How to: choose the perfect gift

How to: choose the perfect gift

We make your gifting easier this year with a guide to choosing the right items for the right people.

choose the perfect gift

It’s that time of year again when you have to spend hours finding and wrapping gifts for family and friends. If you dread doing this because you never know what to get everyone, remember that the best presents are both unique and thoughtful, letting the recipient know you’ve made an effort to find something they’ll love.


Here’s how you can gift others with meaningful presents they’ll treasure forever:

Budget before buying

Before doing any gift-purchasing, work out a (realistic) budget. You can’t spend your entire annual bonus on gifts and have nothing left to get through ‘Janu-worry’. Allocate more or less the same amounts for adults’ and children’s gifts.
Don’t leave your shopping to the last minute, because you’ll miss out on great deals and discounts. Above all, stick strictly to your budget. In these hard-strapped economic times, nobody can expect lavish gifts. It really is the thought
that counts.

Tip: Save a fortune by doing a family gift swap. Put each member’s name into a hat. Each person then draws a name and that’s the only person for whom they’ll buy a gift, with a set price limit for all gifts.

Do your research

Give some thought to what each gift recipient would really like. Observe their accessories, their favourite colour garments or their needs (for example, a keen gym-goer might love a gym accessory). Are they a wine enthusiast, an avid reader or keen on their gadgets? Don’t get them a gift you’d like!

1. What’s their personality type? 

You need to know the type of character you’re gifting well enough to avoid getting them something for which they’ll have no use. If they’re a homebody, don’t get them tickets to a concert. If you’ve never seen them wearing pink, skip that floral pink dress you’d love to have yourself. If you know the person’s picky, include the purchase slip of the gift so they can exchange it for something else or – better still – give them a voucher so they can buy what they want.

2. What do they want? 

If you’re buying for someone on a tight budget, think about what they’d really appreciate. Have they mentioned something they’d love, but can’t afford, like a perfume or pedicure? What would make them feel really special?

3. What are their interests? 

What are their hobbies and what do they enjoy doing? If they’re gardening fans, they’d probably love a plant or gardening tool. And though you think it may be sweet to get their eight-year-old son a fish tank, they may not be
pet-lovers. Ask first!

4. Practicality: 

It’s always a bonus when a gift is both decorative and functional. Ideally, it should be something the recipient can use in their home, for baking, for the car, at work or versatile items like sunglasses, scarves and dresses, which can be used again and again.

5. Don’t be too practical: 

When shopping for women, people always assume the best gift is something for the house, like a vacuum cleaner, a blender or cookware. Yes, they may appreciate it, but it’s rather impersonal. Choose something that particular person would like, rather than something for the whole family.

Tip: Many shops sell items with the label (but not the price) on, so that the recipient doesn’t know the price – unless they come to exchange it. This is a great and practical idea for gifting.

Examples to make life easier…

  • If they love wine get them a subscription to a wine collectors’ club, a case of exclusive-edition wines or tickets to a wine tasting festival.
  • If they are sports fanatics get them season tickets to their favourite sports team’s games. As a bonus, you could organise for them to meet their favourite sports icon at the beginning or end of a match.
  • If they are speed lovers get them a chance to drive their favourite super-cars at a race track.
  • If they are disorganised get them a valet tray with a smartphone charging station.
  • If they love travelling get them a leather passport cover or wallet with their name or initials on it.


A little help goes a long way…

AMAZON has an an interactive gift-finder tool on its website. This lets you choose who you’re shopping for, whether it’s adult women and men, babies, toddlers, tweens, teens or the elderly. Once you choose who you’re shopping for, Amazon helps you find what you’re looking for by offering category filters.


NOT THE MALL is a local online gift store where you’ll find a variety of items that may be tricky to find in bricks-and-mortar outlets, such as international designer brands, local artisanal products or foodie gifts.


BIG BLUE has a wide range of gift items, including gadgets, beauty items and a ‘gifts under R100’ category (bonus!). The brand is environmentally and socially conscious; it recycles fabrics where possible and uses crafting groups like the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, Diepsloot Crafters, Ilithuba and the Topsi Foundation.


Tip: If you’re all out of ideas, have your family members exchange wish lists. This is a huge stress-reliever and ensures everyone gets exactly what they want.



About Nolwazi Dhlamini

Features Writer for Your Family magazine. She’s worked in print and digital media, and finds thrill in understanding human behaviour. Nolwazi believes everyone has a fascinating story to tell, and it just takes the right person, asking the right questions, to find it.


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