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How to Give Great Gifts: 8 Easy Tips for Birthdays and Holidays

Aug 11, 2008
If you look upon gift-giving occasions with dread, you need a primer in how to be a good gift giver. Here are eight simple tips for choosing the right gift each and every time.

1. Keep a running list of gift ideas for the most important people in your life.
The most important piece of advice is this: Dedicate a page in your daily calendar or journal for jotting down ideas throughout the year. When your family and friends mention that something would be nice to have, write it down. When gift-giving time rolls around, all you need to do is refer to your list and do some comparison-shopping to find the perfect item at the best price.

2. Give memories and experiences instead of things.
Everyone has a friend or family member who seems to have everything they will ever need. If this is the person that you are shopping for, instead of scratching your head or giving them a gift certificate, think about buying them a service or tickets to an event. For example, you can purchase a month of lawn care, a visit to a local spa, or tickets to see her favorite ball team. This type of gift will allow you to be original without giving the person something that they probably already have.

3. Don't be afraid of the unusual.
If the gift recipient is known for having a particular hobby or interest, he probably has a lot of the basic presents that have to do with that interest. Branch out from the normal gifts (such as golf tees or scrapbooking supplies) and give a book or an instructional DVD on his favorite subject. If the recipient is a lighthearted kind of person, he may also appreciate a good gag gift based on his favorite hobby.

4. If you don't know the person very well, ask someone who does.
Look to the gift recipient's interests for ideas for different types of gifts. If you know the person well, this is pretty easy. You know what type of music he or she listens to and you know his or her hobbies. Try to think of something that reflects her tastes and shows that you know what she is into. If you don't know the person very well, don't hesitate to ask someone who does.

5. Keep it simple.
Simple gifts are sometimes the best. Things like boxes that store extra batteries (with batteries included), a nice manicure set, an address book, or a recipe file are gifts that anyone will enjoy. For children, a simple art set or a collection of bath toys make an easy-to-buy gift.

6. Handmade gifts are always one-of-a-kind.
Particularly if cost is a factor, don't be intimidated by giving a handmade gift. These work especially well at Christmas time. People enjoy snacks and sweets during this time of year. Creating a custom goodie basket complete with homemade treats and recipe cards is a great way to celebrate the holiday season without breaking the bank.

7. Go online.
A number of online gift boutiques will have ideas throughout the year that just aren't available at your local mall. Once you find a favorite, make sure to subscribe to the site's email list, so you will be kept up-to-date with seasonal sales and specials. You may even get a special discount or coupon code, reserved just for email subscribers.

8. Don't rush.
Take pride in your ability to pick out the perfect gift. Whether you spend a little or a lot, finding the perfect gift is a great way to show people that you treasure and cherish them. It's worth the time that it takes to find something that is just right.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com and Susies-Coupons.com, where you can find discounts and coupons for gifts as well as product reviews and recommendations to make life easier for busy moms.
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