It is that time of year of gift-giving as the holidays are ramping up into the celebration of the New Year. During this time of year, we all get a little crazy buying a ton of gifts to give. Thinking that we know or understand what people want or need. In reality, we give gifts that we personally like and hope they will like them too. Over the years, I've had my fair share of shopping frenzies. Trying to pick out the perfect gifts for the people that I love, but if you really listen to them throughout the year they will tell you exactly what they want. Here are five rules to follow as you are preparing for the holidays this season:
Gift Cards Are Everything - Many people think gift cards are impersonal, but they are just like cash and you put enough thought into getting them money for something they like such as coffee, going out to eat, or entertainment. Putting a cute message inside a card with a gift card is my personal favorite.
Giving The Gift of Time is Invaluable - Those friends and family members you have that seem to be busy all the time with their dogs or kids. Give them a babysitting coupon. Doesn't cost much money, but could be a great opportunity to give parents some breathing room to take a mid-day nap or have a date night.
Listen - Truly listening to people throughout the year can help pinpoint a great gift for someone. I have a note on my phone where I keep gift ideas 24/7 when I talk to people. It is something I'll reference as birthdays and holidays come up.
Don't Spend Money On Toys - I hear the complaint all the time from parents. My kids have too many toys, please do not buy any. It's hard with a child as many kids nowadays are attached to their iPad. I have not met many children over the years that have toys they are collecting or favorites that they play with. This is a culture that has developed over the last 15 years with more and more parents giving their kids electronics to occupy them. I'm not saying it is the parent's fault that they have all these toys that the kids do not play with, but it may be time to put limits on the electronics so they develop other interests. When you are buying a kid something think about how you as the giver can interact with them and the gift.
Make Your Next Holiday A Trip - Lastly (and if you have funds), skip the presents completely and buy a trip for the ones you love. Spend your Christmas in Italy, New York, or Germany. It will be time well spent and you can soak up a new culture while enjoying the holiday.