Ready to be known as the best gift-giver in your social circle? In How to be a Gifting Guru we supply you with suggestions for everyday moments and special occasions. From memorable birthday ideas to Christmas gifts for everyone on your list, our gifting experts share their tips so you can continuously impress your loved ones with gifts they’ll cherish.

There’s nothing like the unmatched joy that goes hand-in-hand with watching someone you care about unwrap the ultimate gift 

From the moment their eyes spot the gift awaiting them to the second their fingers unwrap their prize, the very thought of that scenario undoubtedly puts a big smile on your face—especially when the gift came directly from you. As much we love the idea of giving gifts, though, the reality of picking out the perfect present for a loved one can be a struggle. 

Picking out great presents is about more than just knowing someone—it’s a true art form. Gift exchanges are about more than just throwing a present in someone’s direction. They can reveal how people think about each other, how they build and maintain their relationships, and how they feel about another person. In other words, it’s all about connection

Tips for top-notch gifting

Ready to learn the must-know secrets for being a great gift giver? Above all, you must remember one important thing—that old adage “it’s the thought that counts” absolutely applies to gift-giving.  In fact, most  people actually feel more  pressure when they’re giving a gift than when they’re receiving one. AKA, most people are just thrilled someone put in the effort to think of them.

That means that as the gift giver, cut yourself some slack and don’t overthink it. Odds are, they’ll be over-the-moon you thought of them in the first place.  

Pay attention, listen, and take notes

Do your best to listen to your family and friends year-round to really get a feel for what they like, care about, and desire. The people around us are typically openly communicating about these things, and in those moments, you can uncover the perfect gift idea

man surprising woman

Whether it’s a quick, sly mention of something they enjoy, an object they wish they could afford, or something they truly love to do, you can discover a lot by paying attention. Keep a running list or note on your phone and add to it year-round. That way, the next time you’re in a present-slump, you can consult with your handy-dandy list for help.

Know who you’re shopping for

While this might not always apply to your gift-giving process (office-wide Secret Santa games, we’re looking at you), in most cases, keeping perspective about who you’re shopping for and what they’re interested in can help steer you in the right direction.

Remember, the gift isn’t about what’s important to you—it’s about the person receiving the gift. When it comes to top-tier gifting, knowing your audience can be a game-changer.  

family on Christmas

Respectful snooping is A-OK

We’re not saying you should start digging through someone’s bathroom cabinets, but paying extra attention and enacting full detective mode can possibly help clue you into what your friends and family might be receptive to. Take a look at their homes, their hobbies, their cars, and their routines. Do a quick scan of their social media. Do a little digging and some serious research. 

Sleuthing around in this way can truly open up your eyes. Just be careful not to get caught respectfully sleuthing through their lives—that can be a hard thing to explain away, and potentially ruin the surprise! 

Think outside the box

Remember, just because there’s pressure to put something great inside a gift box doesn’t mean you have to think inside that box! Giving a great gift is all about using your creative brain, which often means forgoing the normal. For example, maybe your gift recipient doesn’t want something that can fit inside a box at all.

Giving the gift of an experience—potentially one you enjoy together—can strengthen your relationship, build your bond, and matter more to people who aren’t fans of material possessions. Sign yourself and a family member up for an online charcuterie board workshop, bake something sweet for a friend, or print some coloring pages you can work on with your nieces and nephews. 

virtual charcuterie board

Embrace sentimentality

Well-selected gifts are often incredibly valuable, but not in the way you might think. No, we’re not talking about monetary value, we’re talking about sentimental value, or rather, something that’s filled with emotion or creates a connection between the giver and the receiver. 

woman with card

Though sentimental gifts can be hard to come up with, recipients of presents often prefer sentimental gifts. In other words, if you’ve got a great idea for a sentimental gift for your loved one, go for it—even if it’s tough to be vulnerable! It could be as simple as writing something meaningful in a handwritten card. 


Beginning her writing career as a print journalist, Hanna Marcus worked as a beat reporter and general assignment reporter in newsrooms throughout Florida including The Tampa Bay Times, The Orlando Sentinel, The Naples Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun. Now a full-time freelance writer, she writes for clients such as Hot Topic, New Balance, BoxLunch, and others.

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