How to Pick the Perfect Gifts

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the radio this morning, someone suggested scoping out loved ones’ Pinterest boards for gift ideas. While most callers thought this was a great idea, I’m a little hesitant. Some of the items I pin aren’t necessarily things I want in my real closet – I prefer they remain in my “fantasy” closet. Things like the hot pink, patent-leather stilettos that I pinned because I covet them – even though I don’t wear high heels. Or the flowing, flowery maxi skirt that had beautiful colors and looked great on the very tall, very skinny model. While I love it, I couldn’t possibly wear it – it is more of an “inspiration” piece. Then there are things that I pin because they are so fantastic or ridiculous that I just had to save them – sort of like hanging on to an item in a store that you know you won’t really buy, but just the idea of it is fun for a while. Then you hang it back on the rack and move on to something more practical. With Pinterest, you don’t have to choose whether to put it back or head to the register – it can just stay there, virtually hanging over your arm indefinitely. The problem is my husband won’t know which items I actually want and which items I’m just “shopping around” with because there’s no commitment.

But the idea behind the suggestion is a good one – find gifts that are personal and based on the likes of the recipient. If you think about each person’s hobbies and interests before heading out to shop, finding the right gift will be that much easier. If, for example, your best friend loves animals or your cousin is an avid gamer or your brother lives to fish, that’s a great place to start.

For the animal lover, WWF has symbolic adoptions. Head over to the gift center and adopt a tiger, a honey badger, a panda bear, a frog – whatever your recipient would like. (If you’re not sure, they even have Gift Adoption Cards so your recipient can choose their own animal). Most come with a photo, an adoption certificate, and a plush toy.

Women who like to get involved and help others will appreciate a gift from Global Girlfriend (globalgirlfriend.com), an online shop that benefits women worldwide. The items are both unique and beautiful, and they are all fair-trade, eco-conscious items made by women from all over the world.

Ten Thousand Villages (tenthousandvillages.com) was recently recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For the person on your list who has everything, this site is great. Artisans from developing countries contribute amazing jewelry, apparel, works of art, home décor, baskets, and more. The site gives information on the artisans who hand-make each item.

Have a practical joker in your life? You know the type – they are the ones telling jokes at parties, goofing off, and pulling pranks on friends, family, and coworkers. Try getting them something just a little off the wall. Imagine the look on the jokester’s face when you give them one of the unique items from thingsyouneverknew.com.

You know the type – they live for the weekend so they can enjoy the Great Outdoors. They have tents and sleeping bags ready to go at a moment’s notice. They’ve hit every ski slope in a 200-mile radius. They hike, bike, and fish. Perhaps they even own a sailboat. If you are shopping for the outdoor adventurer, begin at REI, where you can find gifts from under $25 to over $100.

Gamers, gadget fiends, science nuts, and sci-fi fanatics are easy to shop for, especially with sites such as ThinkGeek.com. From electronics to kids’ toys, this site has everything for the geek in your life.

Shopping for a pet lover? Remmeer.com has some unique items guaranteed to get a few oohs and ahhs when the gift unwrapping takes place. From picture frames to salt shakers to doggie strollers, this site has something for every pet lover on your list.

Speaking of pets, don’t forget yours! Your pet is the ideal apartment roommate – he doesn’t steal your coffee creamer, he is always happy to see you, he watches television with you and never complains about the shows you choose, and he sounds the alarm whenever someone comes to your door. Reward your best pal with one of these great gifts.

Gift-giving is a big part of the holiday season, so have some fun with it! Personal, unique gifts will be treasured, so remember to tailor the gift to the individual. And if you think your loved ones may be checking out your Pinterest account to get gift ideas, go ahead and pin a few of the things from your “want” list (or even create a board and call it “What I Want for Christmas” for those less-than-perceptive loved ones).