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When it comes to finding the best practical Christmas gift, there is a lot of listening and sleuthing involved. It sounds like a mystery right? That’s what I think of when I say this.
When we think of gift-giving, our thoughts immediately turn to what the person may like receiving. Or… what I’ve found to happen is people tend to buy what we “think they need” versus what they actually need. And obviously, it can be both too.
We factor in what they enjoy, their hobbies, or what they may not buy for themselves. Rarely do we think along practical gift-giving ideas.
Why is This?
When we think of practical gift-giving, our thoughts turn toward socks or small appliances. These thoughts turn to long-standing jokes on receiving these gifts. The gift of socks denotes a cheap practical gift that requires no thought at all.
Socks are something that everyone uses, but to receive them as a gift is often discouraging. They are seen as not a gift, but something that people can purchase cheaply on their own. So, when does sock giving, for example, move from a never ever to the special gift?
The answer is when you put thought behind it. A package of white tube socks may not have meaning. However, if the individual engages in sports or has sore feet, socks can be the perfect gift. However, it’s not the sock, per se, it’s the type of sock.
To truly solve someone’s problem and move it from useless to useful, the person giving the gift needs to consider what solves the problem of sweaty feet and lack of cushioning. Socks that have moisture-wicking properties or contain extra padding on high-impact areas would be appreciated.
By giving a sock with these characteristics to this person, you solve their problem. This is what practical Christmas gifts are designed to do.
The same sentiment is applied to small appliances, as well as some large ones. Men and women joke about the “appliance” gift and what it denotes. For example, if a person were to give their spouse a vacuum or an appliance as a practical gift idea, they may be deemed as insensitive. The person receiving it may think that the other person feels they are messy or can’t cook.
They may also feel stereotyped.
However, if a small appliance like a slow cooker that was multifaceted is given, the present may be better received. Perhaps the family not only likes slow cooked meals, but enjoys rice, steamed vegetables, stews, or chili. Then, this gift becomes practical. It eliminates other appliances by combining them into one, and it may expand the meal selection.
There is a fine line between thoughtful and thoughtless. You need to know the individual you are gifting well. Consider their feelings as to whether they may take offense or not. If you aren’t sure, then ask them. It’s better to blow a surprise than to offend or hurt another individual. It’s also cheaper and easier, too.
Sometimes people know what they need, but don’t know where to find it or how to solve their problem. This is where your gift can come in handy to solving their issue. All you need to do is think about what bothers them and find a way to take care of it for them. It really is that simple.
How Can You Find The Best Practical Christmas Gift?
In the quest to find that special present, you may find that you must do some intense listening or sleuthing to surprise another person. Here are eight secrets to finding that great gift:
When trying to pick up hints as to what they might need, listen to what they are saying. What areas in their life need improvement or do they need help in? These can be your keys to a great practical holiday gift.
For example, a friend who says that work is a constant source of stress may suffer from tense muscles. They may complain that their back, shoulders, or neck constantly hurts. It can also be their jaw from clenching it so tightly. Then, to solve their problem and to help them relax, a great present may be for a one-hour massage.
This special present will help them relax and unwind. Their body will also reap the benefits as well. You may be helping them, and in turn, they will appreciate the gesture. You solved their problem.
To get back some time – or more importantly, have downtime – you can give them a gift card for laundry service. All they would need to do is put all the dirty clothes in bags and the company comes to pick them up. No washing, drying, folding, or ironing involved. The putting away part… well, that’s all on them.
For the new mom, you can bring food, offer free babysitting, or buy a gift card to have food delivered whenever she needs a break. Anything that you can do to help out, she will appreciate.
Regarding the senior citizen, you can offer to shovel snow or mow their lawn for them. You can also hire someone to do the job as well. It decreases the physical burden on their body and gives them time to just enjoy life. My mom isn’t a senior citizen yet but she LOVES it when I bring her food, especially lasagna.
Find out what they are passionate about and find a holiday gift that shows you care about what is important to them. Gifts don’t always have to be about the recipient. Sometimes, donating to a greater cause offers more meaning than an ordinary gift.
Think unusually. There are people who love astrology, the cosmos, and stargazing. While a telescope may be out of your budget, consider having a star named after them. This thoughtful gift will last forever and will always bear their name.
What are their hobbies? Maybe they relax while painting, love wine testing, or horseback riding. Sometimes the most practical present is one they use regularly but kicked up a notch. Don’t just choose to buy them something they regularly get themselves. Invest in something that is high quality that will make them say “wow” at your gift. This will be something they use all the time and can enjoy forever.
Also, if they are flipping back and forth between trying something new, like painting in watercolors, or toying with buying a new gadget, you can buy it for them. It will be a nice surprise and incredibly practical. It may extend their enjoyment of their hobby.
Virtual assistants remove chores from the person’s list. They can do work tasks, contact departments, manage your email, scheduling, time planning, and bookkeeping. They help do the mundane tasks so you don’t have to.
If they need more organization, consider giving them an Echo Dot. An Echo Dot will act as a personal assistant with reminders, to-do lists, shopping lists, etc. It will play your favorite music, wake you up, read the news, and do a morning routine. It will do what you program it to do.
Instead of hiring someone, you can choose to be their personal assistant for the day. Take care of their children for the morning so they can sleep in or take them for a sleepover. Do some things around the house for them or make them a meal. These are all practical things that many people appreciate.
Suppose the person is more of a “homebody” as opposed to someone who likes to go out. There are people who love to spend their weekends binge-watching their favorite television series on Netflix or Hulu. Perhaps they enjoy finding something a little different to watch all weekend long.
The best gift to give them may be a subscription. If they are a health nut, consider a membership to their favorite gym. If they have kids, factor in what age they are and what they might enjoy.
If they like binge-watching, give them a year’s subscription to Hulu, Disney+, or Netflix. For children, you can give them a membership to a children’s museum, zoo, or planetarium. Memberships are always a great practical present and can be fun, too.
Families can try something new, have fun doing an activity they have never done before, or just get out of the house. It allows them the opportunity to bond as a family and enjoy each other’s company.
Finding the perfect gift in these cases isn’t difficult. It just involves getting to know another individual. It is listening attentively to what they have to say, what areas they wish would improve, and being attentive while they may daydream.
What if I Don’t Know What the Perfect Gift Is?
Perhaps it is a co-worker that you don’t know very well, or that distant relative that you hardly see. What can you get someone that you spend little time with when you are their designated, “Secret Santa?”
You want to gift them with something they will enjoy, yet you have no idea what that could be! Here are some practical gift-giving ideas that they might appreciate owning:
1. For the person who prizes nutrition and organic vegetables, consider an herbal garden kit.
This gift is great as it is compact and easy to use. Fresh herbs each day is also a wonderful gift, and they will create delicious meals for many months.
2. Are they a coffee connoisseur or always on the go? The Collapsible Coffee Cup from STOJO is a great addition. They are convenient for the person who is always busy, trendy, cute, and eco-friendly. They also have a small footprint to save additional space.
STOJO also makes collapsible bottles, bowls, and travel mugs. All are available in a variety of colors.
3. Perhaps they are a girly girl. Maybe they just need time to unwind in the tub and relax with some self-care. These bath bombs are great for self-care and have natural ingredients to alleviate stress after a hard day. After using them, their body will fill reinvigorated.
4. Perhaps tea is their beverage of choice. The tea sampler by Taylors of Harrogate will give them a new tea to try each day. To make this gift extra-special, add several biscotti or special treats to the mix.
5. For those that are health conscious or take hydration seriously, consider the Savvy Infusion Flip Top Fruit Infuser by the Savvy Infusion store.
Who likes to have 8-10 cups of the same beverage each day just to remain hydrated? This water bottle will allow them to add some variety to their water by infusing it with fresh fruit for additional health benefits.
6. Do they love coffee? Help them kick up their morning brew by giving them a milk frother. It will enhance their creativity, make their coffee more aromatic and flavorful, and create a creamy beverage.
This milk frother adds flavor and a fluffy texture to the coffee. It is also battery powered and portable. Thus, they can take it anywhere!
7. Do they love a good bottle of wine but complain that they never finish a bottle? The Original Vacu Vin Wine Saver from Vacu Vin prevents wine from being wasted by using a multi-purpose vacuum and stopper to suck air out of a bottle. This will allow users to conserve the bottle for later usage.
8. Maybe they love their kids. You know the person: they are always talking about how great, how cute, and how special their little ones are. They are the proud papa when it comes to their achievements.
What better way to help them cherish their kids than with personalized Polaroid coasters by Mustard? All you need to do is slide memories into the coasters and you are done. Parents will love the vintage look and the personal touch it brings to their gift.
9. Do they love to snack? This unzipped glass zipper bag makes the perfect conversation piece for their candy stash. To make it extra special, add their favorite candy, soap, or bath cubes to the bag.
They make for a great conversation item around the office, they can fill it up with their own tasty treats, and it offers a convenient excuse to drop by their desk!
10. Maybe they love brainteasers. If they have already worn out their last five fidget spinners, you may want to consider these around the world brainteasers. Adult fidget toys are perfect to keep hands busy and to generate problem-solving skills.
These are some terrific gift-giving ideas when you don’t know what else to buy. All you need to do is notice what they do: closely observe them for the day, then find a gift to suit their personality.
The best part is that all these gifts are very affordable, and you can add anything to them to build a theme. This makes them perfect as Secret Santa gifts where there is a price limit, or even for stocking stuffers.
There are numerous gifts you can give someone if you have a vague idea of what their interests are. Sometimes, all that is required is some creative thinking and hunting for perfect holiday season idea.
Things to Consider While Gift Giving
Too many people make the mistake of thinking about what they would like or find useful. Not everyone’s tastes or needs are the same. So, what you may find totally amazing and can’t do without someone else may find boring or not useful.
Always consider the person you are giving the gift to. What would they appreciate receiving? If you can get inside their head space and personality, you may end up finding that special gift.
Gag gifts aren’t always the best gifts. Unless the person is known for their sense of humor, a gag gift, while it might be well-meaning, can come across as hurtful. People may be laughing on the outside, but harbor hurt at the lack of sensitivity on the inside.
Unless you know the person well, avoid giving a gag gift as a present.
If you want to go the extra mile, consider personalizing the gift or documenting it. Personalizing a gift doesn’t mean that you put your name all over it; the act can be as simple as a lovely inscription or engraving.
If you give them that zippered candy bag, think about engraving their name on it. If you gift a family member with cooking lessons, document the event in a scrapbook. This way, they can enjoy the day for years to come.
Think of ways to make a perfect everyday gift into something more memorable and special for the individual. It’s those little details that go a long way.
Avoid giving them gifts on a sensitive topic. For example, if they aren’t known for their cooking skills, don’t invest in cooking lessons. The gift will not be well-received. You may think that you are helping them out or providing a solution, but you are coming across as insensitive. This type of gift is sure to spark and argument. It won’t end well.
Sometimes in finding that perfect treasured item, you may have to take the person with you. They may be into wine, but if you don’t know what type they like, you can end up buying the wrong thing.
It is the same with appliances. Sometimes people are looking for certain features or have specific needs. This is when it is wise for you to allow them to make their own purchase. While they may love the idea of the gift, it may not be something that they needed. You will end up with a polite smile, a thank you, and a request for the gift receipt.
If you don’t know whether they will like it or are concerned that it may not be exactly what they want, include the gift receipt in the card. It saves the person the embarrassment of saying they didn’t fully like your gift, or it wasn’t quite what they needed. They can return it, as heartbreaking as that may be, and buy something that they will really use or enjoy.
Don’t feel bad about giving practical Christmas gift ideas. Most people believe that it shows unoriginality or insensitivity. However, it may end up being the perfect present.
Some people like practical gifts they can use all the time. The best part is that you can come over and watch them enjoy it all the time instead of once and awhile. It’s great when they can appreciate something all year through.
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones we need or are on our want list. The ones on our want list are things that we would like to buy but don’t have the money to or can’t justify. These, too, can be practical gifts.
If you don’t fully have the funds, consider asking others to go in on the gift with you. If the person is hard to buy for, they will appreciate the thought of going in on a great gift over giving a mediocre one. They may also not have a clue what the person wants or what they want isn’t in their budget, either. This is a great way to solve two problems and alleviate a lot of stress!
Giving the best gift doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. Sometimes it takes a bit of creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, listening, and searching to come up with that over-the-top purchase.
Practical gifts show that you care and usually do not go unappreciated. It is something the person needs or wants, anyway. Even though it may be practical over “special,” it shows that you have the person’s interests in mind, that you took the time to find them something personal and something they can use every single day.
Every single day they will think about how thoughtful you are and reflect on the gift. Sometimes the perfect gifts in life are the ones we use on a regular basis. When we buy them, it shows that we care enough to solve a problem or get them something they enjoy.
Sometimes, we end up giving them something that they love, but never knew they needed! What a great way to make someone’s life easier.