Let's face it, not everyone is easy to buy for, and Christmas is not an easy time of year in which to make sound decisions!
The pressure can build, right? To buy the right gift, at the right price, by the right date. Oh, and wrap it perfectly! Yikes... Not easy.
Here at XOXO, we've been thinking about how we can cut through this overwhelming pressure and get through to great gifts on the other side, and today we're sharing our ideas to help you find great gifts without the pressure.
1. Remember why you're even here.
The first step in finding the right gift is to connect with your desire to give generously (or at all!) this Christmas.
Try writing down what Christmas and giving means to you. Perhaps it's about cherishing friends and family members. Or celebrating moments from the year. Perhaps Christmas is all about creating a little bit of magic for the people you care about.
Once you feel like there's a point to this whole thing, it's easier to get excited and inspired to find great gifts.
2. Review who's on your list.
It's extra hard to find gifts for people you're secretly resenting, so we recommend looking at your list and culling where necessary. Or at least re-evaluating the time and effort (not to mention cash) you're putting into each person.
Why are you giving each person on your list a gift at Christmas? Do you want to give them a gift? Or are you in some kind of social awkwardness in which you feel you have to buy them a gift?
If you're really struggling to find a gift, it might not be because you're feeling uncomfortable giving to this person in general. We all have our fair share of obligation presents to buy because we "have to", but you might want to reconsider. When did this person last give you a thoughtful gift? If you can't remember, but still feel like you have to give them something, grab them a box of chocolates and be done with it.
3. Make a list of what they love.
Before you jump straight to gift ideas, start by making a list of what this person loves, and what makes them special. What are their hobbies? What do they love to do? How do they spend their time?
Perhaps they've had a significant life event this year, such as moving house, changing jobs, or simply taking up something new. These things can also be helpful to make a note of.
The aim of this step is not to jump to gift ideas, but to get a kind of profile of the person you're buying for.
Steve: Spends most of his time working or home (tired) with wife and kids. Likes listening to music on his commute. Don't know his favourite music, though. Likes quiet time, doesn't like being nagged!
You'll notice at the end a little 'doesn't like' creep in there. That can be helpful too! Equally, acknowledging that you don't know Steve's favourite music, only that he likes some kind of music. This will make sure you don't over-step the line into things you don't know about. So you wouldn't buy Steve a CD, but you might still get him something music-related.
Handy tip: Remind yourself that you already know some things about your gift recipient. It's easy to fall into the trap of just thinking "I don't know WHAT he likes!" Chances are, you can probably stir up something.
4. Imagine what might bring them delight.
Once you have your little profile for your hard-to-buy-for person, you have some themes to work from. This step requires you to connect back to point number 1 above: Christmas is about creating delight, or offering comfort, or celebrating moments from the year.
What would allow you to give this person some Christmas magic?
Let's go back to Steve. We know he works a lot (though we're not entirely sure what he does). We know that he's tired when he's at home, but he loves his kids despite his tiredness. He listens to music on his commute. So, we want to give Steve some magic at Christmas, something that he'll be delighted by, that will bring him some comfort. We'd love to hear him say, "That's cool!"
Maybe that would be a new set of headphones, or a case for them. Maybe it would be a pre-paid month of coffees for his commute, or a travel mug with some fancy beans so he can make his own. You might feel he'll appreciate some way to bring his kids along with him on his busy work days, such as a keyring with their names on.
By connecting what we already know about Steve to his potential gift wishlist, we're aiming for a more meaningful and connected product. Hooray!
5. Stay focused.
Once you've started generating ideas, you'll inevitably start shopping. Now, as you do so, keep your budget and gift profile in mind!
Don't get carried away. Before you checkout (online or in store), ask yourself, Is this the mark I want to hit for this person? Will it bring them delight? Does it create magic? Is my budget appropriate?
If you're unsure, come back to your profile and your intentions for gift-giving. You'll get there! And don't forget, you can also ask mutual friends or family members if that feels comfortable for you.
Now, of course I have to mention that we have some great gift options here at XOXO stationery in our shop. Take a look around and get some ideas!