2018 Holiday Shopping Guide

It’s that time of the year again! Time to buy gifts for just about everyone you know! This can seem like a pretty overwhelming task— especially if you’ve left it to the last minute—but don’t worry, there’s still time. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. (If you celebrate Hanukkah,  tuck this list away until next year)

1. Think obscure If your gift could be given to any person in the room and be fine, you probably bought a basic gift. The most thoughtful (and best) gifts are the ones that are oddly specific or obscure. Spend some time understanding the person’s interests and hobbies, and if they give you an idea, research it so you actually understand what it is. You’ll feel like you gave a better gift because of it. eBay, Amazon, and more specialized websites like Woot! are your friend here (just don’t get scammed)! With these kinds of gifts, it’s best you buy early since shipping from smaller sellers or companies can take longer than from bigger ones. Bonus points if your gift is discontinued, rare, or retro. If it comes in colors, make sure to get the recipient’s favorite (you should know what that is). Try to mix your interests and hobbies with theirs. If you’re good at buying clothes and they like movies, get a t-shirt, hat, or sweatshirt related to their favorite film. Use something you’re knowledgeable about to get them something they’ll like.

2. Quality over quantity The best gifts come in small packages. You might not have believed that as a kid, but believe it now! You might worry a small gift might look like you didn’t try, but if it’s a really good gift, the size won’t matter. Always go for the smaller, but nicer gift. On that note too, if you have to decide between giving one  expensive gift or multiple smaller gifts, always go for the more expensive one. The recipient will appreciate getting something really nice rather than just more things.

3. Buy holiday items the year BEFORE Gifts to yourself totally count as gifts. If you want to buy a holiday item, hold off until right after Christmas. They’ll most likely be discounted and save you some  money, which you can spend on another gift for yourself! Next year when you open these purchases, you’ll forget you even bought them— a surprise gift to yourself!

4. Plan ahead The holiday season is only a few weeks of the year, but the year is 52 weeks – make them count. If you see something in February, buy it. If you see something in August, still buy it. The point: buy things when you see them, or write down the idea. You can find some of the best deals during ordinary times of the year. Doing this will take the pressure off during December, and you’ll buy better gifts when you’re not panicking.

5. Wrapping is everything  A fancy wrapping job can make the best gift look better, so spend some time on this step. Is it a strange shape? Should you put it in a gift bag? Absolutely not! Bags should be avoided at all costs. Everything can be wrapped, and having gifts wrapped makes them much more fun to open! You can look up online how to wrap just about anything, and at the same time keep that obscure craft channel on YouTube alive — a win win! Gifts likes clothes can always be boxed, but most clothing stores don’t give free boxes anymore so keep whatever you get— they’re rare! Something oversized or really just impossible to wrap? Put a comically undersized bow on it. Problem solved!

6. Out of time? Ok, do you need a gift within the next week? The next day? If you have enough time, buy the gift online. Never pay for shipping unless you have to, though. Some stores let you chose slower shipping to get it free, but if you don’t have time for that just get in the car and go. Use the store’s website to find where the gift is in stock locally. If you’re really in dire need of a gift, don’t wander the mall, check out the gift ideas below. Still don’t see anything? Then gift cards are fine. Make sure it’s from a store you know the recipient will like (otherwise play it safe with cash). Remember to get something small, too, like their favorite candy or a small joke gift so there’s still something to open.

Best Gift Ideas 2018

  • A Bluetooth speaker
  • A wireless charger
  • An ornament related to something they like
  • Their favorite candy
  • A gift card to one of their favorite stores
  • A shirt with something they like (band, sport, place)
  • Something with their name on it (bonus points if their name isn’t common!)
  • Something related to an inside joke
  • An outing or activity you can do together

Buying the best gift doesn’t mean spending the most money! Now that you have these tips, everyone will want you in Secret Santa exchanges. You’ll encourage people to get more thoughtful gifts, and hopefully make the return lines in January a little shorter!


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