If shopping and spending money were Olympic sports I'd be a good bet for a medal. From online to out-of-town, boutique to high street and bargains to budget blowing; I love them all.
And it doesn't matter what I'm shopping for, it could be a(nother) new pair of trainers, a phone, books, pens and pencils, kitchen gadgets, a blue wooden elephant, the experience is still the same.
And it doesn't even have to be for me. Shopping for other people is just as much fun, sometimes more as I get to browse for things I wouldn't usually be looking for.
I know a lot of people are daunted by shopping for gifts for other people, especially for Christmas when there is the expectation to match or exceed the gifts you receive.
But I can honestly say that a gift that demonstrates you've really thought about the person is always appreciated more than a random expensive gift; unless of course that random expensive gift is something like a Cartier diamond ring or an Aston Martin ;)
And I can say this with some authority as there have quite a few years when times have been tight and I've had to be creative with my gift-giving. Obviously, this is easier if you're naturally creative, but even if you can't paint a picture or knit a jumper you can still give interesting and personal gifts. My favourite annual Christmas present is the big chunky scarf my mum always knits for me. It's personal, thoughtful and unique. I know as well that some of the most treasured gifts I've given my family and friends have been some of the least expensive, but the most meaningful.
So, how do you go about picking the perfect present?
The answer to is to be the BOSS.
Budget. Original. Strategy. Spy.
Step One - Budget
Even if you have £1 million to spend it is still really helpful to set a budget. Where would you even start with an unlimited budget, it just gives you too many options. Setting a budget immediately defines the scope of your search. If you have around £50 to spend then that automatically sets the parameters of your search, and this is especially useful when shopping online as you can set the budget to narrow the field. It's really important with the budget to stick to it. Don't be tempted to just go over it 'a little bit' as you'll then be tempted to do this with everyone. Know your limit and only looking at gifts within it.
Step Two - be Original
Yeah, so this just happens to be the tagline for New GarD, but it's worth taking note of.
Part of the problem with trying to buy a gift online or from the high street is the overwhelming amount of choice. Narrow down the options available and I promise it will be easier to find a more meaningful gift.
Steer clear of the high street and shopping centres and seek out some local markets or neighbourhood boutiques. Glasgow alone is chock full of brilliant markets where you can pick up original and unique gifts direct from the designers and makers. Even if it's just a little thing, like a pair of socks or a candle. Sure you could get them for £3 in a budget high street store, or for a little bit more you could get something a bit better. An original design, handmade, exclusive, and with the feel-good factor that comes from supporting local, independent businesses.
Step Three - have a Strategy
This one is crucial. Make a plan in advance of Who you are buying for, How much you can spend, Where and When you are going to shop. Aimless browsing is your nemesis when it comes to buying gifts and will only result in panicked, uninspired (and probably too expensive) presents.
Step Four - Spy
So you've set your budget, sourced some local suppliers and set down your plan... and you still don't know what to buy Auntie Dot. Trust me I've been there. The better you know someone the easier it is to buy for them, and thanks to social media it's easier than ever to get to know your target!
You know she loves Louboutin's, but you also know you're not buying a pair unless you win the lottery, so do the next nest thing and get her a cute little purse covered with her favourite shoes.
Your boyfriend is a chef, he has every cookbook and kitchen gadget he could ever need, but does he have a pair of pants covered in knives?
So there you have it, my 4-step, super simple guide to becoming the giver of the most glorious gifts.
#beOriginal - be the BOSS