Getting gifts for your friends and loved ones is an exciting time for millions of people, but for others, it’s a source of stress. You want to get something special, but you might not know what your recipient is interested in, or you might be stuck in a rut of getting the same types of things, over and over. Uniqueness is what makes a gift especially memorable, but it’s hard to break out of the routine and get something truly original.
Fortunately, there are a handful of strategies that can help you.
Making Your Gift Stand Out
Whether you want to make a more powerful impression on someone or just want to break free from the routine, you can try these strategies to make your gifts more original this holiday season:
- Start early. The best thing you can do for yourself is to start shopping (or at least brainstorming) as early as possible. Not only will you save yourself money, but you’ll give yourself plenty of time to think up something truly original. Oftentimes, we’re forced to buy something out of convenience, or because we’ve run out of options, but giving yourself a couple extra months of consideration might be just what you need to come up with something unique and brilliant.
- Personalize the gift. Next, you could take a somewhat ordinary gift and personalize it. For example, you could use personalized Christmas ornaments as a way to invoke the holiday spirit while catering to a person’s specific name or interests. If you’re getting a book, consider writing a brief message on the inside cover, and if you’re getting them something else tangible, consider modifying or customizing it so it has an extra element of personality.
- Include something handmade. Of course, you could also include something handmade—that way, it’s truly original. If you’re the creative type, you could create a work of art, craft a piece of clothing, or build a piece of furniture. And if not, you could use a smaller handmade element as a way to take your gift to the next level—such as a handmade bookmark to go with a good book.
- Shop somewhere you ordinarily wouldn’t. If you’re just looking to break out of the mold, consider shopping someplace you ordinarily wouldn’t. Chances are, there are dozens of local and independent merchants in your area that you haven’t even visited yet. Talk to people in your neighborhood, and find a store that suits your interests, yet hasn’t appeared on your radar. Antique stores are especially good for finding unique treasures, and don’t be afraid to try a thrift store.
- Work with artists and crafters. If your own creative potential leaves something to be desired, you could always work with an external artist or craftsperson. Use sites like Etsy or local networks to find an artist in your area, and browse some of their most popular products. If you like their style, but are looking for something a little different, don’t be afraid to reach out to them—most artists will be willing to take on commission work, and some may even offer suggestions on what you can get your loved ones.
- Invest in the presentation. Any gift can be made more unique with an original presentation. For example, instead of showing up to your friend’s house with a bottle of wine, present that wine in a decorative gift basket, or with an abstract wine holder. Invest in decent wrapping paper and add some flourishes to make the package stand out.
- Get something with a story. Finally, consider getting something that has a story attached to it. Any item or object can be imbued with more meaning when there’s a written or spoken history behind it. For example, giving away a book you’ve owned and treasured for years will mean more to the recipient than simply buying a copy of the same book off the rack of your local bookstore. Buying a piece of art from a blacksmith at a medieval faire will mean more than buying a similar trinket from a local department store.
The Finishing Touches
Once you’ve selected or made the perfect gift, don’t forget to put the finishing touches on it. We’ve already touched on the element of presentation, but don’t forget to include a card with a handwritten message. In some cases, you may need to explain a bit about the gift—such as if you made it by hand, or if it comes with a story—and in others, the gift will speak for itself. Spend some time thinking about how you want the card to read, and make sure you deliver the gift at an opportune moment.