Christmas present ideasIf you’re like me, figuring out Christmas present ideas for everyone on your list can be a real pain. Sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in the movie Scrooged: I just want to buy a whole bunch of one thing and give one to everybody.

Well, no one wants that, since one size never really fits all. To give a real Christmas gift, you’ve got to know the person you’re giving to, so you can fit their likes and needs. So in this article, I’ll offer some tips to help you draw up your list of Christmas presents.

Be straightforward

If you’re not sure what someone would like for Christmas, why not use the tried-and-true method of asking them exactly what they want? Maybe they’ll actually tell you.

This method has gone out of style, because a lot of people think the recipient might feel offended because you don’t know them well as well as you should. Well, maybe they will. But most people won’t mind, and in fact they’ll appreciate you asking. (I certainly do.)

Here’s an example: I have a close relative who likes to read military science fiction… but I have no idea which books he’s already read. Is he a John Ringo fan? David Weber? Harry Turtledove? The easiest way not to buy him something he’s already read is simply to ask him what he wants—so that’s what I do.

Ask someone close to them

This one’s sneakier. Simply collude with someone close to your target: a sibling, spouse, or parent is ideal. If I’d done this with a certain kid a few years back, I might not have misjudged his ability to take a joke… so he wouldn’t have gotten Spiderman Underroos for Christmas, and I might still be welcome in his house!

Make a study of their likes and dislikes

This method isn’t as effective as just asking the recipient or someone close to them, and it requires a bit more work. You’ve got to become a bit of a detective to pull it off, too.

If you don’t already know them well, take a peek at your recipient’s bookcases. Check to see which X-Box games they don’t already have. If they collect things, make a note of the items they’re missing. They’ll appreciate you trying to fill in some of their slots!

Or just give ’em money

Some people find it gauche and/or offensive to give money or a gift card to someone so that they can buy precisely what they want. Not me! Many people are pleased to receive cash that they can spend as they wish… and it’s an excellent way to go if you’re at a loss for Christmas present ideas!


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