Everyone is tired of boring, bland Christmas gifts that feel like a checkmark on a list rather than a real gift. Clients are tired of them. Family members are tired, too.
Acquaintances and friends receive far too many of the “easy” gifts. So if you want to make a mark this holiday season, then follow these seven tips to pick out real gifts that have a personal touch … and don’t break your budget.
1. Dodge the fake jewelry and easy crafts
At first glance, making your own jewelry or crafts may sound like a tempting way to give out personal Christmas gifts. After all, it’s really cheap, and what could be more personal than something you made with your own hands?
Unfortunately, the reality is that those easy crafts almost always look cheap and maybe even a little unfriendly, as if you couldn’t be bothered to get a real gift. Also, no matter how skilled you are, no jewelry you can make with beads and stones will match the real jewelry that your friends already have … even if it’s made with love.
2. Avoid gift baskets, too
You know what everyone can give? A gift basket. Literally everyone in your life can probably can order a gift basket off a website and send it to any address.
Most have the same predictable selection of cheeses and sausages, too. It’s an incredibly nice but impersonal Christmas gift that does nothing to further a relationship. So if you really want to impress a client or show a relative you actually care, pick out something else instead. Anything else, really (except for that handmade jewelry).
3. Look for fans
No, not air conditioning fans. If you’re thinking about what personal gift to people, think about what they are fans of. This will often lead you to a sport, which makes a personal present suddenly very easy.
But you can take this idea to many other places, too. Is there a TV show they particularly enjoy? Your search just got a lot easier. Do they have a particular hobby they enjoy? Another simple choice.
Look freely for clues if you aren’t sure, including what they post on social networks, what calendars they use, and what they leave lying around their desk.
4. Use experiences
If you are close with someone but still aren’t sure what to give him or her for a holiday present, cast your memory back. Find something that happened this year or recently that meant a lot for both of you, and use this event as inspiration.
Pick a unique but simple gift that symbolizes that event. If symbols aren’t your thing, then create a photo montage about the event instead.
5. Keep up with their tastes
To make a gift really personal, you also have to make sure you don’t make any serious gaffes. It would be really embarrassing to buy people their favorite chocolates on the week they started dieting, or baking delicious cookies before discovering the recipient has gone gluten-free.
New habits, new plans, unexpected injuries, ended relationships … keep up with what’s going on in a friend’s life before trying to pick out just the right gift.
6. Get inventive with personalization
Personalize something interesting, like boots or iPod cases or even create personalized Name Art. Plenty of products can be personalized these days, so take a trip around the Internet and pick out a fun gift that you can customize with a great message.
7. Back the right cause
If your friend just isn’t into Christmas gifts but you still want to do something special, then donate to one of the person’s favorite causes or nonprofit organizations. This simple act may mean more to him or her than any fancy present with a big bow.