As the number of days left before Christmas grows smaller and smaller, many people are scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. You may dread trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, even if you do understand that gift giving can be a way to show those you love just how much you value the relationship you have with them.
If you're watching the countdown to Christmas fly by, you may be worried you'll never finish your holiday shopping. If you're in a bind, there are ways to find the right gift for everyone on your list, even with just weeks, or even days, left before the 25th.
Give the Gift of an Experience
With our focus on materialism, you may think that the best gift is some sort of material possession, but this isn't always the case. In fact, a recent study in the Journal of Business Research found that people tended to value experiences and relationships when talking about the ideal gift, rather than focusing on tangible items.
If you're looking to give a special gift to someone important in your life, such as your spouse or parent, consider giving the gift of an experience. Maybe this is tickets to attend a concert together, or purchasing a hotel room for a weekend getaway. Based on the study noted above, your loved one is likely to value the experience over having another sweater hanging in their closet.
Consider a Gift They'll Use But Wouldn't Necessarily Buy Themselves
The effects of the pandemic have certainly taken their toll. Some people have lost their jobs, or they've been forced to cut back their hours in order to recover from their own illness, care for a loved one, or stay home with kids who are out of school.
When money is tight, people are likely to focus on essentials, such as food and shelter, rather than making superfluous purchases. After all, research shows that non-essential businesses suffered in the wake of the pandemic, because people spent most of their money on essentials, like groceries. What this means is that the people in your life may have cut back on "treating themselves" this year.
If you're in the financial position to be able to do so, you can treat your loved ones by purchasing them a gift they likely wouldn't buy themselves. A fancy pair of headphones, the new Apple Watch everyone has had their eyes on, or that expensive weighted blanket that they've been wanting to try but just can't justify buying will be sure to make their day.
Consider Their Interests
At the end of the day, the best gift is truly one that comes from the heart, and your loved one will appreciate if you select something that is going to be meaningful to them. For example, a new set of dumbbells for your fitness fanatic fiancé, a newly-released bestseller for your friend who loves to read, or a new cookware set for the chef in your life, will be sure to bring a smile.
Even if you don't break the bank, a gift that is meaningful to the recipient is always a good option. Consider the fact that authors of a 2020 study in the Journal of Psychological Science have discovered that while gift-givers prefer to choose high-quality gifts, recipients are more concerned about the thoughtfulness and practicality of a gift. This means that if you select someone that your loved one will use, because it aligns with one of their interests, they are probably more likely to appreciate it than if you select a fancy item that comes with a high price tag.
Gift-giving during the holidays can be an important part of maintaining relationships, especially ones with close friends and spouses or partners. Ultimately, if you're worried about finding the perfect gift, it's clear that you care about giving something thoughtful, which appears to be half the battle. Give the gift of an experience, choose something that aligns with your loved one's interests, or select something that they will use but wouldn't buy themselves, and you're on the right track. These three guidelines leave plenty of room for various budgets and preferences, making them applicable to just about any gift-giving need.