Tue | Dec 6, 2016

What are you planning on giving this year?

Published:Monday | November 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! At least that's what we think, whenever we get a wonderfully wrapped gift. But what about returning the favour? How many of us truly enjoy shopping for gifts? What makes a great gift? Suddenly, the season doesn't seem so merry after all.

No worries! Gift giving can be a no-brainer if you follow these tips:

1 Make the present an event : Get creative with the packaging! Rather than just handing them a gift in regular wrapping paper, think of the gifting experience as an event - and you want to make sure they enjoy it. Hide his gift and send him on a scavenger hunt to find it. Rather than just giving him a gift card, hide a secret message in a Twilight book that sends him to the gift card code. Or sew her present into a giant stuffed shark so she has to do surgery on it to get it out. And never, ever, underestimate the sheer fun of unwrapping presents. Sometimes, quantity can mean quality, when it's a bunch of small individually wrapped items.

2 Make a list of all the things the person is interested in and things that define who they are: Make this list long - spend at least two full minutes writing down as many things as you can. Now brainstorm something to go with every item on that list, small or big. You don't have to give all of those gifts, but you're going to hit on some cool ideas you wouldn't have otherwise, and when you combine a few of them, your giftee will appreciate how personal and thoughtful you were.

3 Look to the past: Find something that your giftee holds dear or has recently celebrated, and make a gift out of that.

4 Ask yourself what that person needs: Oftentimes, we don't want to fill a NEED with Christmas gifts because it doesn't seem right, but getting someone an iron, a blender, a sheet set or a few pieces of clothes for Christmas because he/she needs them can be an absolutely gesture.

5 Do some stalking. If all else fails, stalk: Most people have a wish list. They would be pretty delighted if you somehow found just the thing they wanted without even asking - and that they may have even forgotten they wanted themselves. Look through their Facebook history for clues. Ask friends and family to help you find out what is on that wish list.

6 Include a little bit of yourself: Make it personal in a different way - personalised from you rather than for them. Create a piece of art, write a song, knit a scarf - you get the idea. Combine this with one (or more) of the above suggestions for an ultra-personalised gift.

7 Be charitable: OK, so someone on your list really has everything he or she needs? Find something they're passionate about, and then donate to that cause. Is he/she a dog lover? Donate to an animal rescue. There are thousands of charities helping teens get off the streets, curing cancer, rehabilitating drug addicts, fighting for women's reproductive rights, and more. Make a gift to a cause that matters in their name.