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Holiday Gift Hunt

Holiday Gift Hunt

Thanksgiving has come and passed which now means it’s the Holidays. If there is one thing I have STRUGGLED with as an “adult” is gifts. Picking out gifts for family and friends when you do not live at home or even see/talk to them, as often is one of the biggest struggles that honestly isn’t talked about…ever. As some, if not all of you know the countless articles on holiday gift guides either make you go “I’m not spending $300 fucking dollars on a robe for my brother who is 17” or “My mom legit has half of this shit and would never use the other half”. As the second oldest out of six, I have struggled for so many years. To the point where I would have to beg them to just say what they wanted (no fun) or ask my mom if I would buy one of the gifts, she got them off of her (that’s a bit cheating in my own conscience). I’ve seen quite a few Christmases now and finally have gotten down some tips when it comes to shopping for your loved ones and even your friends to make shopping and the post-shopping A LOT less stressful and painful.

  • ALWAYS set a budget first and stick to it; I cannot tell you how many times this has bitten me in the butt when my credit card has been maxed out and I still have 4 more gifts to get. 
    • Your Budget could be as easy as $50 per person, or a set of tiers depending on loved ones. For example parents maybe $100, Siblings $75, Your Friends $50, and other people $25. 
  • On top of setting a Budget get a list together of WHO you are buying gifts for. This may sound obvious but it plays a much bigger role down the line. 
    • This is a great time to have the “who coming/Gift talk”. If your brother has a girlfriend and she is coming over for Christmas; either talk to your mom, other siblings, or even your brother to see if you should get her something as well 
    • If you are unsure of what to do, the best and safest bet is to get a Visa Gift and a holiday card. DO NOT fill it out if other people start giving them gifts or if they brought you one; politely excuse yourself to go grab your gift. Fill out the card and add the Visa gift card. Is it a bit impersonal yes; but you look like you came prepared and don’t feel foolish. If they do not give you one well it’s a visa gift card you can use anywhere and a card you can use next holiday season. 
    • For a new friend, always ask if they want to do something and if you’re unsure about a bottle of wine, Liquor, or even a snack bag with some treats go a long way!
  • Once you have who you are shopping for, create a list of about 5 – 10 of their favorite things below their name. 
    • This could be as simple as “Starbucks” to as detailed as “Peppermint Mocha w/ Skim milk hot” 
    • I say 5 – 10 cause too many can be overwhelming and cause unnecessary stress. 
  • Go through that list and see what can you buy that will either Replace, Fix, or Be something new that fits in the budget 
    • By replacing I mean if they have something old that starting to have wear and tear that a new one would do a better job like running shoes, a coat, kitchen utensils (I got my mom new rubber spatulas for mothers day because the one she had in the kitchen she got when I was 8ish; they still work great but for guest/holidays the new ones give that extra touch of “put together”) This also works great for perfumes or make up that stuff does not last forever and eventually needs to be replaced. Just be conscious of shelf life 
  • DO NOT BE AFRAID to ask a sibling or friend if they want to go ½ on a gift. Especially when the gift is over your budget. This also works if you have no idea what to get someone people can give you tips. 
    • I cannot tell you how many times I found the PERFECT gift for one of my brothers just to learn it costs double my budget; and reached out to a sibling that was relieved to help me out. (I also had people say sorry that just not in my budget or I already had a gift idea for them that’s OKAY)
  • There is nothing wrong with snooping a little bit; I encourage it ONLY for these reasons. (Snooping is probably the wrong word here but you know what I mean).  
    • If you know they have a charm bracelet take a picture so you do not repeat charms, find out their clothing/Shoe size if that is what you’re getting them (it’s so much more meaningful when you get them the right size really feels like you know them). 
    • I have done it, my siblings have done it, hell it’s even happened to me. Someone’s gone into my bathroom, taken a picture of my makeup, gone to the store, showed a worker, and gotten what I use. 
  • Once you know what you’re getting each person to make sure you have a backup plan and a backup backup plan. 
    • Something’s sell-out and it’s better to have options than to restart 
    • This helps you have a game plan so you can stay on track with shopping. I am sure some people just figured their sibling was getting the PS5 or new Xbox and they just got them a gift. Only to find out it’s sold out everywhere and what’s the point of getting them a new game when they don’t have the console?  (I was one of these people) The backup plan saves sanity. Every. Single. Time. 
  • I always add my list of people and their gift options/list to my phone so I can easily track it when I shop in person or online 
    • This helps me know who I shopped for already and who I have not as well as what am I looking for (I never get it all done in one trip or one sitting) 
    • I do a green checkmark next to the name/ item if I ordered it and it’s in my possession and a red one if it just ordered (I’m a visual person and this helps with identifying missing things)
  • If I order things offline; I keep a list of their ETA
    • I know this sounds tedious and stupid but I have had so many packages stolen off my porch steps or lost in transit. Knowing what hasn’t come yet helps me talk to customer service or even find out what is missing without the panic
  • As I get items back to my house/apartment I always put a post-it note on the item with the name of who it’s for. 
    • This makes wrapping go so much quicker (I also usually start shopping in August/September)
    • I also always add a gift tag, and if there are multiple boxes really small in the corner I put 1 or x so I can keep track of them)
    • Once I wrap all the gifts for one person I delete the gift/person from my wish list 
  • Chit-chat with friends and family on what you got/are getting other people; help prevents repeats and overlaps. 
    • If you think someone is going to steal your idea tell them you already got it, non-returnable and it’s wrapped. Plus in the holiday spirit; help them come up with some gift ideas that are not any of yours. 
  • The biggest Rookie mistake I ever did was not get gift receipts/ save them. 
    • I put all my receipts in an envelope that travels home with me for the holidays. All the gift receipts in a separate one also come home with me. This way if the jacket I got for my dad is too big we can easily get it exchanged. 
    • I also paper clip a post-it note with who’s gift it goes to. As well as if dad got 6 gifts all his gifts are paper clipped together to easily find them if need be. 
  • If you’re truly stuck going sentimental or new memories/moments is always a smart move. 
    • Book a weekend getaway for you and your significant other or even just plan a whole romantic date filled with tons of photos and videos 
    • Create a home movie from past vacations you can put on DVD for your parents 
    • Print out photos 

The holidays are my absolute favorite time of year. Between the magic of the decorations, the atmosphere, being around family, and the traditions it just always gives me hope with a sprinkle of magic that’s needed at the end of the year. Plus I am a giver so I really really love finding the perfect gift but I also know how much stress it is to find that gift. Hopefully at least one, maybe more of my tips have helped your holiday season be less stressful, whether you are like me shopping for people in double digits or even just one other person. OH, and whatever you do try your best not to ruin the surprise before you give it to them. You worked this hard to find the perfect gift, you want to see the shocked face of “How did you know” or maybe even the “What did you get me…”. Either way best of luck, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for ya!!



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