Oh, the holidays are in sight and your diary is filling up fast, but this year, don’t leave all of your shopping until the last minute – you’ve got better things to do on Christmas Eve. In our ultimate gift guide, we’ve picked presents so perfect that you’ll be shooting straight to the top of everyone’s list next year. After all, nothing beats the feeling of giving someone a gift they’ll truly love – except for receiving one, of course…Here’s what to lavish on those you love this season – from family to friends, work pals, the magpie, the jet-setter, the beauty obsessive, the recently retired, even pets…
Gift-giving is a love language:
And one that anyone can learn to speak. This guide will help you develop your fluency.
The very thing that you think ‘just makes a gift’ is more likely to be the very thing that makes it all wrong.
Want your gift to impress?
Buy something heavy. The secret is to bulk it up according to an Oxford professor in a recent article in The New York Times – If you hide a 30-gram weight in a box of chocolate, that weight translates to a significant increase in perceived quality of the chocolate. There are exceptions, but the association between weight and the perception of luxury applies to items including tableware, cutlery, perfume and wine.
It is the colour most associated with luxury because it seems to be the colour that we perceive to be the heaviest.
A gift’s price matters:
More to the giver than the recipient.
Gift giving can be a way of showing you care:
About someone, or reflecting the care someone has shown you.
When we open a present:
We want to see something we can use immediately, which will slot effortlessly into our lives, and boost our egos.
Give the best:
The best of anything is special, whether it’s a towel, a table or a pillowcase.
If you’re stuck:
Opt for classic gifts such as beautiful scents, a diary, stationery, or soaps. Perfect tea towels, a showstopping cakestand, the last saute pan they’ll need, heirloom-worthy cookware, servingware that shimmers, a handsome wood cutting board that will bring a lifetime of pleasure. They are old faithfuls that always work.
Give thing that add to a collection:
Whether it’s an artwork or a book. Make the internet your friend and go searching. Your family (or pal) will be touched at your thoughtfulness. And that is what present giving is all about.
Seek treats the recipient would never buy themselves. An indulgent perfume. Or a well-designed pepper grinder or a marble chopping board will give a lifetime of pleasure.
It’s not all about you:
Give things they would like, not things that you would like to own.
‘What do you want for Christmas?’ People either forget to mention the one thing they really want or, to avoid appearing avaricious, mention items they don’t need or particularly like.
Don’t keep reminding the recipient of your generosity:
Gifts should be given lightly.
Don’t give anything from the discount bin:
Buy gifts on sale only if they are in top notch shape. Any imperfection is magnified in a gift.
Don’t go on: about the expense and the trouble you went to.
Don’t give knick-knacks:
Everyone is fighting a war for uncluttered surfaces.
Don’t give cheap anything:
Cheap things make the recipient feel worthless.
Think about the things they might need:
Did they just move, adopt a pet or book an adventurous vacation? Gifting can be an opportunity to riff on the ways they’ve already spent their own money.
When someone says they want something, listen: There’s nothing quite like finally getting the thing you’ve been hinting at for months.
Don’t be overly practical:
The point is to delight, not to restock your significant other’s loo paper supply.
Consider the non-gift gift:
Experiences and perishables can be just as, and sometimes more, gratifying than a thing you have to keep forever, lest you insult an in-law.
Gift-giving can honour relationships:
In both obvious and subtle ways – the reasons you and your recipient are connected and how far your relationship has come. That said, if the primary facet of your relationship is humour, there’s nothing wrong with a gag gift.
No matter what the present:
Remember to wrap it nicely.