How to Shop For Someone You Don’t Know Well

        With the holidays just around the corner, many gift-givers are scrambling to find the perfect gifts for family and friends. But what if the person you have to buy a gift for is someone you don’t know well? Sometimes, we need to pick out gifts for bosses, relatives, or kids, and we just get stuck. Whether you only see them a few times a year, you don’t know what their interests are, or you never see them outside of work, it can be hard to guess exactly what they’d like. Here are a few tips!

  1.     Get the inside scoop– Call around to family and friends (someone who knows the person best) to figure out what their interests are. Of course, this is especially helpful when buying for kids, who are always telling Mom and Dad exactly what they want! Don’t guess—it’s better to check with his or her parents before making a purchase. This way, you’ll avoid another person buying the same thing.
  2.     Drop hints in conversation– It may sound obvious, but sometimes simply bringing it up to the person can provide a huge help when it comes to gift ideas. You don’t have to outright ask what to buy, but you can ask questions like “Do you still like Maroon 5?” If the answer is yes, then maybe concert tickets are a great idea!
  3.     Rely on memory– This one is tricky because it there’s a risk that you remember incorrectly, but if done right, it can be a saving grace. Think back to a conversation you may have had with this person and try to remember if they mentioned liking a certain perfume, store, or hobby. You may be surprised at the clues you can uncover simply by looking back!
  4.     Pay attention– If you don’t have any past conversations to work off of, then simply start paying attention. Did they just run out of recipes in a favorite cookbook? Rip a hole in their favorite sweater? Complain about a broken phone charger? Most people appreciate having something they use often to be replaced or upgraded in some way. All you need to do is pay attention to what that “something” is!
  5.     When in doubt, go generic. Hey—it’s fine if you couldn’t guess an exact gift or item they needed this year. Going with a generic gift, like a candle, socks, sweets, or a mug, are always appreciated. After all, it’s the thought that counts!

Buying gifts for those we know is hard enough, but shopping for someone we barely know seems impossible! Don’t worry—it’s not as bad as you might think. Just pay attention to things mentioned in conversation, look for clues, and use a little creativity to get the ball rolling! Don’t be afraid to ask around, either. Not even Santa gets it right every time!

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