This is especially true when you're looking for a gift for a "secret-Santa" co-worker you know too little about - or for that someone-who-has-it-all you know too much about. Those suffering from the gift-giving blues should consider the following ideas:
For Daily Service Providers
It's always appropriate to tip the mail carrier, babysitter or maintenance person during the holidays to show your appreciation. But this year, try personalizing your gratitude by giving homemade gifts, such as your famous chocolate chip cookies or other mouth-watering treats. Put them in a pretty package that can be reused, such as a decorative tin or golden wicker basket, and include a personalized note in a holiday card.
For a New Flame
For that special someone you've been dating for only a short while, create a customized, themed basket. For movie lovers, fill a basket with their favorite classic plus a newly released DVD, gift cards to the local theater or nearby video store, a popular or favorite movie soundtrack, a poster, or flavored popcorn and their favorite candy.
For Friendly Faces Around the Workplace
Finding a perfect gift for your boss or co-worker can be stressful. A gift card or gift certificate is a good choice because it allows the recipient to make the decision -
a decision that will always be right.
For Friends and Family Who Have It All
Instead of a new kitchen appliance or oversized sweater, plan a memorable activity. Take Mom out for lunch, a manicure and then a musical. Go to your spouse's favorite restaurant and take a walk around the local planetarium to spend some time together without the kids. Give your brother or sister a new sleigh and take them sledding on the hill you played on as children. From pottery classes to vacations, everyone likes activities that make them smile and remember good times.
Keep your radar switched on
Regardless of the recipient, the most effective strategy is to search and shop year-round, not just during the holidays. Look for unique items at their favorite stores, and keep your ears open when they mention something they'd love to have. You also can go the creative route by picking your favorite photos with that person and turning them into things that can be showcased or used all the time, such as a pillow, calendar, deck of cards, mouse pad, stationary or stamps.
Every great gift is a custom fit. You wouldn't buy the same gift for your boss as you would for your significant other. Make sure the gift fits the occasion and the relationship. The worst gift is the one that is forgotten, so if nothing else, write a meaningful note on your gift card to show you care.