The Most Common Mistakes When Shopping for Gifts

common gifting mistakes

When shopping for family and friends, everyone has their own idea of what they’d like to receive as a gift. But for most people, shopping for gifts can be a nerve-wracking experience. There are so many choices and so many potential pitfalls. It’s no wonder that so many people fail at gift shopping. Fortunately, there are a few simple rules that can help you avoid the most common mistakes when shopping for gifts. Keep reading to find out more.

Not Knowing the Person You’re Shopping For

The most important thing when shopping for gifts is to know who you’re shopping for. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of holiday shopping and forget that the person you’re shopping for may not be as excited about receiving gifts as you are. If you’re not sure who you’re shopping for, it’s best to stay away from stores and online retailers until you’re more certain who you’re buying for. That way, you can spend less time focusing on things you don’t need and more time focusing on the things your loved one or friend actually wants and needs.

Forgetting the Core Reason for a Gift

The core reason for a gift is why you get someone that gift in the first place. If you’re getting something for their birthday, you probably want to get a gift that reflects that core reason; for turning 30 or 40, etc. – whether that’s giving a surprise birthday party, a novelty gift, or something else that relates to their turning a certain age. For example, if one of their goals at 30 is to start a family, you may want to get a birthday gift that relates to this. The best way to find out what your friend or loved one wants as a gift is to ask them. You may be surprised by the answer you get and how it can help you shop.

Not Checking the Necessary Box

Not checking the necessary box is an easy mistake to make when giving gifts. What’s necessary when shopping for a gift may change depending on who you’re shopping for. If you’re not sure what boxes you need to check, it can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some examples of what you may need to check when shopping for gifts

  • Things your loved one will use
  • Things they’ve been wanting
  • Things they can do with their friends
  • Things they’ve been talking about
  • Things they’ve been wanting for their home
  • Things they’ve been wanting for their work
  • Things they’ve been wanting for their car
  • Things they’ve been wanting for their health
  • Things they’ve been wanting for their family

Not Considering the Specific Need you’re Meeting

When you’re shopping for gifts, it’s important to remember that what you buy should directly relate to what specific need you’re meeting. For example, if you’re shopping for a birthday present for a parent with a young child, you may want to get them something related to the child. That may mean a toy, clothing item, or other item related to children. Getting your friend a gift related to their work may not be the best idea. Listening to people while chatting or window shopping is always a good idea. Make a mental note of the “I wish I had one of those”, “I really need a new”, “that would really help” etc.
Many people are collectors of various items like thimbles or porcelain mice and other strange things. You could get them something to add to their collection. Be careful though, collectors can be very picky.

To Gift Wrap or Not to Gift Wrap

It is always a good idea to have your gift wrapped if it can be wrapped (some items are too big or just too difficult to be wrapped). It isn’t necessary to go overboard with the gift wrapping unless it’s a very special occasion. A nice paper that relates to the occasion and a personalized card is perfect. Gift bags are also a good idea, just add a bit of tissue paper. They are quick and easy and look good too.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing when shopping for gifts is that you know who you’re shopping for. Be prepared, knowing more or less what you’re looking for before you gift shop online or leave for the mall will make it much easier and less expensive. You can avoid making common and costly mistakes when giving gifts by staying in the moment and avoiding impulsive buying.

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