Finding the right gift idea for the right occasion
Whether large or small, giving gifts is still one of the most common ways to say thank you, I love you or I care, no matter the occasion. Nowadays, coming up with a unique gift idea has become an art form -- but aside from just coming out with it and asking a person what they want, there are a few techniques you can use to help find the perfect present.
What's the Occasion?
While you don't have to choose a gift that earmarks a particular occasion (such as a "#1 Teacher" mug for a teacher gift or an "over the hill" apron for a 60th birthday gift), sometimes these gifts can be fun and make perfect accompaniments to a more personalized gift.
The occasion can also give you other cues for a gift idea, such as theme (common in bridal and baby showers, birthdays, etc.) and budget. Many larger occasions will set a budget cap for gift-giving, so people don't feel obligated to spend more than they're comfortable with.
Who Is it For?
When you know the person you're giving the gift to very well, it can be easy to find the right idea, but in the following situations, choosing a gift can be more of a challenge:
- A boss or coworker. Choosing corporate gifts is often a challenge because they need to be both personal yet not too personal. If your office is doing a secret Santa or celebrating an employee's special event, try to get an idea of the taste of the person receiving the gifts. Do they drink a lot of coffee or tea? Try a mug and some specialty teas. Do they always have their headphones on? Casually ask what kind of music they're interested and give them something new to try based on their answer, or buy an online gift card for downloading music.
- A sympathy gift. Whether it's your best friend or just a neighbor, sending a sympathy gift should be about easing the burden of someone who's going through a difficult time. A gift basket of food, a donation to a charity and even a simple offer to help with cooking, cleaning, dog-walking or other chore is a meaningful gift whether you're close to the person or not.
- An in-law. Impressing the in-laws can be a lot of pressure. If you don't know them that well yet (and don't want to ask your spouse for too much help), choose a gift that has a story behind it, such as a book, a CD or even a particular decorative item that caught your eye. Be prepared to share why you thought they would like it -- even if it's not their favourite thing, they'll appreciate the thought.