How To Find The Perfect Gift With 4 Easy Steps

As children we found Barbie cars, racecar tracks and ski boots under the Christmas tree. Now, as “grown ups,” there are festively decorated envelopes with vouchers or money inside. Rather uncreative, I always thought.

But sometimes it can be really hard to find the perfect gift for our mom, dad, best friend, boyfriend, siblings, etc. “We have everything we need”, my grandma always says. Or dad who argues that they can buy everything they need themselves, and I shouldn’t have to worry about a gift. He’s right, I don’t have to…but I want to. Giving gifts is really great. Especially personal gifts that make the recipient’s eyes shine with joy.

In order to do that for my loved ones during the holiday season and for their birthdays, I came up with a few methods that haven proven successful and which I want to share with you today. Perhaps you’ll find some useful tips, and can impress your nearest and dearest with great, thoughtful gifts this year.

Listen up & pay attention:
Write the names of your loved ones into a calendar or a notepad app. If you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll notice that people often make casual comments about what they love or would like to have. Maybe your friend tells you just how much she loves the vase in your living room, the crime novel on your nightstand or maybe she mentions at some point that she would find it interesting to take a vegan cooking class. Take advantage of these opportunities and take notes of such hints. The trick is to open up your ears and be quick at taking notes, otherwise you’ll forget this valuable information easily.

Do some brainstorming:
Lisa. Write the name of a friend or family member in the middle of a blank sheet. Then draw a bunch of arrows pointing away from the center and write everything down you know about this person. “Often travels to London; loves cats; loves homemade, knitted socks in winter; …” For me it is always helpful to recall the last activity I did with the person. Maybe the he or she already mentioned something they would love to have back then. But if you really can’t think of anything…

Let a mind map help you along:
You can use an online tool or create your own mind map. This should help jog your memory. Think about things that could be relevant, for example:

      • What makes he/she laugh?
      • Which hobbies does he/she have?
      • What does he/she like to eat or drink?
      • Which books or movies does he/she enjoy reading or watching?
      • Does he/she have any special interests?
      • What makes him/her jump for joy?
      • What would he/she like but wouldn’t buy for themselves? – Usually a great opportunity for group gifts.
      • What’s the living situation of the person? Does he/she need utensils for a new house, the baby, a new hobby, etc.?

Write everything down and then decide which points could be connected with each question.

Your mom loves flowers, the color red and relaxing in a spa? The perfect gift: a red Christmas flower in a cute pot, decorated with a voucher for a wellness & spa day for two.

Plan B – be prepared:
The online shop of your choice hasn’t delivered the gift for your loved one in time? These things happen–and you should always have a plan B:

Therefore, stock up with potential gifts at home.

        • Start gift shopping early. You just discovered a board game a friend would like on sale but his/her birthday is months away? Buy it anyways! You’ll be happy you did.
        • Stash a few gift items that could work for anyone at home: nice cards with cute envelopes, beautiful paper bags (but not birthday or Christmas-themed, if possible), bows, gift boxes, cans,… (it’s best to buy these things on sale right after holiday season). Plus, keep beautiful gift bags and wrapping paper to reuse. You don’t have to throw away the cute little bag with Santa on it–just keep it for next year!
        • Always have a few “last resort” gifts on hand–nicely wrapped they fit all occasions:
          • For women: Luxury chocolates, sweet champagne, exotic teas or handmade soaps.
          • For men: Special beers or ales, extra hot spices or classy wines.
        • When travelling, always shop for something traditional (make sure it doesn’t expire soon, though), e.g. a special coffee blend from the area, handmade decoration items or articles of daily use.
        • Funny gift ideas for everyone: People who love soft-boilded eggs should have an egg cracker, playful wine lovers might enjoy a wine puzzle, amateur chefs will love clever kitchen gadgets and so on.

Still no sparking idea? Maybe these last minute gifts part 1 will help…


Vera Schwaiger Vera studied dietetics & psychotherapy. She lives her life according to what Einstein once said: "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." View all posts by Vera Schwaiger