How to Give the Perfect Christmas Gift

Every holiday season brings with it a lot of joy and excitement. But with it – there is also some confusion and stress. For me, the stress often comes from trying to find the perfect Christmas gift for the people that I really care about. Sometimes (I'm often guilty of this with my wife) I get so wrapped up (get it?) in finding the best gift, that I fail to even find a “good” one.

I hate to say this, but one year, I gave my wife some organic dirt as part of her birthday gift. Granted she wanted it – but for a birthday gift? Lame, I know. It's almost like I get paralysis from overanalysis. You know what I mean?

If you believe in the adage that time is money – knowing a few tricks that will help you find a great gift for your friends or family faster, you'll inevitability save more money.

Here's what has been working for me and I hope can help you too this season.

how to find the perfect christmas gift

Peruse emails

Now this tip is ideally for those closest to us (as they typically email us the most). Sometimes your friends/family will make a note of something they want and send it via email. Since my wife knows I am notoriously bad at giving her gifts – she does this a lot. Case in point:


So if you are stuck about what to buy for your brother Joe, do a search for all his emails and add the search term “christmas” or “gift” or “I'd like”. Many of you delete your emails right away – so this won't work for everyone, but it's a great first, easy step.

Ask for their Wishlist

Many folks use Amazon to do their online shopping. And while they are shopping – they often find various items they wish they could buy. Amazon has a neat little section where buyers can add these items – called the Wishlist. It's found over on the right-hand side of the site under YOUR LISTS

amazon wishlist

When you get to the Wishlist page, you'll find an area where you can share the list with others via email (and other social means). It's on the right-hand side again:

share your wishlist

Just click on the envelope icon and a popup will appear where you can grab the link to your Wishlist OR send a little note to your friends/family directly.

Feel free to ask your friends or family to send you a link to their Wishlist. While the gift won't be a total surprise to them, at least you know it will be something they want.

Best-seller list

Staying with the idea of online shopping again – another neat trick that I have found to be helpful is to browse the best-seller sections on online stores. Regarding Amazon (as many use it to shop), check out their best-seller sections to find a gift for your special someone. You probably have some sense of what they are into and may like – but not know exactly what to get them. This is a great help because the lists are determined by the items that most people are purchasing (and already like). Here's a link to the best seller section at Amazon.

Social media

I'm thinking of mainly Pinterest here as it typically is a better source of information for what a person really likes. If your recipient has a Pinterest account, check it out. Often times they'll even have a “wishlist” of sorts as one of their boards.

Friends of friends

Another tried and tested way to find that perfect gift is to ask the recipients friends or family. They'll often have ideas that you have never thought of before OR more information that you've never heard about regarding their wants/wishes.

Go sentimental

Lastly, if you are looking for something a bit more sentimental, less expensive and has the unique, personal touch – look through some old photos of them and have them resized and framed. Another idea is to ask the parent of the recipient OR their closest family/friend if they can provide you with a picture of them when they were younger. This really shows that you have gone the extra mile – and can add a humorous touch to your gift.

What other ways do you employ to find the perfect gift for that special someone?

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  1. Funny about Jen’s pointed direction for gift-giving. If it makes you feel any better, most guys I know need these types of direct ideas. :-) I love the sentimental value gifts, though. Us girls never tire of those. :-)

    • Thanks for letting me know I’m not a lone Laurie. :)

  2. I’m always thinking about gifts. I think I get that from my dad: he’s a very generous man who likes to give presents. So I always make mental notes of things people say that could somehow translate into a nice gift later on (e.g., my wife lamented a few months ago that she was down to one pair of jeans so I bought her a Gap gift card for her birthday recently). It takes conscious effort to do this during conversations but over time, it may become natural.

    Ultimately, I think if all else fails: ask them. Hopefully they have something in mind! I much prefer knowing that I’m spending my money on something that someone wants.

    • You’re a thoughtful man Ruser – we need more of em in this world! :) I am with you – being a better listener and paying attention to what people are saying will often give you clues too.

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