Christmas seasons come and go, and so do the usual run-of-the-mill gifts and toys. Would you like to wow your friends and family with awesome, original and unique gifts that they will not hide away in a closet or forget after 2 weeks? Here are some tips for great gifts that will please every time.

Christmas toys gifts

1. Use your natural talents

Are you a knitter, a painter, a poet or a good cook? Draw on these talents and use them for awesome gifts. An original, hand-knitted pair of mittens will always trump the store-bought ones. Give the gift of a portrait or a poem about someone. You can also offer little books with your favourite recipes (and those that people love you to make) or give jars filled with layered dry ingredients for baking.

2. Go shopping with the person

Invite your gift recipient for an afternoon of shopping. Take a mental note of what they like and what they don’t, especially if they see something that they really want but say they can’t or won’t buy. That’s usually a great idea for a gift. Ask strategic questions like: “what color would you wear this in” or “have you seen this item? What do you think?” You can learn a lot about a person while shopping with them, especially if it’s aimless, general shopping.

3. Ask around

If you’re really stuck on gift ideas for someone, ask their friends and loved ones. Those who spend the most time with them are usually the best people to tell you what they would like as gifts. Think about their lifestyle, hobbies and interests and fit the gift to the person. Health nuts won’t go for fast food restaurant coupons, that’s for sure!

4. Offer your time and services

In this tough economy, some people might not be able to afford expensive gifts. A great way to get around this is to offer self-gift certificates. If your giftee is a new mum, offer babysitting or house cleaning for free. Are you a good car mechanic? Offer to check up on your friends’ cars before they head to the garage. Any special or useful talent that you have and that can save your friends time and money will be deeply appreciated.

5. If in doubt, go with the gift card

Gift cards are a bit of a cop-out, but very few people are actually unhappy with gift cards. They let you choose your own item. Gift cards are especially effective if they are specialised: avoid general stores like Amazon and offer something more specific instead. Restaurant gift cards for foodies, craft stores gift cards for crafters… you get the idea. And a little hand-written note is always a good personalisation strategy!

Whether you go for Christmas hampers or for handmade gifts, always try to fit the gift to the person. And most decent people won’t care about the price if the gift is thoughtful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and think outside of the gift box!