How to Give the Perfect Gift

For some people, giving gifts is a huge stress, never mind trying to give the perfect gift:

Wait, I dont really know anything about them! They already have everything! And Im kinda broke—I cant afford anything they might want. Is a gift card too lame? No, thats not good enough. Ugh!  

There’s no need to worry so much—it’s not that hard. Giving the perfect gift to your friends and family members isn’t rocket science, and you don’t need lots of money. Here are a few tips for finding the perfect gift for your loved one—even if that just means making a simple gift card way more meaningful.

Think about what they want—not what you want to give them.

Gifts aren’t about you. Yes, every gift you give will come with a personal touch, but a gift shouldn’t be a way of forcing your opinions on someone.

If you are an avid mountain biker and your loved one is nervous about that type of extreme riding, don’t buy them a mountain bike because you want them to ride with you. Likewise, don’t buy a friend a book that YOU think they should read. These are selfish gifts. Prioritize what they would enjoy, not what you want them to enjoy.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how thoughtful or well-intentioned your idea is—odds are the giftee won’t even realize how much thought you actually put into their gift, so don’t be upset if you don’t get any praise. You simply want them to feel loved and happy. That’s what gift giving is about, showing others that you love them. So give them something they will enjoy.

Hands Giving Gift Close-up

Dress up smaller gifts.

If you’re just giving a gift card, have a little fun with it. Hollow out their favorite (or least favorite) book, and hide the gift card inside of it. Create a scavenger hunt with a hand-drawn map that leads to a hidden treasure chest of $20 in cash. (Bonus points for comedy if you gift $20 in exclusively quarters… or pennies!)

The point is, make the experience of opening the gift fun, even if the gift itself isn’t that unique. It goes a long way to showing someone that you truly care.

Gift an adventure.

Experiences can be some of the most meaningful gifts you can give a person. Step back from consumerist culture for a moment and consider what your giftee would most like to do. Then, figure out how you can make even a small part of that experience come to life for them.

Have they always wanted to go to Italy? Well, unless you’re loaded and can send them on a trip, why not sign them up for an Italian pasta-making class? Or maybe they’ve always expressed subtle interest in camping or rock climbing for the first time—so drive them to the wild for a fun weekend or take a trip to the nearest rock gym and gift them an intro course.

Consider what your giftee might love doing, and make it happen (even in the smallest way).

Be charitable.

Does your loved one have a cause they care passionately about? Animals, the environment, humans? Making a donation to a cause that is near and dear to their hearts can be incredibly powerful. Not only are you doing a good deed, but you are showing them that you actually listen to what they care about.

"It's an Avocado!"

When in doubt, go for funny.

If you have an inside joke with a friend or family member, by all means, utilize it. Even a cheap, scrappy gift can be really meaningful if there is a good joke behind it.

For instance, know someone who dreams about owning a blue FJ Cruiser? Buy them one—in toy model version. Is it a joke how much they love avocados? Wrap up six avocados and a traditional Mexican molcajete, so they can host guacamole parties.

Scour the internet and local shops for funny takes on your giftee’s favorite things. With a little creativity and wit, you can always come up with something.

Don’t sweat the gift giving season. With a little time, thoughtfulness, and creativity, you can get your loved one the perfect gift at any price point. Remember, it’s not about what you get them. It’s about the love behind it.

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Images via Getty


Hannah A
Hannah A16 days ago

Thank you

Barbara S
Barbara S2 months ago


Colin C
Colin Clauscen3 months ago

I do not know about when in doubt go for funny different people have different senses of humor.

Sonia M

Great article with nice reminders and good ideas.Thanks for sharing

Val P
Val P3 months ago


Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

for kids get something the parents will also approve - trendy pencil cases, sponsor a donkey in a rescue centre, or an earth friendly t-shirt

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago


Lesa D
Past Member 3 months ago

thank you Jordyn...

Caitlin L
Caitlin L3 months ago

Thank you for posting

heather g
heather g4 months ago

I start thinking about the best gift for a friend long before I give it to them. In other words, friends and family are always on my mind.