Help for Christmas Gift Giving — Tips Work for All Occasions

With so many gift ideas available, most of us turn into a confused lot pondering over which gift would be best? At Christmas when we are buying several gifts it can be especially mind-boggling. What is to be given to the near and dear ones, to business associates and bosses, to clients and colleagues and the list goes on.

Make a list of all the people you want to give gifts to and see if you can shorten it. Be realistic if the number of people you give gifts to is unreasonable and be brave and approach co-workers or playground moms to see if others feel the same way. You may want to propose a grab bag or Secret Santa instead of individual gift-giving. If you have a large family, consider drawing names rather than buying for everyone.

Once you have a list, set a budget and make a plan. Allow some time to focus on the person who will receive your gift. Do they have a special interest or hobby? Are they sport lovers or hikers? Keen on new dresses or shoes? Theater or movie buffs? Have they expressed interest in learning a new hobby or in playing a sport? Are they party hoppers or getaway seekers? Are they art lovers or cool on crafts? Is there some food item they would especially enjoy on this occasion? Is there something special they talk about but never buy for themselves? Is there a magazine they would enjoy having a yearly subscription to? Is there something you could make for them that they would enjoy and appreciate? Are they growing and need shoes, clothes, books, cuddly stuffed toys or learning games?

We often link gifts with money. Often the perfect gift for someone is not money related but time-related. The Gift of Time can come in many forms. Offer babysitting for friends with young children, take your best friend or sister out for lunch and spend time together. Spend some one-on-one time with your grown children, parents or grandparents. Lawn-mowing certificates or a casserole a month may be the perfect gift for someone you know.

Try to start shopping early so you can divide up the gifts and buy or make a few each week in order to finish by Christmas.

Try one-stop or “theme” shopping. Pick a store-a bookstore for example-and to see how many people on your list would enjoy a new book, calendar or similar item.

Shop online. Not only is it a timesaver, the Internet is a great resource for hard-to-find items. You can even purchase gift cards online. Try to purchase as many items from one site as you can. You’ll save on shipping.

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