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If you have trouble buying the right Christmas gift for others, you might be thinking about it all wrong.

It’s Christmas morning, 1993. I wake excited, as always, awaiting the many joys of the day. Yet when the first gift of the day arrives. I pause. I pause to enjoy this feeling. I pause to enjoy this feeling with anticipation wondering if it is about to amplify or disappear altogether. Sound familiar?¬†Are you looking to tick off a box on your to-do list? Or do you prefer to gain self-satisfaction from the joy you can bring another?

It’s the thought, that counts!

This phrase seemed to always pop up around birthdays and Christmas throughout my youth. I agree with it. I do. But if the thought was simply “I thought you would like it” then I don’t believe it counts. A thoughtful gift requires, well, a little more thinking than that.

Where we go wrong – The thoughtless gift.

The toughtless gift usually falls into one of the following categories:

  • Not something they want.
  • Not quite what they actually want.
  • Something they need, for something that doesn’t bring them joy.

So what brings them joy?

Is it clothes that make them feel good?
Item for a hobby or sport that makes them feel good?
A sentimental item that will make them feel good?
An experience that… you get the point.

For those still in the dark, the trick is finding what is special to a person. Remember, while you enjoy a relaxing massage, that doesn’t mean everyone would. Sure, I know they are weird but that’s life. Stripping down to your under garments and having a stranger touch you might just not be everyone’s idea of fun.

Here is where it gets complex…

Think of it like this. Have you ever tried to pay for bread in Australia with a Thai Baht? I doubt it. For one, the local business owner is not at all interested in foreign currency. Even if the exchange rate is in their favour, exchanging money is work. We know this, so we don’t even try. So Here is the gamechanger. Ready?

Everyone has their own personal currency. Yup. Products or services they value in place of cold hard cash.

On a small scale, this could be something simple like a coffee. On a larger scale, this would include loved ones and personal interests. What do they get excited by? What can’t they stop thinking about. What relaxes their mind? What makes them feel good?

Do Your Homework- Find their currency.

If you want to go full stealth mode, you will need to engage in these types of conversations all year round to avoid setting off spoiler alerts. I know I called this homework, I lied. It’s not work. This is engaging with someone you love, about something that is important to them. You may have heard of before, it’s called active listening.

You can get familiar with active listening here.

For gift purchases, the most important skills are:

  • Asking Questions
  • Clarification you have the right information.
  • Remembering it.

Don’t just wait for a subject to come up either. Ask random questions about things that don’t surface naturally. “When was the last time you….” is a great one. Get ready to discover likes and dislikes, along with reasons this activity/purchase has or has not occurred recently. This is the simplest method to take the guess work out of gift giving.

By practising these three simple skills throughout the year, you won’t have a problem when it comes time to buy a thoughtful and appreciated gift.