Gift Giving Guide

Lucy Aderholt, Editor-in-Chief

What’s the first step in giving a good Christmas gift? Knowing the person you’re buying for. Usually, a person can be categorized into one of four categories: sentimental, practical, fancy, or experiential. If they are sentimental, practical, or prefer an experience, I can help. If they prefer fancy gifts…start saving and good luck! (Or see some expensive gift tips towards the end of the article.)

Sentimental gifts are usually the most appreciated and there is rarely a person who doesn’t like them. What’s the perfect sentimental gift? Pictures. Head to CVS or Walmart and print some pictures that capture your favorite memories with the person. You can get crafty with how you arrange your printed photos, or you can go to Hobby Lobby and buy a simple photo album. People love looking back on happy memories, and with most things digital, having some of your favorite photos in physical form can be very special. Print some pictures, pair them with a photo album or frame, and add a hand-written note. A written note is very personal and sentimental; it doesn’t have to be super long, just tell the person how much you appreciate them and why. Wrap it up or get a bag, add some tissue paper, and you’re all set. Whether your gift gets put on display or tucked away in a safe spot, it’s a perfect gift for someone who appreciates thoughtfulness over price. 

Now for practical gifts: these kinds of gifts work best for people who don’t like clutter and would prefer a gift they will really use. You have to know the person you’re buying for enough to pick out something useful for them. Here’s some examples: if your person likes to cook or bake, buy them a Christmas-themed cooking/ kitchen tool like a new spatula, kitchen towel, or mug. If your person enjoys sports, look to buy a sweatshirt or winter hat from their favorite team. If your person is artistic, buy them a new set of paint brushes, new oil pastels, or a couple of blank canvases where they can be creative. These types of gifts are personal because it shows the person you take notice of their interests. Practical gifts also fit into any price range–you could by them a $5 spatula from Target or invest in a new blender or cast-iron pan for them. 

Next is fancy gifts. Some people love expensive things and feel more special receiving costly name-brand gifts. If this is the type of person you’re buying for, I hope you have some extra cash saved. The most obvious gift is jewelry; find the perfect necklace or bracelet. If you can’t pick something from there, take my advice and go for simple, delicate, and gold. Make sure you keep the jewelry in the small box or velvet bag they give you so nothing gets lost while also keeping that expensive packaging look that you’re going for. For your sports-loving person, look at their favorite team’s official website and buy them a jersey or other merch from there. If they like athleisure, give them a pair of Lululemon leggings with a Nike crewneck and joggers to go with it. Kate Spade wallets and purses are perfect for that middle price range, you get a fancy brand without totally breaking the bank. If you want to add a special touch, go online and add the initials of the person you’re shopping for on their item, (they will love it and it makes it more special without too much of an extra cost.) If you are still lost and have a high price range but are buying for someone very particular, give them a homemade coupon for a  shopping day at all of their favorite stores where they can pick out their favorite items without thinking about the cost (you’ll have to, but they won’t!)

The last category is experience gifts. These gifts are for people who don’t like spending money on material gifts and would rather go do something. If your person would rather spend time with you than receive a physical gift, this is perfect for them. Plan a day together with their favorite things, which could be coffee at their favorite cafe, a walk around Oglebay with a picnic, and dinner reservations. Look to see when their favorite band or artist’s next concert is, and buy tickets, buy them tickets to a sports game, or book a weekend away somewhere you can spend time together. This option can be local and affordable, or you can spice it up with some more traveling if you have a higher price range. 

Pro-tip: always remove the part of the tag with the price, but leave the rest of the tag on for returning purposes. Taking the price tag off of your gift saves the other person from the guilt of not spending the same amount on your gift, and makes it so that the person can focus on the gift itself rather than the price. 

If you want to save yourself the brainstorming and stress next year, start a new note in your notes app now, and make a list of the people you want to buy gifts for. Every time they mention a snack, brand, or item that they like or wish they had, write it on that list. By this time next year, you’ll have a bunch of personalized gift ideas that will allow you to start shopping early and make your holiday season next year much less stressful. 

Happy shopping and happy holidays!