Statistics show that thoughtless, generic gifts almost always end up being scoffed at, tossed aside, or recycled. If you don’t want the holiday gifts you spend your hard-earned money on to be relegated to the ‘trash’ pile, follow this simple 6-step game-plan and put Santa out of a job.


Once a year, stalk your recipients on social

Do your background checks through social media to find out what they’re passionate about, what they’re into, what they might need, or what they absolutely don’t want. The mistake people commonly make is assume what the other person wants and likes without doing their ‘homework’.

Ask questions

If you’re considering buying perfume for someone, a quick text to check with him or her on favourite top, middle and base notes will narrow the right fragrances down. If your recipient likes a certain genre of fiction, check if he or she has the latest from a range of authors. If you’re buying a workout top for example, check for favourite colours.

Don’t confine your gifts to things

For some people, the best things in life aren’t things. For these special individuals, doing something on their behalf may be more meaningful, so be prepared to think out of the box: you could give them your time (brunch or bracing run together), or donate to a charity of their choice.

charity gifting


There’s nothing more thoughtful and heartfelt than making something for someone with your own two hands, such as a cake, cookies, a floral arrangement, art, or a scrapbook featuring the recipient’s happiest memories in photos and keepsakes. If you’re so inclined, compose a poem, or make a sentimental video that collates his or her best moments of 2018.

Wrap it up & stick a note on it

Always wrap gifts, no matter how big, small, or odd-shaped they are. There’s nothing more impolite and haphazard than a present that’s not wrapped and still in the bag of the shop from which it was purchased. Besides, a wrapped present offers your recipient the added element of surprise. Theme your gift wrapping – by colours and materials– and change it every year, so that it becomes a feature your recipients can look forward to. Put gifts in boxes to make wrapping them easier. Gifts should also not be anonymous unless they’re from a secret Santa. Everybody else should honour each gift with a small note on a gift tag – it’s just polite and good gifting etiquette.

Gift registries

wish list

They aren’t just for weddings, house-warmings and baby showers. If more people created wish lists for Christmas, it would certainly take all of the guesswork out of gifting. So encourage your family, friends and co-workers to create Christmas gift registries. MyGiftList. allows you to add items from any online store, and it identifies each giver too. CheckedTwice  even allows you to add specific items from brick and mortar stores. While you’re at it, make life easier for others and sign yourself up too.