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Local Shopaholic: Finding the perfect gift

Ever get anxiety at the thought of having to find the “perfect” gift for an occasion that is slowly closing its gap on the calender? It’s not as easy as some like to make it seem. If you wait until the last minute and buy whatever is on sale then sure, it’s going to be an easy process. But if you want to give something that will be truly appreciated and not re-gifted, you need to show that you put a little thought and effort into your gift decision. If you have to go to the Dollar Store 10 minutes before, don’t bother!

So I have devised an idea list to help you think of ways to find the perfect gift for a special someone, all while trying to keep gift giving personal and special.

Listen
Several months before, yes you will have to do a little planning, start paying attention to small things your person says they “like” “love” or “need.” If they say something more than once, that is a big indication that it is something they would like to get as a gift.

Pay attention
Take notice of things they do in their free time. Do they enjoy reading or taking baths? Maybe they like going to the movies or out to eat. Do they host many parties or travel quite a bit? If so, maybe a game they can play with guests or their families would be a clever idea, or a new party tray they can serve hors d’oeuvres on. Maybe a GPS for the traveler. Take notice of places they shop. Do they always seem to go to one particular department store or do they always mention a store they wish they could shop at more often?

Try to avoid gift cards
They are impersonal, but of course it depends on who you are shopping for. They are good for acquaintances you have met only twice or work with on occasion or someone who already has everything, but not necessarily they best idea for your spouse.

Don’t be obvious
Try to avoid asking the person what they want. How many of us hate being asked that question? Most of the time we don’t know how to answer it. That is unless we are in desperate need of a new vacuum because ours just quit or new shoes because the dog ate our best pair, but that doesn’t happen often. If you want to shop for something that requires a size, like shoes, clothes or rings, try not to ask. Or if you do, ask in a casual way. Like “Oh I like those jeans, they make you look so slim. You’ve got to be like a size 2.” Hopefully they will respond with “No I’m a size 8. I wish I was a 2!” If that doesn’t work, maybe try sneaking a peak at a pair of shoes or jeans they already own.

Personalize it or make it yourself
Getting someone something personalized is always special. I love doing this for weddings. Everybody is so focused on getting the couple items on their store registries that they forget to give fun, unique items. Many can be engraved with the couples name and date. Items like a picture frame, door knocker or wedding certificate holder can all be engraved. And I don’t mean to insult anyone, but if you decide to make something, it’s usually safe to make something that is practical. Getting a homemade blanket is always nice. It’s something that will probably be used frequently, but getting a homemade place mat, not so much.

Give an experience
Giving gifts that are more of an experience than a material item are usually very enjoyable. For example, tickets to a sporting event, if they are into sports, or tickets to a performing arts event, if they are artistic, are very fun ideas. And usually these are things the person probably would not have done for themselves.

Just showing that you put a little creativity into a gift purchase can be more memorable and meaningful than you may realize. And that is the whole point of giving a gift, right? To me, the best gifts to get were always ones that showed someone was listening to me and cared enough to remember.

Good luck with your future shopping endeavors! This is Sonia Zimmerman, saying farewell to FOX CITIES Magazine. (For now!)

—By Sonia Zimmerman

We will miss your upbeat attitude here at FCM, but are excited to see where the journey takes you!Best of luck to you, Sonia!

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