Livin' La Vida Lucia

Holiday Guide to Gift Giving

How to Become a Master Gifter

By Lucia Rossi

If you haven’t begun your holiday shopping already, you better get on it because the lines will only get worse as the holidays approach! Time is crunching, pressure is dropping and winter is coming.

But wait, what if you have no idea what to get your loved ones? Stay calm, Sifu Lucia is here for you.078_Master_Shifu-359x194

Personally, my favorite part about the holidays is the look on a loved one’s face when they open a gift that they really enjoy. It gives me that satisfaction that I’ve done something good and all my hard earned money was worth it. Oh yeah, and the food is pretty awesome too.

Giving your loved one that special feeling when they open a gift is something priceless that you will both remember. This will make you a Master Gifter and build your reputation as such.

The only down side to being a Master Gifter, is the pressure of repeating the process next year and perhaps the expectations of your loved ones. They may say they don’t want anything or don’t expect anything, but let’s be honest, they want to surprised.

Although the holiday isn’t about the gifts, we mustn’t disappoint. Giving a certain gift says something, it gives the receiver a certain message.

Certain gifts give messages like, “I really didn’t know what to get you,” or “I hope you like the creativity I put into making this,” or “You should take better care of yourself,” or “I really don’t care what you feel because I was obligated to buy you something,” or “This is so you,” or “I tried really hard.”imagesOYOEVP5F

These messages that gifts give have nothing to do with price, it’s what they mean. Sometimes certain gifts can be straight up insulting. For example, last year I received a Halloween themed baking pan with the on-sale red sticker on it. I got this from not one, but two people in the same household. I give them credit for knowing I like to bake and the fact that it IS better than nothing but, really? Halloween? They could’ve at least taken off the clearance sticker. It makes me ask myself, did I really deserve that? Not something a little more thoughtful? Because it is the thought that counts.

When someone gives you a “bad” gift you have the choice to either reciprocate a similar gift or be the bigger person and give them something better. Kill them with kindness, this is the holidays. If you do give them something that was clearance or cheap, at least make it look like it wasn’t.

Anyway, instead of asking yourself, “What do I get this person?” ask “What message do I want to send this person?”. Use gifts as a tool to show your appreciation and love. Now you are one step closer to being a Master Gifter.

Another thing to remember is to choose gifts through the recipients eyes and not your own. Although you may not like the gift, you know the person you’re giving it to does. So keep in mind it is for them and not you. shoppingstress

Gifts also don’t have to be tangible. Gifts could be a personal day or night out to restaurant, the movies, a concert, a spa treatment, a club, a play, or just your favorite place to hang out. But the tickets, drinks and food is on you.

Okay it’s time to pretend you are Sherlock Homes and use your deductive skills to observe what the person needs or likes. Pay attention to detail, what the person likes to wear, what hobbies they enjoy, do they need something specific, what do they use in their home, what things do they carry on them, what are their favorite things? Answering just one of these questions will lead you to the perfect gift. Don’t snoop too hard though. Talk to a mutual family member or friend for ideas too, have someone on the inside.

Thank goodness for internet shopping and Amazon Prime. If you don’t like physically shopping, the internet is there for you, and Amazon Prime has free two-day shipping if you’re cutting it too close. The internet offers great deals on gifts just as much as in-store, whether its Target, Walmart, Kmart, Zulily, Hautelook, Ebay, or Amazon. Online you can shop through rebate sites like Ebates so you can actually get cash back on your purchases. Gifts.com is an especially nifty tool because they have a quiz that can help you figure out the right gifts for someone. The gifts they sell on their website are pretty interesting as well.

If you are a crafty person and really need to save money, do-it-yourself gifts are for you. Plus you can be proud to tell the recipient that you made their gift yourself. Pinterest and Tumblr has oodles of ideas for DIY gifts using a minimal amount of items or things around your house. 459df460276ce6268e4a07e1863eb386c6c9955d842b2a3c38b1e4334da7905cDid you know that there are so many gifts you can make using mason jars? From emergency kits, to spa kits, to beauty products, to food recipes. Make the gist personal using photos and doll it up with decorations. This shows time, thought, and effort which is precious.

Which brings me to my next point, presentation my friends. Presentation can be important too. Wrapping the gift nicely sends a message as well. No matter what the gift is, its presentation can give it some extra excitement. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to do this either, there are so many useful things at the 99 Cent store that you can take advantage of for wrapping that can add style on a low budget.

Even if you give a gift card, if you put it in a personally written card or a nice box, it can change the whole feeling of the gift. From “Oh…it’s a gift card.” to “Oh! It’s a gift card!” There is nothing wrong with a gift card by the way. Just be sure to pick one they will use.

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Now that you have some ideas, organize yourself. Make a list of everyone you’re buying for and jot down ideas for each person if you can. If you don’t have any ideas, that’s okay. Do your detective work and browse online for inspiration. Keep a budget if you need to, think about what they bought you in previous years and what amount you can allow yourself to spend.

If you do go shopping at the mall or department store, consider maybe going alone so you can take your time thinking and looking around for the right gift. You shouldn’t feel rushed and we don’t want anyone to feel impatient. However if you want a second opinion and your friend is willing to help, then by all means ask them to be you John or Joan Watson. Maybe you can help them too. These are tough times.

May you all become Master Gifters and good luck grasshoppers.untitled (1)

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