How to master the art of giving

During the run-up to the holiday period, many people find the pressure of shopping for, planning for and then finding time to actually have a happy Christmas too much to bear. And unfortunately it seems that if your relationship isn’t strong enough, then Christmas is when cracks really can begin to show.

But at least on the big Day itself, you can surely relax a little and at least enjoy the gift or gifts that your partner has bought you, right?

Well, it seems not.

In a recent poll commissioned by QualitySolicitors, a whopping 39% of people said that their partner’s choice of gifts to them could be a factor in them considering a post-Christmas split!  Of course, at QualitySolicitors, we’re here to provide expert legal help and a smooth process if you ever do need to divorce, but there may be ways of managing relationship tensions before you get that far.

Amazingly, 11% of people are worried, perhaps understandably, that their partner won’t even bother with buying a gift at all.  Another 10% of people polled are concerned that the gift they are given would have been purchased with little or no thought, while another 10% stated that they worry in case too much money is spent on them.

Clearly buying a Christmas gift for a loved one is a delicate issue, so how do you get it right and be a Christmas star rather than a plum duff.  Here’s our guide to buying great presents:

1. ‘Expensive’ is not a requirement

While many people dream of being showered with expensive gifts, in reality most people will get far more pleasure out of receiving a gift that is meaningful to them in some way, or at least shows that their partner has given some thought to them before buying a present.

2. What are their hobbies?

If your partner is passionate about golf, Formula 1 or cross-stitch, then a quick look on the internet for ‘gifts for golfers’, ‘gifts for F1 fans’ and ‘cross-stitch gift ideas’ will return a whole series of websites offering gift ideas ranging from a few quid up to hundreds of pounds (if you so wish).

3. Keep them on their toes

Having said that, if you always get them hobby-related gifts, then perhaps you’ve settled into a predictable gift-buying routine?  Perhaps, whereas they love receiving their hobby-related gifts, maybe they’d be even more delighted if you got them something different this year?  Thoughtful, but different.  Unpredictability can cause even more joy if you get someone a surprise.

4. What makes a good surprise?

This is where it can become a little challenging.  Once you’ve decided to get your loved one a surprise gift, how can you stack the odds in your favour and create a “What an amazing thought” response rather than a “what were you thinking?” one?  So how do we identify what will make a good thoughtful gift? 

5. Phone a friend

Discreetly asking your partner’s family and close friends is a great way of finding out what your partner might want for Christmas.  This tends to work best if you can think of a gift idea first, then take the idea to someone and ask them what they think and will your partner like it?  If they say yes then bingo!  But if they say not sure, then they’ll almost certainly come up with some alternative.  If you try this, remember that the less people who know what you’re going to be buying, the less chance there is of someone blabbing about it beforehand.

6. Facebook

Love it or hate it, a person’s Facebook profile is likely to glean many ideas about what a person likes, or just simply feels strongly about.  Facebook users can of course publicly ‘Like’ products, brands, people, TV shows, films, and in fact pretty much any commodity; and it’s all there if you have a look at their profile.  Who said there wasn’t any practical use for Facebook?!

7. Money too tight to mention?

Times are hard for many people, and during the Christmas period we’re all pressurised into spending money on food, gifts and good times.  But if your household budget really doesn’t stretch to accommodate material gifts, then don’t despair.  Remember that a thoughtful gift is worth far more to someone than no gift at all, we think this is a scorching suggestion: write a series of ‘vouchers’ for your partner to redeem whenever they want.  They could be on scraps of paper, it doesn’t matter, because these aren’t ordinary vouchers, these are personal vouchers entitling your partner to whatever value you attach.  So for example you could write a voucher out for one 20-minute shoulder massage per week during January, or you might write out several household chore vouchers; washing the pots, vacuuming the house, changing the bedsheets, mowing the lawn.  Anything that you know your partner usually does but doesn’t like doing; imagine how grateful they’ll be, knowing you’ve thought of them with such care.

8. Our most important piece of advice

We have one final piece of advice for buying someone a present they’ll appreciate...


We hope this helps, and we wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas!

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