As the old saying goes, ‘it is in giving that we receive’ – but more often than not, giving is also really tricky. Whether it’s a colleague or acquaintance that you don’t know very well, or a close loved one that you’ve simply exhausted all ideas for, it’s easy to get stumped when you’re searching for a truly great gift.
Shopping expert Thi Dinh, however, doesn’t face such dilemmas, as she’s discovered a very clever trick called ‘mirroring’ which uses people’s previous presents to you as guidance for buying their own.
‘It can sometimes be difficult to know what to get someone, or how much to spend,’ Thi, the manager of the Spirit of Christmas Fair at London’s Kensington Olympia, explains.
‘Mirroring is a helpful method to getting on track for gift-giving at the right budget. Has the person you’re shopping for has given you a gift in the past? You can use this as a guide — finding a gift of a similar kind and value to get you out of that Christmas-shopping rut.’
It’s a theory that’s simple, but can be very effective – and can be used for any level of present, from small Secret Santa trinkets to the grandest of gestures.
However, if you’re really not sure, Thi adds, it makes sense to go consumable.
‘Whether you’re thinking of a gift for a co-worker, or a family friend, you can always express thoughtfulness around the holidays. Rather than chance an item that may end up in the unwanted Christmas gift clutter, opt for a consumable present. These might include a nice bottle of wine, elegant chocolates, or a candle in their favourite scent.’
This means that no matter what you buy, the recipient is likely to actually use the gift, rather than letting it gather dust in a drawer.
‘Practical gifts go a long way,’ Thi adds. ‘If someone you know has recently moved or perhaps started a new job, they’ll appreciate a gift card to put toward what they need. That could mean shopping at their favourite home goods store or design studio, or possibly freshening up their work wardrobe. Practical gifts aren’t uncreative, they’re classic.’
You heard the lady – and with the Christmas season fast approaching, there’s never been a better time to put these tips into practice…