Headline: How to Win at Gift-Giving for the Holidays This Year

As the holidays begin to roll in, and loved ones start to drop too many hints at what gifts they want, one can feel the growing pressure of giving the gift that one will genuinely love. How can you be sure that the gift you are giving is the one? How does one master the art of gift-giving?

It is not that hard once you learn to turn off your overly-conscious mind and open your genuine heart and ears, listening to what your loved ones are passionate about, their dislikes and interests. This is the first step to allowing the gift-ideas to pour in.

Step one: lose the standard of buying the perfect, tangible thing. Some of the best gifts are experiences, not things. Buy tickets to a concert or a sports event, or take them to that new restaurant they have been dying to eat at (maybe one that you will both enjoy). The satisfaction for both of you will last longer than getting them something that will only end up on their wish list next year like a phone, for example.

Step two: stop narcissistically shopping when shopping for someone else! This might seem obvious, but people tend to shop for others with their own desires and interests in mind, resulting in getting a useless “gift” (that’s like giving a handless relative gloves…not cool).

Step numéro trois: get out of your head! Gift-giving is not a competition on who can outdo each other. Bigger is not always better, and can even come off as unnecessary to the person receiving the gift. You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on a lavish gift to please your loved one (and if they say otherwise then…disown them). Okay! Moving on.

If you are more of the blunt type, then just ask the person what they want. There is nothing wrong with being straightforward and nonchalant when it comes to getting a gift for someone. Blatantly asking will guarantee that the giftee will be satisfied. Sure, it might seem a bit thoughtless considering you could not think of the gift idea yourself, but (hey!) you got them the gift and that says a lot in itself.

Stressed out? Ready to quit? Well, there is even an alternative for you, my friends. Gift cards and cash may be a bit impersonal, but it is better than gift-guessing. No one wants a gift that is completely irrelevant and/or useless. This is the best thing to give if you would rather be safe than sorry. Good luck and happy gifting!