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How to Pick the Right Gift

Filling out your gift list can be one of the more stressful parts of the holiday season. It’s a big balancing act: balancing the number and value of gifts for each family member, balancing time spent shopping against quality time with your loved ones, and, of course, balancing your budget come January. Make the whole process easier on yourself with these ideas.

DSCN5786Give with Empathy. Here’s a story from the home office: when one of our employees was young, he wanted an Oopee Ball. It was basically a beach ball with a water pouch and a cool commercial, designed to wobble when thrown. So when out shopping for his mother’s birthday, he decided to get her what she always wanted: an Oopee Ball. (No word on why the father thought this was a good idea.)

Don’t be an Oopee giver. It’s especially tempting when selecting gifts for family members, especially those you live with. It’s all right to share trips or purchase gifts for the whole family, of course, but before you wrap up that Oopee Ball, make sure it’s something the recipient really wants.

Communicate. It’s easier to know what your friends and family want when you ask them. Of course, the direct “What do you want?” often leads to vague results. If they ask for a surprise, ask them about their interests and activities that they’ve picked up recently. This will help narrow your field of choices.

Give for the Person. In the comic strip Dilbert, one of the characters is known as Topper. He’s the person at the office who absolutely must top every story, including labor and delivery. (“That’s nothing, I passed a 10-lb. kidney stone over four days.”) When it comes to giving, you don’t need to be Topper for your family and friends to appreciate your gift. Sometimes the shiny, expensive gifts lose their value quickly, while a well-thought-out gift (like a Franklin Planner planning system, say) will provide benefits throughout the coming year.

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