The Guide to Gift Giving for Goofs
Every year, we give gifts to our family and friends. It's a tradition that capitalism twisted, but exchanging stuff with others without having to pay is still a sign of respect. We give flowers to our significant others out of reminder of our feelings or if we strongly want apologies. We treat family out to dinner when it's our birthday. We exchange souvenirs with our friends so they can feel the same wanderlust when we went out of the country.
Some of us still have a hard time thinking of what to give to others, though. Then you awkwardly realize that you don't know if your receiver would even like your gift at all. If they don't, they'd stash it in their closet until they end up in the same problem you were in. When it's their turn to give, they "recycle". That's what happens when we only give gifts just to say that we've given them something. Did we even stop to think we might be adding clutter they'd worry about? Wouldn't we fill guilty knowing we added to that burden?
No worries though, we can still remedy this! Taking some time to think about a good gift only takes a while. They did say "it's the thought that counts", but this often gets twisted. It's the thought of the person you're giving a gift to that counts, not the thought that you gave them some half-hearted item. This isn't a guide on what to give for Christmas (or any occasion), but how to give without doubts.
Step 1: Know The Person (Even Without Talking That Much)
Luckily, the Internet made it so much easier to know a person nowadays! Lots of people love to share about themselves. Ask first: What do they like?
Facebook makes that easy by showing a friend's liked pages in the About section beside the main Timeline. Right there is a receipt of every movie, TV show, sports team, and musician they like! That should give you a general idea of what they're interested in. For more visually stunning ideas, check if they have a Pinterest board that could contain a "wish list" of their items.
If you're an avid online shopper, try accessing your receiver's wish list on Amazon! Just type in their name or their e-mail and you'll see their public wish list pop up. Another good alternative is the app called Things I Like. Its name is very direct to the point: it's a Pinterest-like app of only the things you wish to receive as gifts. It's a little less known compared to Pinterest, so searching for something specific and getting results is quite hard. Instead, you have to externally link to your item so you can pin it on your board. It's a little minor inconvenience, but the app definitely got the job done.
However, there are situations where you don't know much about your recipient. This always happens during Secret Santa (or Kris Kringle as we call it here). Either they don't share much or you're not connected to them at all, online or offline. When this happens, doing some "studying" might seem a little daunting. Remember, you can always ask a trusted third party to do the dirty work. Just make sure that the third party is at least someone you can trust with a secret ;). You can try getting them to talk to your recipient about what they want.
Step 2: Make Sense of Who The Person Is
So now that you know something about the person, hurrah! We finally covered the person's little details. Now that you know your receiver, you can go shopping for that gift. But wait! Before you even head to the cashier, ask this: Is this gift something people of his/her age group and class would want for themselves?
We often make the mistake of giving the wrong gift. I can give several instances of this. You wouldn't want to give your 52-year-old cat glasses wearing auntir a hiking backpack when the most travel she now does is having tea with her amigas on a weekday afternoon. That 9-year-old nephew of yours doesn't need a scientific calculator because he's still trying to master long division in the 4th grade. Your newly-birthed childhood friend isn't likely to wear a crop top that will reveal her stretch marks.
Well obviously there are still exceptions out there: a hiking healthy Tita who wants to climb up Mount Apo, a genius 9-year-old taking third year algebra, and a Regina George's mother level of cool mom™ oozing with confidence. If they're the exception, go back to the first step and take note of their interests.
Step 3: Fit The Gift For Their Lifestyle
Now that you covered the person's interests and personality: How can this gift be used in their day to day lives? Think of what they do every day, whether it's work, school, or hobby / routine. The best kind of gifts are the ones I can add to my every day life because everyone wins when gifts are useful. It's a pleasure for the giver knowing they spent well, and a convenience for the receiver because they didn't spend a dime on what they needed. That's why everyone always gives mugs or tumblers–we all need a drink in whatever situation we are. Coffee's our go to for work, tea is when we relax and chill, and sometimes we drink water out of a cup because we don't have an actual glass (or we're hipsters as fuck). Something so simple, like a mug, is easily utilized in every day life.
Take note of what your receiver does for their work or their majors. For instance, communication majors would love a lens filter for their cameras. Medicine or law students memorize a lot of technical jargon, so they'd love a set of highlighter pens with different colors. Employees who commute to work need a slash-proof backpack that would keep their valuables safe when compressed in a jam-packed train. Got a friend who goes on a bike ride every day? Give them a waterproof kit for their possessions. A freelance creative would love erasable colored pencils for those ideas to be vividly represented on paper with minimum errors. (By freelance creative, I mean me.)
Step 4: Food For Gifts Is Food Of Thought
Let's say you can't pinpoint what your receiver really wants. You've done your research, then considered their lifestyle and personality. But still you're left without a clue. Fortunately we're all human beings with one common craving: food. There's a 50% chance that someone else is going to eat what you get for them, but you won't feel bad because in the end, they ate what you gave them. Everyone loves eating for free.
Even if your receive gives the food to their sibling, their grandma, or their dog, all that matters is it was consumed. But don't put the blame on yourself when these people get sick after eating your food–that's the receiver's responsibility. (Unless you gave them dog food for their dog, and their family decides to eat it for some awful reason.) It's important to take in health factors when giving edible gifts as well. Don't give your braces-wearing friend a pack of bubble gum. Avoid chocolates when your co-worker is at risk for diabetes. Most importantly, don't give a recovering alcoholic some sangria, noh? We don't want a relapse to happen.
Step 5: Money Is The Last Resort
Monetary gifts don't hurt. However, there are catches. If you're going to give money, make sure you put it inside an envelope with the receiver's name on it. Giving cash outright can be seen as rude for most people, specially in different cultures. Not that I'm saying giving money is wrong, but the way you present it to your giver can mean something to them. So present it nicely to them like you'd wrap a box with a gift wrapper.
Gifts that can act as cash are also good, less awkward alternatives. You can purchase gift certificates in different stores offering them or you can go online to Gifted.PH. At Gifted.Ph, you can purchase any gift certificate online from any recognized brand in the country. Purchasing a GC on the website is easy–once you choose a brand, you can also add a greeting card to go with it. All you have to do is pay and send! And if you got a GC from Gifted.PH, all you have to do is print the GC and show it to the merchant. Shop away!
Remember the good old saying about gift-giving: it's the thought of the person that counts. Thinking about their best interests and matching it with a gift definitely means a lot to them. Online profiles made it much easier to understand them, and let's make use of that wisely. You can work any gift for that person that your budget will allow, no matter how big or small. Knowing that you took some effort to be familiar with them is the real essence of the gift.