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Happy December: How to Choose the Best Gift

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Thirty years ago, when my husband and I were dating, Pat’s dad, Dave, gave me a “winter-proof” North Face green, heavy-duty parka. To this day I use that every year throughout the winter. This year it’s perfect for my daily winter walks.

Practical Gifts Reveal Compassion

What I value as much as the parka, was Dave’s thoughtfulness. At the time I was still frequently driving from Minneapolis to Luverne, MN, my hometown, to visit my folks—even in winter’s coldest months. It’s a three-hour-plus drive. Dave was concerned about me and wanted to ensure that if I had car trouble, I would remain warm—even without the engine running. Although Dave has since passed, his gift still warms my heart, as much as my body, knowing the time he put into that gift idea. He perfectly identified my unique need.

It’s About Your Recipient—Not You

I mention this because many of us are still shopping, looking for that “just right” gift. It’s often something WE know we’d love. But would our recipient? Some of the most precious gifts I’ve received are the most practical. They serve a purpose and meet a need.

An article in LiveScience* agrees. The author advises us to tailor the gift to the recipient’s lifestyle and taste—not to yours. Instead of trying to determine the “desirability” of a gift, consider your recipient and their lifestyle. What are their hobbies and habits? What could you give that would improve their enjoyment of either? Or what might they need right now?

Helpful Gift-Giving Questions

Need a kick-start? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before shopping, courtesy HonestlyModern**

  1. What do they do, or want to do, in their free time?

  2. What do they need more: money (or something practical it buys) or time? What gadget could save them time?

  3. Do they have an interest they want to pursue, but haven’t just yet? What gift could get them started?

  4. How do they relax? What item would they enjoy while relaxing?

  5. What is their “guilty pleasure” or favorite indulgence? Can you indulge them?

Here’s hoping this list helps you find the perfect gift(s). Those who work with me on photo management and preservation know I also suggest “Gifts of Heart:” DIY gifts featuring your friend’s favorite photos in any number of formats. Always treasured.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa to all.

Best wishes for a successful, productive, and prosperous 2023!


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