Every holiday season there’s an endless supply of articles and blog posts intended to save clueless gift givers from the supreme shame of getting someone a bad, inappropriate, insulting, or poorly executed gift—but what about us good gift givers? Do we not struggle too, with our thoughtfulness and uncanny ability to routinely put together gifts that delight and astonish their recipients? Do we not have the same insecurities about our decisions that gift givers at all levels experience one week before Christmas? Good gift givers: this one’s for you.

  1. It’s not a contest.

Just kidding, that’s holiday loser talk. Of course Christmas is a contest. You know it’s the thought that counts (you practically coined that phrase, after all), but as a good giver, you have a competitive spirit. The prospect of finding a gift for someone that you know is going to be better than everyone else’s – including what that person got you – brings out the best in you during the holiday season, and that’s okay. Don’t let those, “It’s not a contest,” quitters get you down; you’re the real Christmas MVP.

  1. Sometimes, you have to rein yourself in.

Perhaps the biggest struggle of being a good gift giver is stopping. If you’re anything like me, you devise a rough gift guide for everyone on your list and execute it successfully (making adjustments as necessary), but as the countdown to Christmas begins, you come up with five more AMAZING gift ideas, and pretty soon you’ve totally gone overboard. Sometimes less really is more, and as tempting as it can be to act on every gift giving impulse in the holy name of the holiday spirit, it can have legitimate consequences.

  1. It’s not your fault everyone else is buying candles.

If you’re a good gifter, you’ve probably had the awkward experience where you give a gift so good and so thoughtful, that the recipient couldn’t help but look at you in a whole new light. They usually say things like, “How did you know?” or “I can’t believe it,” or “Where did you find this?” In time, word of your innate abilities will spread, and pretty soon coworkers, relatives, and friends will soon dread involving you in holiday gift giving. Don’t take it personally, and don’t stop being who you are because the holiday haters are insecure.

  1. Try not to take it personally when fellow gift givers don’t take your advice.

By now you’ve probably established a reputation for being the consummate gift giver, and this time of year, you probably get a lot of requests for gift ideas. When you take the time to help someone out with their gift giving, it’s challenging not to be a little insulted when he or she foregoes your advice in favor of a a cucumber melon lotion gift set or one of those car emergency kits. Try not to take it too personally. Independence is the cornerstone of gift giving, and sometimes you just have to let fellow gift givers make their own mistakes.

  1. Your awesome gift is not complete without a card.

Would you leave Santa a bunch of crunchy sugar cookies with no milk? Probably only if you’re a sadist (or lactose intolerant). Similarly, no good gift is complete without a thoughtful, beautiful, appropriate, overpriced card. I cannot stress this enough. I’ve seen many a thoughtful gift botched by poor card execution. Good gift givers, you must learn to be good card givers, too. You must consider who your audience is: do they like funny cards? Do they like blank cards you fill in yourself? Do they like getting glitter all over their hands? Do not make the mistake of assuming your gift is so good it doesn’t need a card.

Good gift givers, what guidance/tips do you have for your fellow superior gift givers?

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4 thoughts on “5 Things All Good Gift Givers Should Keep in Mind

  1. I have a spreadsheet with the recipient, item, and cost of every gift I plan on giving. I’m a little embarrassed, but there are also 10 people in my immediate family alone. Then there are friends, boyfriend, cousins… So yeah, organization is key.

  2. I do pretty good I think. I’m a gift bag giver (for coworkers that is), I will go get lots of small things and add chocolates and candy to the bag. I do fall short on the card though maybe, I gave a small gift card this year but it was super cute with reindeer and ribbons in the corner.

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