‘Tis the season to spread the cheer of the holidays to your friends and loved ones. When it comes to gift shopping, naturally, you want to bowl over everyone on your list with the absolute perfect present they’ll use and love. But knowing exactly what to buy your grandma, your best friend, your boss, and so on, is tough (unless you’re a mind reader), and it’s easy to spend oodles of time you could be wrapping or baking just overthinking what to buy. But, don’t fret. The following advice can help you wrap up your gift-buying in a hurry all while sugarplums dance in your head.
Make it simple
While it may seem like a lot of pressure to put on a single present (and on ourselves), holiday shopping doesn’t have to be tricky. In fact, choosing to give the most convenient gift of all, like a Starbucks Gift Card, can convey how special and meaningful someone is to you—and gives all your dearest people the option to choose the foods and bevs they love. A gift card is often more appreciated than a random present (we’re looking at you, fruit cake) because you’re delighting someone with something they can actually use.
Along with a thoughtful gift card, level up the presentation by adding a handwritten note to really share your feelings about the recipient. In the note, you could also suggest a few dates to meet up in the new year for coffee, so your gift doubles as an experience and conveys that you want to spend time together. Tuck the gift card in a handmade mug or inside a card your kiddos made, or cover the envelope with words of admiration. Not only will the lucky giftee appreciate what you got them, but it’ll take the weight of second-guessing your selection off your shoulders. Breathing easy starts right now.
Gift and you shall receive
Know that there’s a deeper—and well-meaning—reason behind why holiday shopping feels like such a high-stakes task. After all, the act of gifting is about showing people how much you care about them, hopefully deepening the emotional connection you share. “People give gifts because they want to strengthen or enhance the relationship between the giver and receiver,” says Lynn Kahle, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Oregon, who specializes in consumer behavior.
Presents become a form of communication, says Kahle. This leads to the feeling that the “right” gift will send a message that affirms what someone means to us, but the “wrong” gift can do the opposite. Worse, we believe that if a prezzie doesn’t knock our loved one’s socks off, then the person may be left feeling we don’t care enough. And suddenly, staring down gift possibilities becomes quite the emotionally charged riddle.
Nisa Bayindir, a consumer psychologist and behavioral scientist adds: “Above and beyond the fact that we want to show what people mean to us through the gift itself, we also try to add value and utility, and of course happiness and well-being to their lives—all through the vessel of a gift. That’s no easy feat.”