How to solve the holiday shopping blues

Maybe it’s a Secret Santa assignment, a new friend in the group or just someone who’s difficult to shop for, but almost everyone has experienced holiday-shopping-induced stress. Have no fear: with the holidays swiftly approaching, it’s not necessary to bust your brain or give up an arm and a leg to find the perfect present — it just takes a little time and effort, and you’ll have a great gift in no time.

Find their friends

If you’re not close enough with someone to know what to get them, find someone who is. There’s no shame in asking someone what to get another person. You might get lucky and find that the person you ask has been told exactly what to get, or they may have no clue either. If that’s the case, try probing around for ideas — find out what they like, their hobbies or even their dislikes — which can be equally important.

Take a scroll through Amazon

Amazon has a daily list of “Interesting Finds,” and, although it can be financially dangerous to see all of those fun baubles in one place, it can be a great way to find trendy items. Overflowing with fun patterned socks, sarcastic mugs, quirky home decor and unique tools, there’s sure to be something to catch the eye. They even embed sub-lists of more specific finds. Even if none of these items are your style, maybe you’ll get an idea while looking through them to point you in the right direction.

Use social media

In the age of oversharing on the internet, you can learn how to use social media apps to your advantage when it comes to gift shopping. A person’s social media profile is a great way to dip into what they’re interested in. If you notice a lot of photos of the beach on their Instagram feed, maybe you can consider buying them a new beach towel or some ocean-themed decor. Or, if you notice a lot of pictures of them at a specific restaurant, consider getting them a gift card.

And when all else fails…

Get to know them better. Maybe suggest going to a movie, restaurant or park to walk around and talk. Their suggestions for hanging out might even give you some ideas. While it’s probably not the best idea to flat out ask them what they’d like for a present, you can weasel it subtly into your conversation. Ask them about their favorite foods, pastimes, where they like to shop or what kind of exercise they’re into, and, with a little brain power, you can dream up a great gift.

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