Saturday, 3 December 2016

How to be a great present buyer

Now as you probably know, I am not one to toot my own horn very often, but if there's one thing I'm pretty good at it's present buying.
Now this is actually both a blessing and curse, because it's not like you can just buy one really good present and then you're forever deemed an excellent present buyer, no siree, you have to maintain this for life or risk losing your title as "A great present buyer". So every birthday, every Christmas, every anniversary, every Mother's Day/Father's Day/surprise present day you have to work hard to maintain your title.
It's hard work.
But if you're ready for the challenge, I am going to teach you my ways...

1. PLAN AHEAD
I'm aware this is probably not the best advice for the first week of December, but the absolute number one best way of being a great present buyer is to plan ahead. I keep a note in my phone AT ALL TIMES called "Present ideas" and I add to it any time someone I know makes any kind of vague reference to wanting something at any point throughout the year. Then whenever their birthday/Christmas/whatever rolls around I don't have to worry about trying to remember that really good present idea I had six months ago. edit: I also have an Amazon wishlist called Other People Presents that I add to throughout the year.

2. Stop, collaborate and Listen!
This is another secret to my success that links into the above. Listen! Without realising people will always reference things they like, things they want, new hobbies they've got etc. So this links in with point one. It doesn't have to be a clear present idea, but it might be the odd comment that someone makes that you add to your list that might spark your inspiration. So under present ideas you can just add the odd word or idea, even if it's not fully formed.

3. Plan presents around ideas
So this again is a step up on points one and two. I quite often think of ideas for presents that may not exist. For example, my Mum loves Ted Baker and the colour yellow, so a few years ago I decided to see if a yellow Ted Baker bag existed. And then last year I decided to see if a Ted Baker umbrella existed. And for Phil I quite often imagine Liverpool FC themed things that may or may not exist, and then I just search for them before I even know if they're a thing (he's had a Liverpool onesie, Liverpool pyjamas, Liverpool slippers, Liverpool cufflinks, Liverpool socks...). So if you know someone likes a particular brand or team or band, pop that into Amazon or Etsy or eBay and just see what comes up!

4. Shop online
Because of the above, the ideas for presents I buy are often quite specific, so it's much easier to find these online than have to battle through the shops. I personally find Christmas shopping very stressful and would rather just have one day where I get everything ordered and on the way than battle trying to find things in real life!

5. Repeat gifts are okay!
Two years ago I made Phil's parents a hamper for Christmas and Phil's Mum loved it so much she asked me to make her a hamper every year! Which is perfect! So every year I really enjoy going picking new things for their hamper, arranging it all nicely and wrapping it up. It's really fun for me, and I know it's something they always enjoy. 

6. Set a budget
The first Christmas Phil and I were together we both went a bit bonkers on presents (which we now laugh about because we'd been together a matter of WEEKS and spent well over £100 on each other!) so the last three Christmases we've decided a budget between us that we have to stick to. And you know what, it's a really fun challenge! It's easy to spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds on the ones we love, but it's much more challenging to have a set budget and try to get the best things you can within that budget.

7. Get something personal from you
The best presents are the ones that have real meaning and the kind of gifts that could only come from one person. And it's worth spending a little bit of time thinking about something really great a personal that only you could give. Maybe it's a present based on an in-joke, or something you both love, or even just a framed photo of the two of you. A little gift with real meaning means so much more than something expensive.

8. Give yourself some time to really think about it
And finally, I think this has been a theme the whole way through this, but the really important thing is to actually spend some time thinking about what to get the people you love. Literally set some time aside if you have to! Look through their Facebook feed, stalk their Twitter, scroll through their Instagram if you have to! Think about the things they like, the things they already own, previous gifts you've bought, the kind of present you would like to receive and what you can get for your budget. Save all that time you normally spend queuing up in an overheated shopping centre thinking about presents and I promise you'll ace it this year!

What are your best present-buying tips?

Charlotte x

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