How to Pick a Gift for Someone

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

Contemporary human studies have shown that people enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them. The reason is simple. We take great joy in being the cause of someone else’s happiness, regardless of the way we managed to achieve it. However, sometimes it can be quite challenging picking just the right gift to give to someone. It might seem pretty straightforward at first, but you know how the first impression can be misleading. The truth is, if you want to surprise someone with just the perfect gift, there are a lot of things to consider before the purchase.

To help you with this challenging task, we scoured the internet searching for information, experiences, and other useful tips. After gathering them up, we composed a detailed guide on how to choose a gift for someone. It should save you some time and effort you would otherwise spend wandering around the internet and local stores. With our guide, you’ll have all the necessary information in one place, so you should be able to pick just a perfect gift in a breeze!

If you’re in a hurry, we have a few quick and simple tips to help you with picking the right gift. We call it 2O2I!

  • Organize.

Make a plan and create a list. This is the first and most crucial step when picking a gift for someone. You want to write down all your ideas so you don’t forget some of them. A list will also narrow down your choices and help you make a final decision.

  • Observe.

Open your eyes and look for the signs. Everything is important, from shoelaces to food preferences. You want to notice the objects of affection, hobbies, and other preferences of a gift receiver. That will help you pick the perfect gift.

  • Identify.

Try to identify the type of message you want to send with a particular gift. Consider your relationship type with the person you’re buying a gift for. It will narrow down your choices and speed up the choosing process.

  • Investigate.

Pretend you’re an investigator and find everything you can about the person. That is if you don’t know everything already. Talk with friends, family, and other people who are close to the gift receiver or check out the person’s social media accounts.

Make a List

First thing first, you should make plans and create a list. The key to successful gift-giving is thinking things through and staying organized. You should write down all your ideas, so you don’t forget some of them on the way. It will also help you narrow down the choices in the end. What should my list contain, you may ask? Everything from hobbies to personal preferences and wishes. We’ll start with that right away!

Listen and Observe

Paying attention to the receiver is what you want to do in order to pick a perfect gift. That includes listening to the things a person says to pick up what he/she wants and needs as well as considering the hobbies and other interests. All the things we’re about to cover in our guide should be on your list.

Area of Interests

How to ask someone what they want for their birthday or any other occasion, you may ask? Well, you can ask the person directly or consult his/her friends and family. 

Also, you don’t have to ask at all if you don’t want to, and you’ll still be able to figure out what to buy. For instance, it’s enough to be familiar with someone’s area of interest to know what gift to get. Are you buying something for a bookworm or a gamer? Is a receiver an outdoor enthusiast or an indoor workaholic? You get now where we are heading with this. Consider what a person likes to do in free time and it will help you determine what to get as a gift.

Things Someone Needs

Whether you’re wondering how to pick a good gift for someone close to you or a complete stranger, it all comes down to picking stuff someone needs. We know, it’s easier said than done. Still, you can surely notice that a person needs at least one or two things in daily life only if you pay close attention to her/his daily routine.

Let us give you an example. If you notice that your manager loves drinking tea during lunch breaks, you can get him/her a set of teabags from across the world or an insulated tea infuser. On the other hand, if your close friend is talking about having damaged hair in the last couple of months, go straight to the store and get a haircare set. It’s that simple!

Things Someone Wants

How to find the perfect holiday gift for someone? Well, it’s all about the things a person wants to have. Whether we are shopping for holidays, birthdays, weddings, or any other occasion, we’re aiming to get things that other people want to have. It’s a challenging task, especially when trying to guess the preferences of people we don’t know that well. Still, you can pull it off if you pay close attention to what people say around you. For example, if you’re searching for a gift for your coworker, listen to what he/she talks about when on breaks. People often talk about what they want to have or get, and the topic will come up sooner or later. That’s why it’s so crucial to pay close attention and listen to what people talk about around you.

Playing a Detective

This step should be fun! These days, you have more ways to find out what someone needs or wants thanks to social media accounts. A person to whom you’re buying a gift must have at least one to three accounts. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter (or even better, all of them), visit the pages and be a detective! Carefully examine the feed and the photos, and try to find out what a person likes. Someone’s posts will tell you a lot about personal preferences and life habits!

Keeping Track of the Past

Don’t forget to keep track of all the things you bought for a person in the past. That is if there were any gift exchanges between you in the past. Also, try to find out what other people got for that person in a recent couple of years. That will help you avoid giving the same things!

Keep it Personal

Whichever gift you choose, try to make it more personal. You don’t have to buy a sentimental gift or anything similar. It’s just important to add something that will remind a person of you. For example, you can write a letter or a note, including some handicrafts such as candles, soaps, origami, etc.

Consider Alternatives

Material gifts are the safest and most common option. However, you might want to change your approach sometimes, depending on the person you’re buying a gift for, so keep in mind that you have other options too.

Monetary Contributions

For example, you can make a monetary contribution to help someone build a new home, decorate the interior, buy a new car, etc. These days, most people prefer getting monetary contributions but they don’t know how to ask for money instead of gifts. If you pay close attention, talk to the receiver, and observe her/his daily habits, you can easily recognize that someone could use money more than gifts. After all, don’t be afraid to ask openly whether someone would prefer gifts or consult a person’s friends and family.

Gift Cards

Consider getting a gift card too. Long are the days when gift cards were perceived as rude or too impersonal. The truth is, most people love getting them, so they can buy whatever they want. However, keep in mind that you still have to do your research to pick the right store. Here’s one of our articles that can help you with everything related to gift cards What to Say When Giving a Gift Card.


Lastly, see if you can provide experiences instead of gifts. Memorable moments are sometimes more valuable than any material gift. This is especially true for outdoor enthusiasts and other people with active lifestyles. They often don’t know how to ask for experiences instead of gifts, so you can do them a favor by figuring it out all on your own. Also, it’s smart to opt for experiences when buying gifts for the closest people in your life. You’ll build memories and bond even more over the new experiences.

Things to Avoid

Of course, there are a few things you should try to avoid when picking a gift, and we listed them below. Don’t stop reading because this is also one of the crucial steps in the gift-picking process.

Buying Gifts That You Like

When asking yourself how do I pick out a gift for someone you should also ask yourself: “Am I picking a gift for another person or for myself?” This is a common mistake. People tend to buy gifts they like rather than thinking about other people’s wishes. We all have different tastes and preferences. Try to keep that in mind. You should pick a gift that would suit a particular person, even if you don’t like it at all!

Ignoring Someone’s Wishes and Requests

Don’t be deaf to other people’s requests. Some of them will be brave enough to ask for what they want. Respect their bravery and wishes. Buy them what they want and don’t stick with your choices at all costs.

Giving Random Stuff

A lot of people become nervous when they don’t know how to pick the best gift for someone, so they just go to the store and pick the first thing that catches their eye. Don’t make the same mistake. There’s nothing worse than giving gifts just for the sake of giving. Think things through and then opt for a particular product. Even if you don’t make the right decision, people will notice you made an effort and they’ll appreciate it.

Extra Tips

In the end, try to make things interesting regardless of the gift-giving and receiving etiquette (if there’s any). You might have to stick with formal gifts depending on the person and occasion, but that shouldn’t stop you in planning a surprise to make someone happy. Of course, things are easier when you’re planning a gag surprise party for your bestie and you don’t have to bother with any social rules because you know your friend the best. Still, there are several ways you can easily make a surprise for every person out there. If you need a piece of advice on this topic, we’ve got you covered with the article on How to Surprise Someone with a Gift.


Have we answered your question of how to pick a gift for someone? Hopefully, we have, and you’re ready to go shopping! We’re going to repeat things once more just in case. Consider other people’s wishes, needs, and preferences. Do your research and try to find out as much as you can about a particular person. That will help you pick a perfect thing. Additionally, keep aside your own taste in gifts and your own wishes. It’s about giving a gift to that other person, not buying one for yourself! Yes, we said all of this already once or twice through the article, but it’s crucial to keep it in mind when picking a gift. All in all, if you follow our steps and recommendations, we think you can’t do anything wrong whatsoever!





You Might Also Like

How to Surprise Someone with a Gift Even If You Suck at Gift-Giving

How to Surprise Someone with a Gift

How to Surprise Someone with a Gift Even If You Suck at Gift-Giving WhatToGetMy Instructional Article One of the hardest things to try and understand is how to surprise someone with a gift. Gift giving calls for a certain panache sure to leave the recipient

Read More »
Cute Things to send in the Mail to Friends


CUTE THINGS TO SEND IN THE MAIL TO FRIENDS WhatToGetMy Instructional Article You have friends that have moved away because of work or to go to college or for whatever other reason it may have been. You want to keep in touch with them as

Read More »

How To Walk Away From a Difficult Person

9 Most Important Tips on How to Walk Away from a Difficult Person (2023) Dealing with difficult people can be emotionally draining and detrimental to our well-being.  Understanding these different types of difficult personalities can give us insights into their underlying motivations and behaviors. When

Read More »

Mindfulness in Time Management: Cultivating Present-Moment Awareness

Mindfulness in Time Management: Cultivating Present-Moment Awareness Have you found yourself juggling tasks, overwhelmed by deadlines, and feeling like there’s never enough time in a day?  This instructional article will delve into the fascinating realm of mindfulness in time management. Mindfulness in time management enhances

Read More »