You don’t want to be the Gent scrambling around on Dec 23rd or 24th, picking over the remains of what’s left at a store or browsing hurriedly through online sites. That’s stressful and often you make the “have to” choice instead of the “want to” one. But with so many different gift possibilities out there and Black Friday now stretching out into days before and after, it might make sense to take a step back and remind ourselves about the fundamentals of gift-giving before buying something just because it’s on sale.
You might be asking yourself, what “fundamentals of gift-giving”? Great question. But before we get to that, why give gifts in the first place?
- Established customs: the reason that December is a popular time for gift-giving is the worldwide celebration of Christmas
- Empathy: someone may be going through a time that is challenging
- Recognition: someone deserves to be noticed for an accomplishment or well-done work
Once you know you’re definitely going to buy a gift for someone but are stumped on what to give, you can run through five categories.
Something They Need
While plenty of us have the instinct to buy something we need, many others don’t have that mindset and often leave their needs to the side. If you’ve noticed someone needs something and hasn’t taken the time to get it for him/herself, that’s often going to make a great gift.
Something They Want
Needs vs Wants is a classic debate, but your ears should instantly perk up when you hear someone say, “I want that.” Now, those notes won’t always be helpful, especially if someone is talking about an Aston Martin you’re both looking at. But that might be a great insight into something that matters to them (a car lover might enjoy a copy of Ford v. Ferrari, for example).
Something to Read
Books are a perennial winner, especially if you’ve taken the time to write an inscription on the inside explaining why this book matters to you and why you think it will be impactful for the person you’re giving it to. This could be a book that really hit home with you this year, or one that has been a major influence in your life.
Something to Wear
This is a challenging category because it requires you to think inside someone’s wardrobe in reference to what you see them wearing consistently. Generic cufflinks are less impactful than cufflinks related to something they care about or love, while scarves are nice touches for a wardrobe in general but might be iffy if you’ve never seen that friend wear a scarf.
Something They Didn’t Know They Needed
The “next level” category of the ones we’ve listed is this one. Someone hasn’t told you of a need or want and you haven’t defaulted to something to read or wear. Getting this right means knowing someone well enough to pick something that will fit effortlessly into their lives. It’s a fun challenge and one you want to give yourself ample time to think through.
A ski trip for the brother-in-law who has never skied but who ends up falling in love with it is a score in this category. Or a massage for your mom who never treats herself to one. The surprise of the gift in this category is often just as powerful as the gift itself.
A gift that can tick three of these five boxes is a Gents Place Membership. Get one for a colleague, employee, friend or family member here.