Gotta buy a gift, huh? That can be a stressful endeavor. The first step? Don't worry. The second step? Get your head on straight and think about the recipient. The whole reason people love getting presents is because they demonstrate that someone cares about them enough to think about what they may like and/or need. If you skip that step in the process, your gift may ring hollow. Let's take a step back and think about what you're looking for here.
There are two main things to think about before buying a gift:
* How much time/money can you spend on this?
* What does the recipient like and need?
Your Time and Money
* Some gifts are a one-stop shop; you buy them and they arrive in a wrapped box and you're done.
* Some gifts require more assembly; you buy components and create a one-of-a-kind gift with a slew of beloved presents.
** This usually takes more time and consideration, but is also a great way of hedging your bets if you're not sure exactly what to get.
* Either option can cost any amount of money, depending on the quality of the items.
* If you put together a bunch of cheaper, but cute, little presents, they may look more considerate and be less costly than one bigger present. It's a good way to cut corners.
* If you buy something simple and dress it up with a meaningful card (that means a handwritten message), it can be much more special than an expensive present.
* If you are in no mood to put energy or consideration into this gift, high quality can be often cover that up. Money to burn but no time? Get something fancy.
Understanding Your Audience
Unless you're buying a gift for a theme-less grab bag, you have someone in mind when shopping. What should you get?
* '''Occasion-themed gifts''' can help guide your quest.
** Is this a wedding gift? Birthday? Anniversary?Graduation?Housewarming?
** Anything cute that has occasion-appropriate words on it is a great present, preferably with an exclamation point. Think: "Happy Graduation!" on a mug. "You're Married!" on a t shirt. "It's a Girl!" on a bib.
** It's also easier to get a card when you know which section to look at.
* '''Work with his/her interests.'''
** If you're not going to get a generic, occasion-themed gift, you better know a little something about the recipient of this gift.
** What does s/he like? Sports? Gardening? Music? Beauty Products?
** Really think hard for a moment. Can you remember conversations with this person? Did s/he ever mention really wishing s/he owned a specific product? Get that.
*** Sentences that start with, "I wish I had..." "My life would be so much easier with..." and "I love this new..." are highlighted statements that loosely translate into, "GET ME THAT!"
** Do you know a much better way to do something than the way s/he does it? If you think s/he will be grateful, not offended, that you're buying him/her a new gadget, get that.
*** A wire-entangled Internet user may want a wireless router.
*** A beleaguered cook may appreciate something new for the kitchen.
*** An artist may longs for a new set of paints?
* '''What does s/he need?'''
** Take the size of the home into account when buying things. People in little apartments do not appreciate giant novelty chairs.
** Are they other people at home who cannot deal with the gift?
*** Small children, pets, allergic family members and other situations can limit the products you buy. Don't forget about them.
** Does s/he have time for your present and will it cost him/her extra money?
*** Don't buy him/her a new cell phone if you don't intend to pay the upgrade fee.
* '''What is expected of you?'''
** If this occasion, like an anniversary or birthday, is very special, you may be expected to get a gift that reflects your relationship.
*** In this case, follow the above rules, but doubly so.
* '''Above all.'''
** Stick with something simple. A thought-out gift that shows you were listening when the person talked will go over better than something complex and expensive.
** Just think, "What would make him/her happy?" and then get that.