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Master the art of gifting this Christmas

Master the art of gifting this Christmas
PHOTO: Unsplash

’Tis the time for Secret Santa surprises and t he call of colourfully wrapped boxes from under a tinsel-laden Christmas tree. It is in effect as magical as it all sounds — when you have reached that stage, that is; when you have ticked off all the people you needed to get gifts for.

Up until that time, things can be stressful. You are shopping round the clock, a multitude of thoughts running through your mind — will my gift be appreciated? Did I get the right gifts for the right people?

Is it important to be known for your gifting abilities? Perhaps not. But we do live in a world in which gifting is a form of self-expression and show of affection and appreciation.

Especially during the festive season, when having a whole list of people to buy for and a plethora of options, being spoilt for choice is less a cliché and more a reality, it may make sense to stay on top of the situation.

Here are some quick hacks which can help you master the art of gifting.

1. Be a good listener

Like we mentioned earlier, gifting is not a once-a-year thing. There are birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations — you name it — to contend with as well. When it comes to the people you care about, you want to be sure your gift doesn’t get relegated to “to be regifted” pile. 

So, keep a diary handy to take notes at all times. You will be surprised at the hints and hidden connotations — intentional and unintentional—that you can pick up through conversations when you pay attention. These may not link to gifts at that moment but will prove to be a valuable resource when a gifting opportunity comes up. 

Troll their social media feeds and see what catches their fancy the most. Read between the lines. Sometimes a stray comment about a daily annoyance can spark a gift idea. 

2. Gift ideas: Simple Elephant Planner, $18.99, from Amazon

This planner has many customisable options that allow you to label your thoughts and tips. You can even have secret codes, so your friends and family won’t know what you are conspiring to buy for them.

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3. Gift Ideas: Soma Double Wall Glass Tea and Coffee Brew Bottle, $62.80, from Amazon

Having coffee with your pal and you hear her waxing lyrical about the pleasures of a freshly brewed cup of coffee? Make a note. An on-the-go coffee or tea brewer such as the Soma Coffee Bottle would make her just as happy.

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4. Gift ideas: Coffee subscription, from $20, Nylon Coffee Roasters

There are choices aplenty for fresh bistro-style artisanal coffee at home at half the price.

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5. Gift ideas: La Kopi Book, $29.90, from Books Actually

When her fascination for a cup of joe extends beyond just drinking it, try a hardcover book on the art of coffeemaking.

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6. Gift ideas: Aerolatte Cappuccino Art Stencil, $7.49

And for the budding coffee artist, a latte art stencil.

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7. When in doubt, gift from the heart

You cannot go wrong — one look at your “to be regifted” pile will confirm that. The best part about this is that it comes without a minimum price requirement.

It could just be gifting someone something that they have been longing to have but never been able to get hold of. Think something as simple, but thoughtful as a music playlist -— go to your iTunes, select songs you think the person would like, create a playlist.

Then “share” or “gift” at the iTunes Store. You can’t really put a pricetag on a thoughtful gift like that — and ironically, regifting in this case only increases its value.

That is but an example of the number of options available to you. Just listen to your inner voice and remember who you are buying for, and the possibilities are as they say, endless.

8. Think pratical, always

How many Secret Santa gifts just don’t ever leave our workspace—and not necessarily because they are meant to be there. This is where you have to filter the fancy from the plain and practical.

The fancy one may have great gift-wrap appeal and even induce a momentary “ah” but settle instead for the long term “aww”- inspiring gifts of the thoughtful and practical kind.

That said, there’s a fine line between gifting someone something they can pick up themselves anyway and adding a personal touch of oomph to it.

9. Gift ideas: Gevi Multi-function Breakfast Machine, $100, from Lazada

A common refrain from people who are working from home due to the pandemic: “ I am cooking a lot more now!” How about a Gevi Multi-function breakfast machine for your retro-loving multitasking sister or close friend?

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10. Gift idea: Stasher, $34.90

An ingenious tip for storing leftovers in the form of a gift, this Stasher will make your green living fiend of a friend very happy.

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11. Gift idea: Cable Management Box Organiser, $15.90, from Iuiga

A cable management box organizer to keep all the cords and cables would suit the finicky work-at-home person.

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12. Step out of the box

Scented candles and perfumes are best given to people you really know well as they are based on personal taste. Same goes for large items or wearables, which a good-hearted giftee may be forced to display even if it is not to their liking. 

If you are not too sure about the person’s deepest likes and dislikes, think along the lines of a gift card. Here, while it makes sense to steer away from stores they do not shop at, you don’t want to give them a gift card from a grocery store they usually shop at either.

13. Gift idea: Speciality Grocers gift cards, from $50

Keep to gourmet or speciality grocers such as Little Farms or The New Grocer.

Little Farms

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The New Grocer

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14. Gift idea: Garibaldi gift vouchers

Or, treat them to a meal at a Michelin starred restaurant that they would not otherwise indulge in.

15. Do it yourself

You can never go wrong. But DIY does not have to always be about crafts — a homemade granola mix or your best cookies in a cute jar signed off with a colourful ribbon is sure to hit the spot as well.

Get on Pinterest for packaging ideas. If you want to do something that will last beyond their tastebuds, you can show off your sewing skills and make a mask. If you are strapped for time, Etsy is on hand to help.

As a rule, try to keep away from gag gifts — they are fun if you are looking at gifting a laugh, but they also come with a high throw-away rate. They are, however, a good option when it comes to dressing up your gifts. Again, filter the jokes to the audience.

16. Plan way ahead

We like this one the best: shop at all times. In other words, don’t wait for the Christmas carols to start ringing along the corridors of the malls, start shopping for gifts bright and early at the beginning of the year if you will.

There’s never a dearth of deals and sales in Singapore — and we are yet to find one we don’t like. So, If you find something that matches the entry in your diary, pick it up right then and there. This way, you wouldn’t be feeling that painful pinch in your wallet all in one month. 

ALSO READ: 10 best Christmas home gift ideas in this age of Covid-19

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.

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