I Got You Something!

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 at 1:47 am

Buying a gift for someone else is a great way to show them how much you care. Many of us, though, employ methods of gift buying (and receiving) that end up just putting us into awkward situations. We’ve all been there, and we all share in the blame.

Ask anyone who’s ever bought me a gift, and they’ll tell you that I didn’t like what they got for me. Even if I did. Unfortunately for me, I’ve lost all credibility because of those few awful gifts over the years that forced authentic reactions. I’m lucky people still buy me things.

No matter how much we stress, shop or spend, I’m convinced it’s nearly impossible to find that perfect gift, let alone multiple for everyone on the list.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Sure, you can try to teach yourself how to graciously accept gifts. There are countless how-to guides out there, so go ahead and practice all you want. But that will end up just making it more awkward. Trust me, I’ve tried everything. The real solution to the problem begins much sooner.

The problem? Well, first it’s that we are all pretty spoiled. But what I think it really comes down to is that you don’t know what you want, the person buying doesn’t make the effort to find out, or both.

So, to offer you relief, here are some tips…

1. Keep notes throughout the year. If you wait until December each year to think about what you and others want, your chances of success are pretty slim. When you hear something unique about someone, jot down a note (electronically), save it, and keep adding to it. For yourself, when you come across things online that you really like, use this bookmarking tool to archive it. We use registries for weddings – why not Christmas?

Boiled down: Don’t procrastinate.

2. Personalize. In the world of Facebook, it’s so much easier to find out (or remind yourself) about people in your circle. Check out their posts, recent events, photos, and likes – boom. Make or throw something together for them based on what you find out – so much better than buying a gift at the mall because you ran out of time (or money).

Boiled down: add a personal touch (even if it’s in the gift wrapping).

3. Ask the person. Yes, believe it or not, you can actually ask people what they want for Christmas. If you want to make it more of a surprise, try this. Build a quick survey on asking them to pick categories of what they need or want, their favorite stores, etc.

If you’re not tech savvy enough for that (really?), you can ask their close friends or family members for more information – like crowdsourcing. Just make sure to not duplicate gifts.

Boiled down: research a little bit. It’ll save you time and embarrassment later on.

4. Communicate what you want. How will people know what you want if you don’t tell them? This could be an email blast to your close circle of gift buyers, a call-out to Facebook friends, or individual text messages to people. If you’re really bold, form a Facebook group.

Just remember that the more creative and helpful you are, the more likely you’ll get what you want (and avoid unpleasantly awkward moments). For instance, you could include hyperlinked images of a gift so when they click, they’re taken to the site where they can buy directly.

Boiled down: make it easy for them to pick something out.

5. Donate on behalf of the person. How can you go wrong? Check out – since the holidays are about more than getting gifts, go to this site and list the wishes you have for your life, and help grant other people’s wishes. What a great way to spend money – on people who need it instead of ingrates hovering around the Christmas tree.

Boiled down: do it for the kids.

We spend a bunch of money each year on giving people things we think they will like. Cut it out. I know it’s too late to mix things up this year (2010, in case you’re late on reading this). But, make sure to include this habit change on your resolution list.

You’ll thank me eventually…perhaps, with a gift.

Some other sites (thanks to… – Not only can you ask for things, you can tell people what you already have, lowering the risk of doublegifts even more. – Add items from any site, browse through what other’s want, import your Amazon Wishlist.

  1. How about those people that buy you a Christmas Present for no apparent reason and you know that they are expecting one in return?!?! It’s like “Why the hell are you buying me a gift?” I barely even buy close relatives a gift and you are like one of 500 hundred people I know and you decide to go all Christmas Present on me. Now all that means is that I’ll have to get you one.

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