The Perfect Gift

Whether you're buying Christmas presents, Hanukkah presents, birthday or Valentine's gifting can be difficult. There's always that thought that maybe they already have it, it won't fit, or they just straight-up won't like it. Well, I have some advice on starting your holiday shopping excursions now. I mean, you can wait until Black Friday, but with all the stores opening at midnight (cough, Target) or even 10 p.m. (cough, Wal-Mart) you might be out of luck depending on what you're planning on Thanksgiving night.

Esquire has a decent guide of what to get basically everyone on your shopping list. The items they suggest are basically just easy go-tos. I mean, a watch is always a nice gift. Just make sure it's in a style he or she will like. I know, that's the tricky part. But that comes from knowing the person. Scarves and gloves are always nice and useful gestures that people will most likely actually wear. You don't have to go as high end as these, but they are good ideas to have in case you really can't think of anything more unique.

For something really interesting you could always look at products that are attached to a cause.At Filanthropist.com they have a ton of products that benefit a certain charity. If the person is a do-gooder, has strong feelings about a particular cause, or if you just want to feel warm and fuzzy about giving a gift and donating at the same time, try the website. Also, the recipient will probably be very impressed.

New York Magazine offers this great manifesto for gift-giving in 2011. Read this then go shopping. You won't regret it.

Personally, when I shop I like to go to places that other people aren't always going to. For example, everyone shops at Target, therefore, the recipient probably goes there too. I try to find items the person I'm buying for hasn't seen. It's kind of fun. Stores like World MarketorUrban Outfitters can be fun to look through for interesting ideas. Urban has great weird house ware type of objects or trinkets. World Market has house wares, interesting little trinkets, baskets for gifts, beautiful boxes to put presents in and an incredible assortment of interesting alcohol. In case thats what you're looking for. It could come in handy when hosting holiday festivities as well.

DIY gifts are always heartfelt and definitely appreciated, if not cheaper than store bought presents for the buyer. Here's one for any beer or root beer lovers from Life of a Modern Mom. Our Unexpected Journey, has the cutest wreath you can make for yourself or others. Here are some great gifts to give people in jars from Texas Cottage. You know, like dry cookie ingredients in a jar, and that sort of thing.

When you have actually narrowed down your gift, presentation is important. Granted, the present is the star, and really the only thing that matters, but what it looks like before they see it, that can really make a person's day. Wrapping a gift and tying a ribbon around it really changes the whole mood when you give that person the present. I mean, compare:

To this:

I'm totally being unfair I know. And I realize bags are reusable. But if you are going to use them, please be classy about it. Some other good ideas for wrapping: Wrap in a natural brown color then just add a colored ribbon, instant classy. Ornaments or candy canes on the ribbon on boxes or bags is always cute, especially if it matches the color scheme you have going.

I just learned that sometimes even when you think you nailed a present, it might not always turn out like you planned. For example, my boyfriend's birthday was earlier this month. I sent him a shirt, this shirt, for multiple reasons. We both grew up in the Midwest, met there, went to college there, it's different, and I thought he'd look attractive in it. I guess he was confused about whether it was a guys shirt. Well, great. He does like it for the record, but my advice is think about what they really are into first.

Good luck.

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