The holiday season is officially here!
Saying that should no longer earn any whining or complaints about Christmas displays going up too early. It’s December now. All our Thanksgiving leftovers have since gone bad. It’s perfectly acceptable to fully embrace the spirit and aesthetics of the season. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, at least acknowledge that it’s now entirely appropriate to engage in any number of holiday activities.
I know that’s easy for a guy like me to say. I’ve said before that I take Christmas more seriously than most. I’m the kind of guy who has his Christmas tree up and decorated by Halloween. I’m also the kind of guy who tries to finish all his Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. As I write this, I am done. I’ve completed my shopping and most of those gifts are already wrapped.
I understand this makes me an outlier or an overachiever. I also understand that while many people do have their decorations up, their Christmas shopping may not be over or even started.
Seriously, if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, you’re bound to make it more stressful in the long run. It’s getting to a point where you might be pushing it with respect to finding that special gift for that special someone.
But what exactly goes into a great gift? That’s actually something I’ve learned and refined over the years. I’ve talked about it before, but I feel I should expand on it a bit. I notice that, as I’ve gotten older, it gets a bit harder to buy meaningful Christmas gifts. At a certain age, your family and loved ones really don’t need much from you anymore, aside from your presence and your love during this special time of year.
I know it sounds cheesy, but make no mistake. That really does matter. Just being there and being present on Christmas is often the best gift you can give for some people. That’s all well and good. But like I said, I try to overachieve on the holidays. That means I’ll still try to get that special someone a gift. Sometimes, it’s easy because my friends and family will actually provide a list for me. I always appreciate that and I encourage others to make it easier for their loved ones in that regard.
Granted, sometimes I do have to bug my family and friends for that list, but it’s often worthwhile. You just have to be patient with them, especially the ones with kids. Sometimes, you will end up buying something that the kids love, but the parents hate. As someone with multiple nieces and nephews, I can confirm this conflict. I can also confirm it often makes for great holiday memories.
That being said, I do have some new advice to share for those still struggling to complete their Christmas shopping. Since we’re getting into the heart of the holiday season, I think the time is right to share this. So, here are a few extra tips that I hope will help.
Tip #1: Bigger might not always be better, but sentimental is always better. Don’t just get a gift you think someone wants. Make sure there’s some sentimental aspect behind it, be it a personal photo or something that conjures a memory. An inexpensive baseball glove can sometimes become a kid’s most prized possession if he grows to love baseball.
Tip #2: Customize a gift if possible. You can buy all types of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Most do little to stand out. But one that happens to be engraved with a quote from a loved one or an image of a friend can make it all the more valuable. Even a cheap keychain can be made special if it has a picture of someone’s first child.
Tip #3: Consider the fun factor. For kids and adults alike, don’t just think about how expensive or popular a gift is. Consider how much fun you’ll have with it. A toy is only as great as the fun it conjures. The same goes for adults. A book is all well and good, but a loved one might have a lot more fun with a deck of Cards Against Humanity.
Tip #4: A gift can also be an experience. Some people don’t care much for material gifts. They’re more inclined to embrace experiences. That’s why concert tickets or tickets to a sporting event can be very memorable. One year, a relative of mine got tickets to opening day for the baseball season. He still ranks it as one of his favorite gifts of all time. You can even get creative with the presentation. Put the gift in a big box and weigh it down with rocks. That’ll be both surprising and memorable.
Tip #5: Supplement a big gift with something smaller. Sometimes, a big gift is definitely the way to go. But it works even better if you can supplement it somehow. If you buy a pitching net for a kid, add in some new baseballs or a new glove. Let the gifts have both a personal touch and an overall experience. It shows you’re willing to put in the extra effort.
Tip #6: Use every opportunity for a surprise. You can get someone a mundane gift that they asked for. That’s all well and good. But if you see an opportunity to surprise them in a good way, take it. I know someone who once got a book he asked for, but there were concert tickets in the cover. Their reaction was just priceless.
These are just a few tips from a veteran holiday enthusiast. I hope they help you in your holiday shopping this year and in future years. Take it from me. A great gift can have an impact that goes far beyond the holidays.
Happy Holidays and Happy Holiday Shopping!