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Tips for Chronic Bad Gift Givers

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Is choosing the right gift a constant struggle for you? Perhaps you painstakingly pick out each gift, only to be met with stiff smiles or looks of disappointment upon presentation. If so, these tips are for you. Practice following the advice in this guide and watch people light up when you give them the perfect gift!

Don't be Too Practical
Practical gifts, like socks or a toaster, while not entirely bad, are not great either. Although such items might be needed, they are not usually wanted as gifts. If you really feel the need to give such a gift, pair it with something else to make it special. For instance, if you are buying someone socks, and that same person loves to go hiking, include a new pair of hiking boots with the socks.

You Can Give the same Gift to Multiple Recipients
According to a study performed by Mary Steffel, a marketing professor at the University of Cincinnati, when a person buys gifts for several different friends at the same time, the tendency is to place a lot of importance on finding each person a different gift, even if that means getting some people gifts that are not exactly suitable. Know that it is not always necessary to give every person on your list something different. If you have picked out something special for one person, but you know another friend who would also love it, go ahead and buy it for both people.

Never Re-gift
Nine times out of ten, regifting will earn you a reputation as someone who gives bad gifts. Why would another person want a gift that you did not like or want? In addition to being thoughtless, regifting can hurt feelings and destroy relationships. The most common reasons for regifting are a small budget, short of time, or gifting to a person you do not know well. A better idea is to give the gift of homemade treats. When you are doing some routine baking or cooking, make a few extra cakes or casseroles to give as gifts.

Don't Be too Fancy
Although it is a common belief that more expensive gifts are better, this is often not the case. In most incidences, people prefer gifts that are user-friendly or convenient. For example, imagine buying some photo editing software for a friend and choosing between two programs. One program is extremely high quality but is complicated to use, the other is extremely easy to use but the quality is much lower. You might be tempted to go for the higher quality program, however, studies show that most people would prefer the lower quality software as it is much less complicated.

However, this tip does not only apply to sophisticated items such as software. Consider something simple, like gift cards or certificates. Say you have a friend who enjoys eating out and you want to buy them a gift card for a restaurant. Maybe you have a choice between a fancy steak restaurant that is a couple of hours away from where that friend lives or a run-of-the-mill little cafe that is just a few minutes from the friend's home. You might think the gift card for the fancy steak restaurant is better, but chances are, your friend would prefer the little cafe since that is easier for them to get to.

Ask What People Want
It's pointless to be worried about having the right gift when you can just ask everyone what they want. It might sound like "cheating," but it's the only surefire way to ensure that everybody gets what they truly desire Plus, the next time you buy presents for those people, you can think back on what they requested and use it as a guide on what to get them.

Don't Buy Gifts Just Because they're On Sale
Sooner or later, everyone falls for the too-good-to-pass-up bargain. You purchase something only because it is on sale, thinking that it will be the perfect gift for somebody. When the holiday season finally arrives, you attempt to decide just who to give that bargain gift to, just to figure out that no one wants that reduced-price food chopper that's just like the one advertised on TV.

Chances are, you bought that sale item as a gift in order to save money. Instead, consider making a handcrafted item. Make something that someone on your list will truly love. Consider making a beautiful wine rack from an old pallet, or something luxurious like homemade bath bombs.

Plan Ahead
Holidays and birthdays occur at or around the same time each year, hence there is no reason to scurry around at the last moment trying to find gifts. Instead, plan for special occasions and holidays ahead of time by being on the lookout all year long. Any time a friend or family member talks about something they need or really like, write it down. That way, whenever a holiday or special event comes around, you will have a complete list of great gift ideas to pick from. Also, don't wait until the last minute to do all of your shopping. If you see a gorgeous necklace and earring set, that you just know your niece will love, in May but her birthday isn't until November, there is no reason you can't buy gift hampers in May and save it till that special day arrives.

Add a Personal Touch to 'Easy' Gifts
The simplest way to shop for everyone on your list is to just give everyone gift cards, or better yet, cash. However, a lot of people think of this as thoughtless or lazy gift-giving. Therefore, if you are going to give out gift cards or cash, be sure to add a personal touch. You could include a card with a message from the heart. Another idea is to present the card or money with a little gift like presenting a gift card for a candy shop along with a box of chocolates or cash rolled up inside an attractive vase. Adding that little something extra will make a gift that otherwise appears thoughtless or lazy seem like something special. If you frequently have a difficult time finding the right gift, special occasions and holidays might stress you out. Following the above advice, even bad gift-givers can buy gifts with confidence.

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