How to Give Someone a Good Gift

By Emmett Bassen-Alexander

As it gets closer to the various Holidays that take place in the back half of December, the gift giving spirit is coming to a head in probably the most gift-y season of the year. So I thought I would take it upon myself to write some tips as to how you can give someone a truly good gift. I am by no means a perfect gift giver, but I have received enough gifts that I didn’t really like to know what not to do. Without further ado, the list begins.

  1. Give them something they will use: This seems obvious, but if you give a gift that is something they will look at once and then never think about again, you have not done a good job. You should be either listening to what they want, or you can wing it and give them something that they don’t have that everyone likes. Like a nice pen or a paperweight. That way they won’t be disappointed if it’s not what they wanted.
  2. Listen: Don’t just be around the person and make a guess based on their general hobbies. If you are especially close with this person and know what they like you have leeway, but if you’re not close don’t guess. You probably won’t get it right if you guess, and things and junk that relates to things they like aren’t particularly heartfelt or satisfying to receive. What you should do is listen to what they mention a lot or look at online communities for the topic. People with the same interests will know more about it than you do and you can get a better understanding of what gifts are good for that hobby.
  3. Don’t be afraid to give them cash: If you are truly stumped as to what someone would like, no one is upset to open up a wad of cash. Literally no one. You cannot go wrong with a good Visa gift card or a couple twenty dollar bills. It may seem lazy, but I’d rather get a lazy gift of cash than a thought-out gift that I hate.
  4. Get creative: If you are on a budget or the person you are getting a gift for doesn’t expect much from you, you have the perfect opportunity for some arts and/or crafts. A lame card with some money in it is fine (see tip 4), but a really creative card also with some cash in it can take the gift to the next level. So break out the scissors and construction paper, and take some time to personalize. This is a double whammy because it both makes you seem less lazy for giving them a lame gift, and it costs basically nothing to do a drawing or cut some pictures out of a magazine.
  5. Subtly ask them what they want: If you don’t want to go online or make any effort to find out what the person wants, you can always ask them what they want months before. If it’s September and you ask what is a cool gift someone would want, they might acknowledge that it is about the holidays way later, but they’ll forget before you actually give it to them. This tip only has two flaws, being that the person might buy it for themselves before christmas, and the average person is not buying holiday gifts in September. Do with it what you will.
  6. Glom onto someone else’s gift: This is probably the most unethical tip here, but if you are truly an awful gift giver/person, you always have the last ditch plan of “partnering up” with someone after their gift is already bought. You just add your name to the tag, and BAM. That gift you paid nothing for is now partly from you. Alternatively, you can find out someone else’s gift, copy it, and seem like the better gift giver. The only thing you need for this tip to work is a willingness to be an unabashedly bad person during the Christmas season. So I’m sure you, the reader, will be fine.

That just about rounds off my list on how to be a better gift giver (and possibly worse person). I hope that all these tips helped in all your gift giving endeavors. Have a Happy Holidays.

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