1. Write things down.
The single most important tip to becoming a great gift giver is to pay attention. Pay attention all year ’round to what your spouse, parent, friend, etc. says they want or need. Whenever they mention something, WRITE IT DOWN immediately in a notes app on your phone. When birthdays and holidays roll around, It’ll just be a matter of consulting your notes and you’ll have such an easier time.
2. Find a public Amazon wish list or registry.
Amazon wish lists are public by default and can be a great way to see what your person has been eyeing. Alternately, you might be able to find a not-so-old registry your recipient may have had. Beware: An Amazon (or similar) wish list can be a godsend, but it can be deceptive too. For instance, mine has a lot of things I plan to or have posted on this site! You can search for public Amazon wishlists here.
3. Buy complements to things they already have.
Extend a surround sound system for someone who’s into home theater. Are they already doing the whole smart home thing? How about checking out home security options or adding a Nest thermometer to the rotation. Buy a photographer a new lens. Buy a luxury chaise lounge for someone who got their patio redone. How about an attachment for those Kitchenaid mixers that are a mainstay in many American kitchens? The options are limitless when you think of gift giving as a means of improving something that’s already there.
4. Think experiences.
There’s only so many things one can have. Giving experiences as presents — concerts, trips, sporting events — is giving the gift of good memories. It’s the gift of anticipation and often a promise to do something together. I know a great many grandparents who would rather spend an afternoon with their grandkids rather than have another knick-knack to find a home for.