Don't forget the batteries! Tips for better holiday gift-giving

Dec 1, 2012 at 4:43 a.m. ET

Want to up your gift-giving game this year? From budget to batteries, planning to packaging, there are a lot of factors involved when you want to get it right. Here are some tips to help you give gifts your loved ones will be thrilled to receive.

Woman wrapping gift

Don't wait until the last minute

If you're like us, you've found yourself running out at the last possible minute to buy gifts during holidays past. Yeah, how did that work out? If it was anything like our experience, you ended up spending way too much money for something you probably weren't all that thrilled about buying. Fighting the crowds and tailing someone around the parking lot like a creepy stalker to get a spot isn't much fun either. What's a girl to do? Plan ahead -- that's what! Make a list of recipients and gifts that suit their interests. With enough advance planning, you can find (or make) gifts you'll love to give and they'll love to receive.

Red shopping bagKeep it affordable

Of course you want to give nothing but the very best, but be realistic about your budget. Look for reduced prices on clothing and home decor items at stores like TJ Maxx and HomeGoods. If you're shopping at retail stores, head for the sale racks in the back. If you have champagne tastes on a less bubbly budget, head to Target on Dec. 1 to shop the 50 designer gift items included in Target's holiday partnership with Neiman Marcus.

Use creative packaging

Sometimes when it comes to gift-giving, it's what's on the outside that counts. Creative packaging can elevate a ho-hum gift to something exquisite. Personalize gift tags with stick-on letters or stamps. Tie on a little something extra like a sprig of pine or a seashell. Even simple gift wrap can look stunning if done right. Brown paper and red-and-white striped twine is always a nice option. Head to Pinterest and search "creative wrapping" for more ideas.

Don't forget the batteries

If you're giving a gift that requires batteries, including a set of batteries is a thoughtful touch. That way, the recipient can start using the gift right away without having to hunt around for batteries or taking a trip to the store to buy some. Instead of taping a package of batteries onto the gift, try taking the batteries out of their package and wrapping them in a plastic cylinder like this clear plastic tube with a cap from Garnish, one of our favorite packaging companies.

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