How Busy People Purchase Gifts

Gift-giving seems so simple and straightforward on the surface. You gift some material thing to someone, wrapped in a bow or in a card, and they politely accept it. Perhaps they even show some delight or gratitude.

However, there are complex forces at work when gift-giving or gift receiving. Resting just below the surface are expectations, judgments and, worst of all, feelings to consider.

If you have ever struggled with how to select the perfect gift for your partner or received a present that felt like the gift equivalent of a Limp Fish Handshake, then read on.

In fact, presenting a great gift for someone is a lot like offering a great handshake.

A solid handshake exudes confidence and trust. It’s one of the oldest forms of surrender, known to have originated from battle when soldiers would lay down their arms. We’ve been shaking hands and offering gifts longer than we’ve been writing. These gestures have been depicted in paintings and sculptures from thousands of years ago.

You’d think we would have gotten both right by now.

You may have an insanely busy schedule this year. Finding the right gifts for everyone on your list can feel not only daunting, but at times, downright impossible.

So, we have a few gift-giving hacks for this season.

When to keep it personal

This is a great opportunity to demonstrate you have been paying close attention when it comes to selecting an appropriate personal gift for important people in your life.

It shows confidence: You know them! You know their tastes.

You know what they can really use, will really wear, or will fully appreciate.  

There are times to show your creativity and playfulness when gift-giving but a more personal gift sends a message of profound fondness and seriousness.

It sets the stage for taking the relationship to the next level or shows an appreciation and sense of gratitude for the relationship as it stands.

Finding the perfect guess gift

You do not need heightened intuition in order to find the perfect gift for someone you love. You can simply pay close attention to the things they are currently talking about or that has recently piqued their interest.

In this way you’re making an educated guess that stands a good chance at being just the thing they most wanted or least expected.

Ask them subtle questions about what they have been eyeing to buy for themselves and you may hear them speak longingly about a coat or piece of jewelry. That’s the time to make a mental note of the designer, store, or website where they saw it.

However, there are many approaches and you do not have to guess if it’s not a game that has worked well in the past with certain people.

Remove the guesswork

For some couples, communication rules. Because not everyone wants or expects you to guess. Just ask those that have figured this out. Some people will gladly and consistently reveal exactly where to find the perfect gift, one that will send them over the moon every time.

This may feel strange to those who like surprising others with gifts, but it can be so much more practical and efficient. It can also spare everyone from serving up lame expressions, false gratitude, or forming inevitable re-gifting scenarios.

When gift certificates are acceptable

Depending on the person, the perfect gift may not be a material thing at all. Perhaps it is a kind gesture – a donation made in their name, or even a star named after them.  

You might surprise them with a thoughtful certificate to a spa or somewhere they would love to pamper themselves. Get creative and the person who appreciates creativity will regard that as the most valuable part of any gift – they will know that you really considered their wants, needs, or desires.

Size matters

This is no laughing matter. The people who matter most to you deserve to know how much you value them. What better way to show them than through a meaningful gift? In other words, don’t cheap out.

Depending on who you ask, it’s infinitely better to get no gift than something that seems like a paltry afterthought. It is most definitely NOT the thought that counts in this case. The “size” that matters is their perceived value to you so get them something that feels OUTSIZED. This does not necessarily mean expensive. It means thoughtful, special, sentimental, loving or eminently useful to THEM.

Final thoughts

Listen carefully. Select wisely. Gift thoughtfully. Make good choices.


Good luck and go with whichever God watches over and protects all those caught up in the holiday gift-giving, seasonal tempest.


Lisa Ryan LPC

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