Less Thinking, More Drinking: Top Tips for Holiday Gifts

Buying the perfect gift is truly an art form. From the planning, to the searching, to that "ah hah" moment you have when you find something that perfectly suits the person you have in mind, shopping for gifts is truly a joy.

But sometimes, when perfectionism and lack of time get in the way, finding that perfect gift can be a real challenge. It's especially hard when you're a student who has looming essay deadlines preventing you from brainstorming gift ideas or heading to the shops.

I have a fairly large family, with three brothers who all have different interests, a dad who doesn't seem to want anything, and a mom who would love to have anything from the Williams Sonoma catalogue. Add in two grandparents who really appreciate anything, a boyfriend with a distinct taste in fashion, and friends who expect some classically British treats from abroad and you've got one stressed out girl who just wants to please everyone. But I've handled it all in years past, and I'll be able to handle it this year. And today I'm prepared to share with you my top tips for buying the best gifts for your loved ones.

If they drop a hint, write it down // Around the holidays, everyone seems to be weaving their wishlist into everyday conversations. Maybe your mom keeps complaining that her baking pans are rusty, or your boyfriend is going on about how his nicest sweater has a hole in it. Even if you're keen to surprise someone with something totally unexpected, you should still take note of what they really want as a backup plan.

Make a list (check it twice) // This ensures that you don't miss out on anyone! It doesn't have to be a definitive list of exactly what you're going to buy everyone. Instead, try brainstorming what type of things each person may like, what new interests they've acquired over the past year, or even what you might buy if money were no object. If anything, it helps to keep ideas flowing and makes you feel a bit productive.

Scour the stores; order online // I find that most people are always loyal to one camp or the other when it comes to shopping. Some people are Black Friday fanatics while others are Cyber Monday masters. Whatever method you choose for your shopping, I'll let you in on my personal favorite way to get the most out your shopping. It may seem time consuming, but I always head to the stores for inspiration first, and then check online to see if I can get a better price somewhere else. Having a visual for what stores have to offer is the best way to figure out what you might want to keep your eye on. You can't do that online! But if the price seems steep? Check out the deals online- they're usually much better.

Keep returns in mind, and don't take it personally // We all jokingly call my dad "the returner." Not because he's ungrateful, but because he always says that he doesn't need anything. For that reason, I've always been extra careful about making sure everything I buy has a sound return policy (and I attach the gift receipt to the gift!). And don't get too upset if someone doesn't like your gift (or already has it). It's the thought that counts!

Personal gifts are always the best gifts // Whether that means it's that pair of sunglasses they've wanted for ages, a monogrammed item that it truly theirs, or a photo album which brings back memories of your adventures together, the best gifts always come from the heart. A box of chocolates or fuzzy socks might do the trick, but if you really want to make someones heart sing, always go into shopping with them in mind.

Happy gift hunting, and start checking off that list!


  1. Lovely post - I completely agree - personal is best! Lauren | www.theyoproedit.com

    1. Thank you, Lauren! I'm a firm believer in buying personal gifts :)



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