How to Pick the Perfect Gift

Buying someone you love a gift that shows the right sentiment isn't easy. But when you get it right the joy they show is totally worth it. Here are some ways to find and give gifts that the people in your life will love.

Think about Gifting Differently

Many of use think of gift giving as the exchange of physical objects. It can be more useful to think of gift giving as communication. When you give someone a gift, what you are actually doing is speaking to them. You buy, make or discover a gift that says something to the receiver. They receive the gift, and if they are perceptive, they understand your message. Of course this may seem obvious, but somehow we usually forget it when we go to choose gifts. We focus first on the object or the need, then check what message it conveys.

You may have realized gifts are communication when someone gives you a gift and you are instantly aware of what it says. Some gifts communicate distance, others intimacy. Some say "I love your creativity”, others “You should look after yourself”. Some can even be insulting. What gifts communicate is seldom attached to their price tag. Some of the gifts that I have appreciated the most have been practically free for the giver to arrange for me, but have said so much that I've remembered them for years and value them deeply.

If you harness this thinking when you choose gifts, then you can quickly move towards the perfect gift. Ask yourself first, “What do I want to say to this person?” Then move on to “What can I give them that will communicate this?”. This is opposite to the more common “What can I buy them?” and then “What will they think of it?”


Listen Closely

In every day life we all give hints about our interests, passions, hopes and sources of amusement. Sometimes these are profound, and sometimes they are wacky and silly. All of this is fertile territory for gift ideas: have they mentioned a TV show they love? Do they have a new romantic partner? Are they going to a new church or temple? Maybe they are trying a new sport or rediscovering a lost hobby. Think back on your conversations or shared experiences, and you're bound to find some good "topics" that you can turn into gift ideas.


Keep It Small

In the spirit of showing affection, you might be tempted to go big instead of thinking of what really makes the person happy. You might think buying your movie-loving partner a huge new TV is perfect, but then when you get it home it lights up the living room like a stadium and is totally wrong for the space. Instead, think smart and practical. For movie lovers, a T-shirt featuring their favorite quote or a subscription to a streaming service will keep them happy and remind them of you every time they use it.