How to Buy the Perfect Gift

How to Buy The Perfect Gift

CoverPhoto by Miroslava on Unsplash


10 Expert tips to buying the perfect gift!

We all know the frustration and worry when it’s time to buy someone a gift and we don’t have a clue where to start. So many questions like “what do they want?”, “What do they like?” Even more likely perhaps “who has time for this?” And so on…

There are things we can do however that will help to take the mystery and the stress out of gift buying. After all buying gifts is supposed to be fun not stressful.

Follow the simple steps in this guide to buy the perfect gift every time! Please feel free to share or comment on this article with your own tips if you think I have missed any, also let me know what your perfect gift is!


1. Takes Notes

The odds are throughout the year you will hear little hints from the person you are buying for this is especially the case with couples. If you hear your partner say, “I’d love to go there” or “they look great” then take notes.

Paying attention to these little hints throughout the year can make gift buying so much easier. It costs nothing to listen so when you hear a hint make a mental note or use a pen if you think you might forget!


It's all in the preparation
It’s all in the preparation

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A helpful clue people often give is when they comment on something we have that they like. So the next time you hear “I love your tie, where did you get it from?” this could be a great place to start with gift buying for that person.


2. Avoid Gift Vouchers

It seems like most people are unanimously agreed that it’s really annoying to receive gift vouchers, but we all continue to buy these for other people, why? “It shows thought”… No it doesn’t it shows you had no idea what to buy.

The process of changing real money for pretend money is strange to say the least. Usually gift vouchers are only valid for a certain length of time, often 12 months. Gift vouchers can be very restrictive and often go unused creating huge windfalls for retailers.

Most of us will recall finding an expired gift card in our wallet but very few of us will have found expired unused money in our wallet. So the lesson here is if you are thinking about buying a gift card just give the money instead. Money offers much more longevity and flexibility.

Gift cards are pushed by retailers because they lock in customers to spending money with them even if they don’t like what’s on offer. Think how much money these retailers make each year from unused expired gift cards. So ditch the pretend money and give the real thing instead!


3. How about an Experience

Physical gifts are great but sometimes an experience can be even more valuable, after all your experiences are with you forever and the odds are a new jumper won’t be… Hopefully that’s the case anyway.

An experience could be tickets for you and your partner to go to see their favourite musician perform live or for a holiday, it doesn’t matter it’s about picking something individual and special to the receiver that they will enjoy to do.

A shared experience can really help bring you closer together with a loved one and is something you will both remember forever wherever life takes you!

Note the previous point here as well, it’s great to share an experience but avoid experience vouchers. Going to a five star restaurant and paying with a voucher can be awkward so if you are doing an experience avoid vouchers and pay with real money.


4. What’s their Passion?

Think about the receiver’s passion, whether they love football or opera this can be a huge help when picking the perfect gift. If you are not sure what this is or don’t know the person very well ask them questions, this is a great way to find the perfect gift for them.

The reason focusing in on passions is so powerful when gift buying is two-fold. Firstly the things we are passionate about trigger a powerful emotional reaction so a gift that taps into this will be really appreciated and secondly you can ask someone about their passions without them knowing you are thinking about gifts.

People will talk about what they are passionate about all day which can really help you spot potential gift opportunities.


5. Touch their Heart

The gifts we hold onto forever are not usually the really expensive ones, we treasure the things that mean something to us and warm our heart. Even if you are buying someone a present that is more practical a great way to show them you care is to add in something more touching.

This could be anything such as a photo of you both together doing something you love in a nice frame or an inscription on the gift itself. These little touches make a huge difference and mean a lot to people.


Trigger an Emotional Response
Trigger an Emotional Response

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash


My fiancé gave me a framed photo of our daughter which sits on my office desk. Even though I have hundreds if not thousands of photos of our daughter it means so much to me and I look at it every single day.

When I was 21 my grandmother gave me a pocket watch with a personal inscription. Despite never wearing a pocket watch this meant so much to me and even today I will get it out to remind me of her and how much she will always mean to me.

The message here is you don’t need to spend a fortune to give an amazing gift. The best gifts make us feel warm inside and a flat screen TV just can’t do that.


6. Buy for Them Not You

This is a big one. So many of us think about what we might like when we are buying a gift for someone else. I am so good at doing this that I have been known to buy two of each gift so I have one for myself!

It is okay to use your own preferences when gift buying but remember you are buying for a different person and you need to tap into what they are passionate about not what you are. So put yourself to one side and think what they might they like, if you are not sure ask someone close to them or someone who has similar interests.

Remember you are not buying for yourself! Although if you see something you like why not buy yourself a treat as well, after all this hard work gift buying you deserve a treat yourself!


7. Start in Good Time

Buying all of your Christmas gifts two days before the big day is stressful and not conducive to buying the perfect gift. Start early and avoid what we all do, walking through the store picking up anything, everything that might be okay… Last minute panic buying is a huge waste of money.

Start a couple of months before and plan out what you need to get for each person and the budget. This can avoid you panic buying at the last minute and can also help you budget and manage and spread the cost.


8. Avoid Clothes

Okay so this one comes with caveats. Buying clothes in some instances is absolutely fine but it really depends on how well you know the receiver, their style and what will fit them.

Just think how many millions of unwanted sweaters that sit in people’s wardrobes that will never be worn. Clothing is a very intimate thing and personally I think you need to be very close to someone to know what they might like.

I would find it impossible to buy a pair of shoes for my mother but I have to admire her tenacity that she keeps buying me trainers! To be fair she actually does a pretty good job.

Stick to your circle of competence and if unsure avoid clothes after all an unused or unwanted gift is pointless. If you do buy clothes as a gift always give a gift receipt so the receiver can change these if the style or fit is not quite right for them.


9. If In Doubt Ask

We all like surprises but if you are still lost when buying someone a gift you can just ask them what they would like. This won’t always be appropriate but a lot of the time this absolutely fine.

I and my fiancé will often ask each other what we want for a gift and whilst this might take some of the mystery out of receiving a gift it is always a pleasure to receive something you truly want and value.

By asking you also show that you genuinely care and want to please the receiver. You can also save yourself a huge amount of time looking blindly for a present and avoid wasting money buying unwanted gifts.

So don’t panic buy, if you are genuinely unsure where to start just ask the question. It’s also okay to ask someone close to the receiver for their insight, for example I will ask my mother what my dad might like and so on. This can really help you buy the perfect gift and still keep it a surprise.


10. The Thought That Counts

Okay so this is a bit of a cliché but it is true. Ultimately you are not a mind reader and can only do your best. If you wrack your brain and still don’t buy the perfect gift that’s okay. I am sure the receiver will still love you and appreciate your efforts.


It's the Thought that Counts
It’s the Thought that Counts

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash


Try not to worry about how the gift will be received, apply the principles you have read and then go out and do your best. Gift buying at times can feel really stressful but remember it really is not life and death.



Follow the simple steps in this guide to buy the perfect gift every time! Please feel free to share or comment on this article with your own tips if you think I have missed any, also let me know what your perfect gift is!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this guide. Good luck with your gift buying and remember that it’s not life and death. Apply these principles, enjoy yourself and don’t worry.

Wishing you and all those you love health, wealth and happiness!

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