Have you ever felt totally stuck wondering what gift to get a loved one?
Whether it's for your dad (who is notoriously hard to buy for) or that friend (who seems to have everything), knowing what to get them can be tricky.
And on the other hand...
Have you ever thought of the *perfect* gift for a loved one, and you just couldn’t wait to give it to them?
There’s no feeling quite like watching them open it and seeing how touched they are. It means a lot to someone when they can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into their present.
Here are my two favourite ways to combine your natural empathy and creativity to give extra-thoughtful Christmas gifts this festive season.
1. Begin with Their Interests
When it comes to giving thoughtful Christmas gifts, start by putting yourself in their shoes. Consider what their interests are.
Have they recently gotten back into cycling?
Did they laughingly mention how they wish they could keep plants alive?
Or maybe they just love to learn in general.
Once you've narrowed it down to a specific interest (or two), let your imagination run free. What might they need in order to get the most out of this hobby?
Perhaps the cyclist would appreciate their bicycle being booked in for a service.
A book on how to keep houseplants alive might be the perfect choice for your friend, even if it's a joke.
And your cousin who loves to learn might be excited by tickets to a talk or the option to book a class of their choice.
This may seem a simple idea, but by limiting yourself to focus on their interests, you'll be unlocking your most creative thinking. Emotional intelligence tells us that it's hard to think creatively when there's too much freedom i.e. we're trying to think vaguely of anything they'll like.
Instead, creative thinking is triggered when there is "freedom within constraints". By narrowing your focus to your loved one's interests, you'll find that your mind will naturally start coming up with creative solutions that meet the brief.
Give your creative mind a little while to ponder the question, and in no time you'll have a thoughtful Christmas gift idea that says, "I get you".
2. Expand Your Focus to Include Experiences
When it comes to gift-giving, we usually think of what things we can give to those we love.
But what could be more memorable than the gift of a new memory? Perhaps what your loved one would find to be the most thoughtful Christmas gift would be time spent with you or on themselves.
Ask yourself the following questions and see what comes up:
What is one of their favourite memories with you? Can you recreate it?
What is a new experience you think they'd look forward to having?
What is something they usually don't have time to do? Is it possible to give them the chance to do it somehow?
For example, if you used to enjoy going for sushi your sister who now lives faraway, could you order each if you the same sushi-takeout and have dinner over Zoom together?
Or maybe your dad has been itching to play a round of golf with you, but you haven't found the time lately.
Could you book a massage and offer to babysit for the friend who rarely gets a moment to herself?
Whatever you decide to get your loved ones this Christmas, they're bound to be touched that you put so much thought into their gifts. Which is what the spirit of giving is all about.