With goblins and ghouls competing with jingle bells in October, it seems the holidays creep up on us sooner and sooner every year. Is it just me, or was the weather outside frightful in July? July has quickly turned to August which has turned to November and it has officially been time to start thinking about gift giving. This year, let’s give gifts a little differently. Let’s turn Santa Clause into Santa Cause. If it’s the thought that counts, let’s count on giving a lot of thought into everything we give. The best way to bring meaning under the bough is to plan ahead and prepare. Before you go outside, put on your gumshoes and start paying attention to the things that matter to the people who matter to you.

Here are some spruce tips for meaningful gifts your recipients will really pine for:

Are they on Pinterest? You’re psyched.

Follow them and check out their boards to get a window into everything they find cool, useful, beautiful. Your teenage relative will thank you. Not on there? What are you waiting for!

Use your senses, start noticing things. Does it smell like nutmeg in here?

Colors, styles, accessories, insignia… check out the wardrobe and any trends or lack of anything trendy at all. This could steer you from the ball game to the thrift store to the sporting goods or comic book store. Does their desk or house show any signs of their lifestyle and interests? Interests in music, art, literature, travel, food, etc. can be picked up on by noticing the details.

Ask questions.

What did they do that weekend? Go hiking or biking? Do they go to the movies every Friday? Attend a cooking class? Drink tea at home? Try to find a new constellation? What is their favorite place to eat or get coffee? Get people talking about themselves and you will soon be impressing them with the perfect, thoughtful gift.

Find an informant.

If you know someone close the recipient, use it to your advantage. Parents, friends, and partners all have different insight into what the person likes or dislikes. Whether you are trying to find an item or an experience based gift, someone else might be able to give you the down low on where to go.

Take notes.

It is likely that you aren’t just searching for one person, but several. Keep track of who likes what and keep your ideas written down so you don’t have to work twice as hard or give your intentions away, not to mention giving the wrong gift. Imagine giving your goldfish loving co-worker a cat sweater. How embarrassing! Plus, you might just be ready for the next gift giving occasion without any stress.

Once you have solved the case, try buying timeless items, and using special promotions to buy the perfect something that was previously too expensive rather than buying several “this will do” items that would total the same sum.  Support local businesses and artists with personalized gifts and gift certificates. Don’t be afraid to buy, just buy smart. Fulfill, don’t landfill!

 

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