Some people have a knack for nailing the "perfect" gift every time. They just seem to know the recipient's DNA. My husband and son have it, so does my wonderful mother-in-law. I have loved every gift they have ever given me throughout the years.
I wondered if that was an innate talent that they were born with or something that any of us could learn—with a few tips. Luckily, it turns out to be the latter. For our December issue, we interviewed personal shoppers at department stores and popular websites to find out what the secrets to great gift giving are.
Go for the wow. The first thing to do when plotting you shopping strategy, say the pros, is to decide the reaction you're looking for. Do you want to wow Aunt Ruth by remembering that she loves fancy stationery? Or maybe you're looking for a belly laugh or sentimental tears. Or maybe you just want to be practical.
TIP: Whether going for sentimental or funny, check out the create-your-own message picture frames at The Etsy shop for The Sugared Plums, from $65.
Don't wing it. Look for hint; think of words that describe the person. Consider his or her style (trend, classic, conservative), interests (maybe your dad loves to travel), and passions (perhaps your mom collects china teacups).
TIP: Everyone can use more accessories like gloves and scarves, but stay away from the basics she may already have and go for trendy colors and patterns like cobalt blue and python, which are hot sellers this year.
Personalize it. Choose something they'd never want to—or be able to— regift.
TIP: Think a gift with a monogram, or birthstones, and favorite colors.Don't get too personal. Not sure about the person you're buying for? Avoid anything too personal or in a specific size.
TIP: A safe and thoughtful way to go: a gift card from a favorite store or website, or that' tied to a particular interest.
Wrap with care. Presentation is everything, Include a handwritten note and wrap your gifts in pretty paper.
TIP: Check out the great selection at The Paper Source.