The ongoing Christmas season once again sparks the spirit of giving around us. We look forward to receive gifts from our family, friends, and colleagues. At the same time, we begin to get anxious about what to give to those who are in our Christmas list.

Our shopping for presents this Christmas does not have to be that stressful. As we look for gift ideas or suggestions, we can narrow down our options by adopting the ‘4 gifts rule’. It simplifies one’s gift options into four choices: (1) You buy something that they want; (2) You buy something that they need; (3) You buy them something to wear and; (4) You buy them something to read. Plus, you could consider what are called experiential gifts.

Something they want

Try figuring out what they would want to receive based on their personalities and preferences. Kitty Elicay of Smart Parenting advises on an online article: “When they say they want something, listen, and take note. The look of joy on their face when they finally get their hands on something they’ve been hinting at… is even better than surprising them with a gift you’re not even sure they’ll want.”

Consider appliances such as audio systems or coffee brewers for dads. Gaming keyboards and/or mice or a gaming console would be a great gift for the grown-up child. An elegant handbag might be a delight for moms or sisters.

Friends and colleagues, meanwhile, might like a gift card that will allow them to shop for the things they really want. Human Resources magazine wrote on its Web site about a survey which indicated that “29% said gift vouchers were the most popular gifts from employers.”

Makeup kits or skin care products will surely be appreciated by your female pals. Your creative friends might like to have a calligraphy set to learn or practice the art of beautiful writing.

Something they need

It is also important that we look for items that our recipients need. It will be a gift worth giving.

For instance, a backpack will be a suitable gift for the family member who goes to school or work. Moms will benefit much with receiving cooking items.

Your friends and coworkers would love to have a new planner for the next year. New sets of notebooks or journals would be very much appreciated too.

Something to wear

We also look forward to new stuff to add to our wardrobes, especially when we realize that some of our clothes are beginning to wear out.

Try finding a new pair of shoes or a new necktie for dads. How about a cool pair of sneakers for the young guys? A necklace or an earring could further complement what your mom’s or sister’s outfits. New socks, with different designs to choose from, would be a delight for both adults and kids.

Friends might like a new jacket or sweater to suit rainy or cold weathers. Your office mates would appreciate a polo or a coat as an addition to their regular office wardrobe.

Something to read

To give something to read is a good way to live out the spirit of giving. You don’t merely give a material thing, but you also give the gift of knowledge.

It’s worth considering to give either self-help books, best-selling novels, or any book from an author your family members are following. Easy-to-read and interactive children’s books will also be a great gift for children to start the reading habit.

The latest graphic novel/comic book might fascinate your friends who are fans of superheroes or animé.

Books on personal development and leadership would be a thoughtful gift to inspire and motivate your colleagues. A new devotional, a new Bible, or a best-selling spiritual book are good choices that will nourish someone’s soul.

Something to experience

In addition to the previous four, also consider giving what are called ‘experiential gifts.’

“Experiential gifts evoke greater emotion than material ones and it’s that emotional intensity that makes us feel more connected to the giver,” Cassie Mogilner Holmes, an associate professor of marketing, was quoted in from a research she co-wrote in 2016 exploring these kind of gifts.

It could be movie tickets for the family or barkada, given that this season is a prime time for movies. It could also be a dinner at a restaurant, a trip to a museum, or viewing a concert or play.

There’s a myriad of gifts to consider for your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. That’s why it is very helpful to simplify your options and find what suits them best. — Adrian Paul B. Conoza