This article originally appeared in Volume 24, Issue 3 as a Christmas gift advice column. 

It’s just weeks until Christmas and in the hubbub and whirlwind of finals and holiday events, you’ve forgotten a key gift for a special someone in your life, or perhaps every someone. Despite the fact that another scented candle or striped tie would be easy and cheap, you want to give a gift that will surprise and dazzle, and definitely not end up as a re-gift for a white elephant next year. To ease your holiday woes, here are five tips for a gift that’s worth giving.

  1. Take a moment and think. This may seem like an obvious step. But as seasonal lattes and the Black Friday rush fills our systems, it’s easy to run out and buy a gift that will have little significance for that friend or partner. Stop for a minute and think or list out different aspects of the person that relate to a gift: hobbies, personality traits, interests, bucket list, dreams and goals. This may be a bit excessive, but those who don’t take a moment to acknowledge a person’s desires and identity are often those who end up buying socks. While there’s nothing wrong with those warm and fuzzy items, giving a gift that reflects a person’s personality is a compliment to them and shows you are paying attention.
  2. Stay away from retail. Unless your gift receiver’s favorite businesses include fast food and Walmart, don’t go looking for that perfect gift in a retail store. While these stores offer convenience and variety, you’ll be purchasing the same gift as your neighbor and will have ultimately put in minimal effort. A great gift is one of a kind, something that can’t be bought up on a weekend sale. Take the time to look for a more unique spin on the gift you’re already planning on giving, such as a mug, clothing or sugary treat.
  3. Go local. The best place to find an original gift is a family-owned mom and pop shop in downtown Puyallup or Tacoma. Whether you’re buying wall art or specialty coffee beans, going to an independent seller means you’ll be giving a gift that no one else can, making it much more relatable for the person receiving it. Plus, it’s always a good idea to support the local economy, giving credit to businesses that are doing the grunt work to create a quality product.
  4. Peruse online. While in contradiction to the above point, online stores give wide variety and often have specialty pieces tucked away for cheaper prices than in-store. Amazon is one of the largest online options for custom items and a wider selection of colors and prints for different gifts. Even though the device-to-door giant is convenient, smaller online companies provide original products not found on the corporate market. Looking for a clothing item online? Instead of logging onto Amazon, search for private businesses, which often provide a needed spin on a product you’ll be excited to give.
  5. Give an experience. Not only can this be more cost-effective than a tangible gift, an experience shows a dedication beyond the gift itself — planning, providing and executing a gift after the day it’s unwrapped. An experience doesn’t have to be a trip to Paris or a gift certificate to an elaborate class. It can be as easy as inviting someone to a homemade meal or a day trip to a favorite city. The best memories are made by doing, commit to setting a moment out of your busy schedule to make the experience happen for the person you care about.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Maddie Ashcraft
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