Great Gifts: Tips for Finding the Perfect Holiday Present

Does the thought of trying to find the perfect holiday gift fill you with dread? If so, youíre certainly not alone: "One in eight Americans would rather watch paint dry than go shopping for all their holiday gifts," says Gwen Paja, editorial curator at, which discovered this fact in a recent survey. But giving a great gift usually doesnít need to be painful, nor does it require spending a lot of time and money, she adds. Whatís the secret? Knowing that the best gifts are usually those that are hand-picked for the recipient.

Narrowing in on the "Right" Gift

To help you narrow in on some great gift choices, Paja suggests that you think about the personality of the person for whom you are buying the gift: "Itís not just about the newest gadget or shiniest toy; think about who they are and what they would use the gift for," she says. "For example, letís say youíre thinking about getting someone a new pair of headphones. The music fanatic, the runner, the stylista, and the frequent traveler will all have different types of headphones that fit their personalities and lifestyles."

Keep in mind that when you select a gift, youíre really accomplishing two important missions, Paja adds. First, youíre showing the recipient that you really thought about him and second, youíre giving him something he can enjoy using.

Great Gift Picks

Here are some of Pajaís favorite gift picks:

Gourmet Gifts for Foodies: For people who love to cook (and eat!), food gifts are always a popular choice. You can give a one-time food delivery, or a subscription that allows specific foods to be sent at pre-arranged intervals.

  • Jerky of the Month Club: A 3-month subscription starts at about $40 at
  • Spice of the Month Club: A 6-month subscription is about $35 at
  • Christopher Elbow Holiday Collections: A set starts at $30 and goes up to $60 at

Retro Gifts: Whatís old is new again! "Retro items are making a comeback, especially for teens and hipsters who like these throwback retro products from the past," Paja says. Try these gifts for vintage lovers:

Rare Gifts: For the person who has everything, you might try an unusual gift that can make a lasting impression:

  • Own a Plot of Land in Ireland: About $50 from
  • An Acre of Land on Mars: Packages at start at $30 and go up to $200.

Gifts of Experience: "Adventure gifts are a trend this year. Itís more than about a product as a gift; itís about giving them an experience theyíll never forget," Paja says.

  • Action & Adventure Gift Certificate: At, these start at $100. Choose from over 900 experiences like flying a helicopter, white water rafting, ziplining, private surfing lessons, racing a stock car, and lots more!

Giving Back

Holidays can be a great time to support a charity or good cause in honor of a family member or special friend. Just be sure you select a legitimate charity and donít get caught in a scam.

  • Just Give ( has a charity gift guide that allows you to make contributions toward a variety of great causes in honor of your recipient. Some of the gifts you can give through the website include:

    • 16 books for first-time readers - $40
    • 400 Meals to the Hungry - $50
    • Plant 15 Trees in an Endangered Rainforest - $15
  • Charity Navigator ( is an online source that provides background information, financial data, and ratings on thousands of charities, allowing you feel confident that your money will be used wisely.

Money Matters

Setting a budget for your holiday shopping up front can help keep you from spending more than you planned. While this can be difficult to stick to in the stores, Paja says that online shopping can help you stick within your means: "Online shopping allows you to set filters on price, so youíre not even looking at items that are higher than what you can afford."

Gwen Paja, editorial curator,, reviewed this article.


Gwen Paja, editorial curator, Email interview, Nov. 17, 2014.