Holiday Gifting Do’s and Dont’s

Written by: Cara Eaton

It’s lingering in all of our minds with only 1 week left of classes, the holidays are coming. Are you ready?

Although it seems hard to focus on anything other than school, the Who in me is bursting with Christmas spirit and ideas for celebrating this holiday season. What Christmas parties will I be attending? Who will be home for Christmas? And more pressing, what will I be gifting to my loved ones?

As a self-proclaimed professional shopper I look ahead to the Christmas season and plan my purchases for months in advance. It’s a talent to learn, and a transferrable skill to be able to buy the perfect present for the perfect person. So here I am to share my gifting wisdom for all of your giftees including friends, family and those hard to buy for people.

FRIENDS:  Now unlike family members when buying for your friends things can and should be a little bit more humorous. I’ve gifted my fair share of collages, photo frames and baked goods, however these items seem more generic and although thoughtful, could pretty much be replicated for all of your friends. So my advice when gifting to friends is to go for something very specific—something only that person would appreciate, and something they could or would never get for themselves. This could include art work for their walls, a homemade pair of mittens or even a basket of goodies you know they like.

GROUP GIFTING: My friends from home and I actually have had several gift exchanges and perfected the concept of friend gifting. We’ve tried both buying smaller gifts as well as doing the expensive Secret Santa thing, but by far the most successful was Secret Santa Pinterest gifting.  Between the 6 of us we each  make a specific item for our Secret Santa based on a Pinterest or other handmade idea. Not only does this make this very personal, but it allows for a smaller budget and humorous results. Several past presents from our exchange included:

  • Crayon Art piece
  • Homemade framed cow art (Our friend loves meat)
  • A homemade Galaxy shirt
  • A sugar sculpture
  • Knitted slippers
  • A personalized painted jewelry box
  • Key chains

FAMILY: Family gifts are often harder to buy for than friends as they should have some sort of meaning behind them. Each gift should be a representation of your love—or at least that’s what I go for. Again, I try to make these really personal, going beyond the movies they asked for or what color shirt they said they needed. The truly meaningful and best gifts will be the ones you’ve thought through, the ones you searched for, and not the ones you bought last minute at the Pen Centre.

Based on each member of my family here are some of my gifting ideas:

DAD: My dad is in a blues band with a few of his friends back home, playing on hobbies is a really good place to start when gifting for family. Several of my gifts make my Dad feel proud and allow him to use it for more than one day.

  • Print and design brochures for my dad’s band
  • Personalized band t-shirts ordered for the whole band
  • Creat and print a band concert poster
  • Books on the Blues
  • A Rolling Stone’s magazine subscription ($20 for the year)
  • Concert movies
  • embroidered bowling shirt
  • Fedora

MOM: Now my mom I find the hardest to buy for as she doesn’t really have distinct hobbies like my dad. This is where I take the sappy route, gifting things that have strong meanings and will inspire my mom to keep for years to come. Things like:

  • A Pinterest Cook book, with handwritten recipes that I like
  • A make-up session at MAC
  • A midi-ring
  • An infinity scarf
  • A shirt I’ve picked out for her
  • A coupon for her favorite meal which I make (A homemade pizza in my mom’s case)

I also play off of the fact that my mom is dying for my opinion on jewelry, make-up and clothes. Gifting something that is new or in style gives her confidence every time she wears it.

BROTHER: My brother is also harder to buy for as we rarely see each other during the school year. I typically buy him something he would never buy himself, something like:

  • A denim shirt
  • Nice sheets/pillow covers
  • Artwork
  • Nice towels
  • A scarf
  • Slippers
  • A newspaper subscription
  • Boat shoes
  • Nice gloves
  • A leather wallet

Overall, I’d say when buying gifts for those special people in your life make sure it is something that will mean something to that person. Sticking to wish lists are a safe bet, but giving someone something they never thought they would get, is even better. Merry Gifting!

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