Braving the crowds of shoppers during the holiday season is always a challenge, but choosing gifts to buy for loved ones can be worse. Luckily, there are number of ways to still get that person something special without breaking a sweat — or the bank.
Even if you’ve known someone for years, it’s a challenge to gift them something they want and don’t already have. This December, keep an eye out for unique presents for the people on your shopping list without resorting to envelopes stuffed with cash.
One good option is to get the person some kind of experience. Movie tickets are a good idea if something is currently out that they would enjoy, or gift certificates for the theatre if there is a show coming to town further down the line.
A spa or massage session could also be a pleasant experience for someone on your list. A pass for a specific event can be more personal than a gift card alone, and if it’s scheduled then there’s more incentive to make use of it, perhaps as a bonding experience.
If you’d rather purchase something material, consider getting something practical. A good quality pair of work shoes or artist supplies can hold more importance and mileage than a basket of bath products. Think of what the recipient likes — gifts that match a person’s interests can show you pay attention to what they’re all about.
If you’re crafty or artistically-inclined, handmade items can go a long way. A piece of personalized artwork can hold a lot of meaning, or you can make something that has an everyday use for the giftee.
Handmade gifts also show the effort and care placed behind them — even if it’s as simple as a personally arranged gift basket. These kinds of presents show that you were willing to put the time into something meaningful. Consider things like handmade ornaments, drawings, a basket of holiday treats or even pet toys if they have an animal companion.
If all else fails and you’re sure that they’ll get a kick out of it, there’s always the option of getting someone a gag gift. A toy xylophone for the music major, a video game console box weighed down with smaller unrelated items or a scavenger hunt with a special prize at the end all make for memorable presents.
Avoid going for generic novelty gifts, as they’re not as enjoyable. Rather, go the extra mile for something personalized — just be sure that they’ll be in good spirits about it.
Ultimately, holiday gifts should show that you’ve paid attention to the recipient and the kind of person they are. If you start by focusing on what they do and what they enjoy, finding an appropriate gift is easier than you may think — maybe what they want really is a gift card, new socks or just a ball of yarn.
As long as there is time, effort and care put behind choosing a present, both sides of the gift exchange are bound to have a happy holiday.
Graphic: Cody Schumacher/Graphics Editor