How to Buy Anyone Gifts They Actually Love
Give Great Gifts Like--
This morning, I couldn’t decide which socks to wear.
One pair, my partner’s mom gifted me for my birthday. The other, a Christmas present from my sister. Both brought happy memories of when I got them and the people who gave them to me.
I felt like I was choosing which gift, and which gift-giver, I liked most. Then I had a thought that “knocked my socks off”.
These socks, the classic oh-brother present, were actually great gifts! I wear them all the time and whenever I do, I’m thankful to the people who gave me them. I love that it’s something I can pick up and every time I wear it I get that warm feeling. Not only on my feet.
This realization plunged me into a deep dive into psychology, studies, experts’ advice, and online accounts about gift-giving to rebuild my beliefs about how to pick gifts. And now that I’m not locked into just gift shops by me—but everywhere on the web—there’s even more options!
In some way, more options make it more chaotic to choose! That’s why Inbebo is here to the rescue. Our team of curators (with exactly the same set of challenges!) are here to help you win at gifting while never losing your cool.
Here’s what we discovered: Five unconventional strategies for how to pick great gifts. Plus, a little sprinkle on top of surprise gift giving tips & tricks to keep them guessing.
1. Don’t give problems, give problem solver gifts
One of the biggest mistakes we make when buying gifts for others (and for ourselves) is thinking that giving more stuff makes people happier.
Happiness doesn’t come from adding positives. It comes from removing negatives.
So, when it comes to how to pick gifts, find a problem in your recipient’s life and solve it with your generosity.
Some problem-solver ideas; fix annoyances, stop boredom in its tracks, prevent pain, automate processes or thinking, reduce waste, or just make it plain fun!
So, for Inbebo, the gift shop near you who hears you, we recommend the Geli Buddy for those pet moms and dads in your life who are constantly fighting (the losing war!) against pet hair. Get that special pet parent the eco-friendly lint and pet hair removes that lasts for over 3,000 uses and…we’ll be honest is just fun to use! Peel & slap technology at its best.
2. Consumables over cash
We all get sick of making decisions and we all love something to open on those special holidays. Remember, the experience of gifting is part of the memories you make with someone. So, we recommend avoiding gift cards or buying future experiences that require your loved one to register, make account, or travel somewhere to cash it in.
As the saying goes, ‘Mo’ money, mo’ problems”. What they could’ve added is more gift cards, less gift smiles.
We’ve all done it, so no judgement here, but gift cards tend to be a last resort to ditch effort to just check the box and get that someone something (anything!) before the holiday.
Instead, if you’re stuck and don’t know what problem your gift can solve stick with a consumable staple.
What are consumables? Anything you can use and enjoy in a day, week, month, or two months—you name it! Any item that can sit in someone’s pantry, be used daily, or could be shared at their next gathering.
But does that mean you should just pick out any-old-thing and call it all done? Of course not, even if it’s a consumable make it something that people are actually excited to consume! Remember we’ve got 5 senses—any gift that activates a few is a winner!
We recommend the Alaska Cube, a soothing, aromatic, and vibrant blue body soap that literally ignites multiple senses at once! Sight? Bright blue that is captivating in anyone’s shower or bathtub. Smell? You better believe it brings a clear, clean, and crisp scent through the whole room. Sound? Well—all you’ll be hearing is “thank you” when you hand them this one-of-a kind gift that goes way beyond the ordinary. And finally, our favorite—feel. The Alaska cube includes natural menthol and bergamot giving your skin a slight tingle that hydrates and soothes.
3. Give Plants, Not Flowers
The bedazzle of a flashy gift like a big bouquet of flowers quickly fades. Worst yet? It smells and literally dies before your eyes. Yikes!
In part, we’re drawn to give gifts that sparkle and flash and give us the glory of being such a kind and extravagant gift-GIVER. But hey this is a gift, right? Let’s remember it’s about them—not us.
Recently, I received a bouquet of flowers while traveling and suddenly I was the proud owner of (you guessed it!) a new problem! I had taken the train to New York from DC (an easy 5-hour trip) but in fairly cramped conditions. What was I supposed to do with this massive floral arrangement? I barely had enough room for myself let alone a good way to hold it.
And I’m not the only one who’s run into this. You probably have too, but more importantly studies have found that gift recipients often want a gift that gives ‘continuous’ rewards instead of a one-time hit of dopamine for that flashy gift.
But we get it, a potted plant, might be hard to give that visual sense of wow. We’re not suggesting skimping on the presentation, far from it!
Lucky for you, fellow plant lovers out there, we’ve got Ty-Bag. The eco-friendly shopping and gift bag that can be reused endlessly and is strong enough to lift 15 pounds! The Ty-Bag is also gentle enough so your precious plant cargo can go anywhere.
The Ty-bag, made with Ty-vek, a recyclable construction material, is also waterproof. So, you have to give your plant a quick rinse? No problem, she’s gotcha.
4. Give gifts that keep on giving
We’ve all heard it’s the thought that counts. And for sure, that’s not wrong, but a thought only counts once. What people really remember are gifts that build memories or provide sentimentality.
In fact, some gifts might even be a person’s love language. Gary Chapman, author of the Five Love Languages, has discovered through extensive studies that roughly 20% of people don’t just want but NEED gifts from their loved ones. Of course, this is most important in more serious relationships, like a partner or family member, but that doesn’t make giving to friends any less important!
But here’s the good news—a sentimental gift doesn’t actually need to be something hand-made or grandiose. Take the socks for example—people (myself included) often value an everyday item way more if they receive it as a gift instead of just buying it for themselves.
If I buy myself the item, then it just becomes a thing. But if you bought me an item, then every time I use it or see it, I will think about the you and the shared moment.
So, the magic combination of the perfect gift your mother, brother, partner, and friends will love? One-part practical gift with lots of use and one part that special gifting moment.
One item everyone uses every day? The one thing you’re using right now probably. Your phone! Duh!
Get them the gift of enjoying mobile-streamed content anywhere they go with the Stand-It phone stand. Collapsible, small, but hearty enough to keep their phone sturdy on any surface.
5. Always Buy the Best
If money isn’t an object, then always buy the best. And if money is an object, still always buy the best.
As the trend towards less waste and minimalism continues to take over our social media feeds and dinner conversations, it’s important to recognize that nothing is worse than a gift that goes to waste.
Buying someone a gift that is second best, that they may replace with a better model or feel the inclination to toss out a year later is a (what we never want to give!) problem.
Studies show that waste, and in particular tech-waste, is a driving force of anxiety when cleaning or managing a home.
So do your loved one a favor, do the research, and purchase the best of whatever gift category you are going for. Don’t just go, “I’ll hit the gift shop near me and just see what they have”. That dooms you, and your gift recipient, to delayed disappointment.
If you are managing a budget or price limit, then buy a gift in which even the best in category is still in your price range. Again, the socks example. Typically gifts under $40 are the sweet spot for great quality and great value. And we’ve got one that just can do the trick.
The Artstand, an eco-friendly foldable laptop riser and stand that’s as beautiful as it is practical. Clocking in at $29.99 this lovely gift and work-space hack is the only eco-friendly option in the market that also is super strong and stylish! Easily best in class.
Our selection criteria
Inbebo is dedicated to a triple bottom line - planet, people, and profit. We think about the creators and the people who use their products in all our decisions. We select WOW gift products that meet high standards. Products are selected using several criteria – are they effective, do they enhance productivity, are they accessible, and do they deliver value? This is all rooted in a dedication to sustainability practices and involves taking a broad – somewhat elastic - view of what makes a product ’sustainable’.
The curation team asks a series of interrelated questions. Does the product solve a problem? In other words – is it useful? Is it durable, is it made to last? Does it save energy, or support health and wellness? Does it help people? These elements, taken into consideration, make a product truly sustainable because it is useful and enduring.
We are a global online and unique store where people come together to find and buy unique and innovative items. Indeed, we dare say we are the best gift shop since the internet. Our talented team of gift curators hand-selects the best unique products right at the source; discovering and partnering with creative and talented humans across the globe. Our product curations range from products for the home, kitchen, office, and even pets! allowing shoppers to discover and find the next must-have products and gifts.
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