I can’t believe it’s November.

I feel like it was just the middle of summer. I know, time flies and all that, but the holidays are right before us and it’ll be 2012 before you know it. Crazy.

I love the holidays. I always have. The decorating, special meals, friends and family… but the favorite part for me is the gift giving. Say what you will about commerce and consumerism, etc. etc. I love getting people gifts. I feel like it’s a celebration of who they are, what they mean to me, and a small token of my appreciation for their friendship. Warm fuzzies – who doesn’t like warm fuzzies?

I’m also really good at gift giving. A lot of this does relate back to my enjoyment, but I don’t have a hard time figuring out what to give people. My husband does struggle with it, but I’ve just taken to telling him what I want (or skipping gifts all together) or shopping for him. I get the warm fuzzies, he gets to not feel awkward at the gift giving, everyone wins. (I’m the emotional, creative one. He’s the precise, engineery one. We balance each other out.)

So what is my gift giving POA? How do I get a gift I’m satisfied with that I know the gift-ee will enjoy?

1. I pay attention. Little comments here and there get stored away in my brain. People talk about what they want or enjoy all the time. If I see or hear something I think might make a good gift, I rush over to amazon and toss it on my gift giving wishlist with a little note. Or I email myself. Or make a google calendar reminder about this time of year that says, “Hey, dad really liked that chair from Ikea. Buy it for him?”

2. I try to keep things practical. If someone doesn’t like stuff – don’t buy them stuff! Or just ask them what they’d like. I know, I’m a fan of the surprise ‘look at me, I nailed it’ gift, but for those hard to shop for people… it’s better to get them what they want or would use. A couple blog posts ago I talked about how I cook using blogs. Most of my cookbooks are collecting dust and I’m slowly getting rid of them. For me… a cookbook probably isn’t the best choice for a gift.

3. I use the internet. You can find just about anything online. It’s the future! Blogs do some of the work for you by creating tremendous gift guides that allow you to find unique gifts for pretty much anyone on your list. (I think I’m going to make one after this post.) Use them!

4. I’m thoughtful. Don’t wait til the last minute. This doesn’t allow time for thoughtfulness. You can really think about a person and what they might enjoy/use if you’re rushing to the last minute. Shopping online will force you to shop early. Just think about the person. Think about what makes them happy. And extrapolate… What’s related to that thing? What would complement that thing? What would people who like that thing also like? Maybe that thing is a physical object. Maybe it is just a visa gift card. Maybe it’s a donation to a local non-profit they would support. As long as there’s a thought process behind your gift, you have a better chance of getting something they’ll really like.

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