We’re now entering a major present-buying period for many people, but of course we buy presents for all kinds of people for many different reasons. This list may provide some helpful suggestions, whatever the occasion and whoever you’re buying for.
A is for artwork or anything which will adorn the recipient’s living space. Make sure you buy according to their taste, not your own! Think about what they’ve already got and buy something along the same lines but not too similar.
B is for basket, box or other attractive container that you can fill with a selection of small things. Choose a theme such as food, gardening, toiletries, stationery or a hobby of the recipient. Wrap well to make it look appealing.
C is for clothes. This could be a tricky one if you don’t do your homework on size and preferences on colour and style. Don’t forget the gift receipt in case you get it wrong!
D is for DVDs which need not be the latest releases. Many older films or boxed TV series can make really welcome gifts – and they’re often available at reasonable prices.
E is for experience vouchers which are readily available from department stores, card shops and online. These have proved popular in recent years and now cover a huge range of activities including sports events, meals, weekends away, adventurous activities, concerts and classes. It should be easy to find something a bit unusual that will please.
F is for flowers or fruit – something that grows. This could be a bouquet or pot plant, or it may be plants for the garden. Even if the recipient is not the keenest of gardeners, an unusual shrub or fruit bush for the garden can be a thoughtful and long-lasting gift.
G is for games of all kinds. There is a vast range of great board games for all age groups, which shouldn’t be forgotten in the overwhelming pressure to focus solely on commuter games! Board games are a great way to relax and socialise.
H is for hampers of all different sizes and with a range of contents to suit every taste and budget. Many are beautifully presented and the concept of a hamper always carries a hint of luxury about it. Find.ideas online.
I is for iPad or other electronic gadgetry. Many of these items, of course, are not cheap, although they can be. If you’re not an electronic boffin yourself, seek the advice of someone who is to ensure that you’re buying appropriate equipment for a good price.
J is for Jewellery – which doesn’t have to be the most precious gold or silver. Look around clothes stores to see what accessories are in at the moment and choose something lively that will complement a range of outfits.
K is for knitting or something else to make. Even if the recipient isn’t a known fan of crafting, many people will enjoy trying out a new skill such as candle-making, glass painting, marquetry or soap-making if the materials and instructions are presented in an accessible form such as a beginner’s kit.
L is for lotions or pamper potions – suitable for both sexes these days, whether for facials, relaxing baths or massage oils. An appointment in a beauty salon or health spa is another option.
M is for music, whether it’s CDs or a voucher for digital music. Consider: what’s new and popular; greatest hits; themed collections; music from a show; various genres; different moods or occasions. There’s music to please everyone. Or how about a musical instrument or sheet music for someone who already plays?
N is for needy organisations or charities which provide many inspiring options for the person who already has everything they want. For instance, your friend’s gift could be to buy a family a goat, sponsor a child through school, teach a teacher or plant an allotment.
O is for outing. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Sometimes the gift of your time doing something as simple as going for a walk (maybe taking a picnic) can be truly appreciated. Having a surprise day out completely planned for you is a real treat – and there are so many places you can visit.
P is for personalised items. These days there are a vast range of these readily available from catalogues or online as well as in photo shops. Examples include monogrammed dressing gowns, named coloured pencils, mugs, aprons, doormats, cushion covers, teeshirts and stories with your child’s name in.
Q is for quirky. Brainstorm outside the box. Focus on nthe person you’re buying before and imagine his or her ideal day – how could you contribute? When all inspiration fails, google “quirky gifts”.
R is for reading material. Bookshops are the easiest inspiration of all because you’ll find something there for everyone. Read reviews and think, “Who would enjoy that?” then make a note of your thoughts.
S is for sport– so many different sports enjoyed by so many people both as participants and spectators. Gifts could include sportswear, sports equipment, training sessions or tickets for a sporting event.
T is for theatre or concert. You may know exactly what the recipient would like, but maybe you could also risk something a bit different. Would the fan of stage musicals enjoy an opera? Would the fan of sixties music enjoy a play set in that era?
U is for umbrellas, which come in all shapes, sizes and colours. You can never have enough umbrellas: full-sized, retractable, for home, for work, for one person, for a couple…
V is for voucher. This used to be the last resort of obscure aunts and always meant W.H.Smith. More recently, Marks and Sparks has always been a safe bet. But there are many other high street shops, not to mention excellent local businesses which all sell vouchers. Or try restaurants or hotels.
W is for work stuff. Equipment for work sounds like a very dull present but, thinking strictly practically, people sometimes need this kind of thing and if it’s useful it may be truly appreciated. Check first though that they wouldn’t really prefer something more personal!
X is for xylophone – a great present for a toddler. It’s also a reminder that toys can be marvellous presents for adults, too. Everyone needs something to bring out their inner child. They may not choose to buy it themselves so they need you to buy it for them!
Y is for yoghurt maker or other electrical items. There are so many these days which perform a huge range of tasks – sometimes practical and sometimes strictly for fun. Do your research and find something the recipients wouldn’t buy for themselves but which they’ll enjoy using from time to time.
Z is for zester or other kitchen gadgets. A stroll round the kitchenware section of any department store will quickly reveal what a vast range of items here are. Even when people already have these items, the modern updates are often much more attractive and user-friendly.