, 2013

Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to get someone for their birthday or Christmas. This can equal up to a stress like no other when you want to get something special for someone. Or perhaps you’ve fallen into that, “What do you get someone who has everything?” conundrum. Well try to pick up on some of these clues to help you.

Before It’s Time…Listen!

The key to this one is simple, plan ahead. 3 months or so before the gift giving occasion, begin your search for clues. When having a normal conversation pay attention to what he or she says. If you notice they mention they wish they had a new TV because the one they have is on the fritz then, chu-ching!, that could be the gift. In the kitchen they may grumble to themselves how a toaster oven might be more helpful. Just remember to keep your ears on alert and stash these little hints in a notebook and when the time comes, whip that bad boy out and you'll have a whole slew of things to choose from. You might even get stocked up on future gift giving.

Look Around Their Home

If you’re well acquainted with the giftee spare no time looking around their home, when they’re not around of course, to try and pick up on some clues as to what to give him or her. Do you notice that they seem to have a cabinet filled with ceramic dolls or a shrine dedicated to baseball memorabilia? Some signs may not be as in-your-face but do a little investigating to see what you can find out. Maybe you even notice that every time they go out to their balcony they take a chair with them. Hint, hint…they might need some patio furniture. You’re smart, you can figure it out.

Pay Attention to Hobbies

Do you notice that they buy acrylic paints an awful lot? Look around have you seen them use an easel? Maybe they don’t have one. Perhaps they have an abundance of cutlery for carving wood. Obviously this is something that they enjoy doing in their spare time. Maybe you notice something is worn down. Buy them something that will benefit in that hobby. Or even taking them to an event with the theme of their hobby would be a good gift. Just make the give about what they enjoy doing. How can you go wrong?

Ask Family and Friends

Who to know this person, that you might not know equally as well, than their family and friends? If you happen to know the loved ones of the person that you’re giving a gift to, pick their brains to see what they may know. They may have an insider’s secret to getting the perfect gift. That’s of course if they don’t try to keep it to themselves for their own bonus friend points.

Ask Unobvious Questions

Of course when your back’s up against the wall you want to just blurt out loud, “What do you want for your birthday!?” but that would be so unsubtle. But asking in a roundabout way may get you the answers you’re looking for. Ask them questions like, “If you had a perfect day, what would it be like?” Getting them to talking might flip the switch to your light bulb on what to get them as a gift. Or perhaps you can give them a small version of their day or something they wanted out of that day. A daydream of having their favorite crooner sing to them in a gondola filled with a bed full of white roses could mean a ticket to a concert to you. That or either a trip to Italy. It’s your call.

Gift giving is only as hard as what you make it. Picking up on subtle clues from who you’re buying for is mainly the key. Even though they may just be mentioning it because there’s someone there to listen, it could still be the ticket to easy street for you. Now just because they say they need to pick up tissue at the store don’t run out to Costco and bulk buy them tissue. Yes, that’s an extreme example but you get my drift…I hope. Don’t go out and by them just any old thing that they have mentioned. A gift should still be meaningful and full of thought. And just a quick reminder, though there are many that look down on gift cards, they are still perfect gifts to give if they are for specific places or items.


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    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Thanks iAccura! I always hate when someone buys things for me that they think I would like because they like it. It's fine to be introduced to new things but in the end the gift should be about what the person receiving the gift will like and not might like. Thanks for dropping in a comment. Have a good day!

    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Thanks peachpurple! I hope it does help someone. The best tell on gift giving is pretty much right before our eyes if the time's given to look. Thanks for stopping by!

    • iAccura profile image

      iAccura 4 years ago

      Thanks for gift tips. We need to be reminded on how to be able to arrive at selecting gifts for friends. The things most treasured are personal handmade gifts, as they are most treasured.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i like your many ideas. I usually look around my friend's hobbies. Some likes to keep keychains, keep pets.. so it is easy to buy gifts for them. Voted useful

    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Thanks Alecia! I know I'm difficult to shop for. Not because I have everything but I'm one of those that says I don't need anything all the time. So when someone picks up on something I may have mentioned I find it even more special because they were paying attention. Plus it's a nice surprise when it's something you actually want.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I like these strategies, especially since some people aren't easy to buy for. I especially like to look around and see what people need instead of just getting something they may not use.