The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it comes the age-old tradition of gift-giving. If the mere thought of giving someone a gift produces cold sweats and a feeling of dread, you’re not alone. What is meant to be a joyous tradition can feel like an expectations game with rules that nobody let you in on. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
When it comes to buying gifts, “we often make our lives way harder than we need to,” says Lara Hartog, founder and content creator behind the blog The Best Travel Gifts. “Here’s my little secret – gifts don’t need to be unique in order to be good gifts,” she says. We all want to be the one to give the perfect gift, to show that we really know the recipient, to buy them a gift they wouldn’t have even thought of buying for themselves, but letting go of those expectations can save ourselves a lot of time and worry—and make giving gifts feel enjoyable again.
To get ourselves prepared for the holidays, the following are some tips to make holiday gifting easier.
Start With a List
Make a list and check it twice. Get yourself organized for the holiday gifting season with a list of the people you intend to give gifts to. Include people you really want to give gifts to, not just those that you feel you have to. Use this list to jot down ideas, set budgets, or keep track of whether you’ve purchased the gift or not.
Ask What They Want
It’s easy to get trapped in the idea that giving unsolicited gifts will show your gift recipients how much thought and effort you put into the process, but this usually makes gift-giving a lot harder than it needs to be. Just ask what they want and buy the solicited gift. It will save you a lot of time…plus you know for sure the receiver will love your gift.
If your gift recipient is struggling to come up with ideas, try these four prompts to get the juices flowing, suggests Kreutzer: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.
Don’t Be Afraid to Give Gift Cards
Gift cards have a bad reputation for being cold and impersonal gifts, but it doesn’t have to be that way, according to Kreutzer. Gift cards allow someone to choose what they want, or need, without the guesswork. They can actually be very practical and useful gifts. Besides, if you choose a gift card from a place that you know the recipient loves it will add that extra personal touch while still giving your recipient the freedom to choose a gift they know they will love.
Remember That Gifting Is About the Receiver
Giving gifts is not about showing off how thoughtful you are, how rich you are, how well you know the recipient, or how much effort you put into the gift. Gift-giving is not meant to show off or expect something in return. Letting go of these expectations when it comes to gifting won’t just make your gifts more meaningful, but it will make the experience more enjoyable for you too.
It’s the Thought That Counts
It’s an often-used and age-old statement for a reason. At the end of the day, giving gifts is a way to show love and gratitude this holiday season. Gift from the heart and for those you really want to show appreciation for this holiday, and the experience of gift giving will be much easier.