I have a confession. I kind of hate all the gift guides bloggers put together each holiday season. (I also don’t love all the Nordstrom Sale and Shopbop Sale Wishlist posts, but that’s for another day).
The gift guides, in my little opinion, offer a host of generic ideas like candles, pretty scarves, and monogrammed stationary. Nothing is personal. Or the only personal aspect is that it’s a bit like their own wish list.
Really though, how could it be personal? The gift guide creators don’t know your mom or your grandma or your sister or whoever is on your shopping list. So how would they know what she likes?!
For those of you who subscribe to my newsletter, I’ll be sharing a few gift guides I do actually like tomorrow. (If you’re not a subscriber and are interested in a few good gift guides, be sure to subscribe for periodic emails with fun tips and ideas exclusive to emails subscribers.)
To be clear, I don’t at all hate the (mostly) bloggers who share them. I follow their blogs because I love what they post. I just choose not to read the blogs on days when my feed is full of marketing photos of somewhat haphazardly chosen products I could also search on Nordstrom’s website. I want to see their pretty clothes styled in their unique fashion voices.
I also don’t take issue with monetizing blogs (obviously). I do it and it’s really nice to be compensated, ever so slightly, for all the time and energy we invest in our sites and online communities.
That in mind, I thought I’d share some questions you can ask yourself to find the perfect gift for the unique someone in your life you’re looking forward to spoiling this holiday.
- What do they do or want to do in their free time? Can you buy a product that helps them with this hobby? Or can you offer something that helps them find more time for this hobby? For example, consider art supplies for an artist, gourmet ingredients for a baker or chef, workout gear or studio classes for a fitness enthusiast, or a babysitter for a busy parent.
- Are they “more short” on money or time? Most people have more of one than the other. Offer something that fills a gap where they are “less full”. Consider a gift card for a concierge or task service like Task Rabbit for someone short on time. Maybe you offer to make dinner for them one weeknight a month, even if it’s a freezer meal you prepare a week or two in advance? A gift card, as lame as that might may feel, might be great for someone short on money.
- When they shop, what types of items are they drawn to? Here the possibilities are endless. They’re not a shopper? Then ignore this question. That’s why I’ve got 11 others for you.
- Is there something they want to learn more about? What about online webinars or classes on a topic they love? Craftsy offers all sorts of options for creative spirits. You might consider Blue Apron for someone interested in learning to become a better cook or Kidstir for a parent interested in learning to cook with their children. No matter the interest, surely you can Google it and you’re bound to find something.
- Can you do something together? Could you buy tickets for an event or a show together? Would they enjoy dinner together, paid for by you?
- How do they like to relax? Can you provide them an opportunity to relax in their favorite way? Maybe they love massages or manicures or movies (obvious ways to relax)? Possibly they prefer relaxing with a good book, painting, going for a run or a hike, or enjoying a perfect dish of ice cream?
- Do they have a favorite snack or indulgence? Can you make it or buy it for them?
- Have they told you they planned to buy something for themselves at some point and maybe never bought it? (I keep a running list of these types of things and other ideas that cross my mind throughout the year.)
- Do they have a favorite cause you could support? Make a donation on their behalf or buy them a gift, proceeds from which benefit their cause or passion?
- Are they particularly practical? While it may not be as fun or as exciting, would they prefer a gift basket of everyday essentials instead of something superfluous? (It is about them, after all, right?)
- What topics excite them? Might they enjoy a media subscription of some sort? Audible for audio book lovers? A magazine subscription on their favorite topic? A good book?
- Do they just want to spend time together? Share a day doing something you both love. Can you be a tourist together in your own town? Is there something you’ve always talked about doing but haven’t yet made time for? Do it!
If one of these questions sparks an idea but you don’t know where to find the gift, Google it. Often times Google seems to know what I want with the auto-populate drop down options better than I know myself, so I anticipate this shouldn’t be a problem.
Good luck gift hunting!