Shopping for the holidays is tough. As another self-centered person in industrial society, it’s hard for me to stop everything and think about what someone else would like—especially family members I don’t see very often.
I don’t think it helps that my “love language” tends to be quality time, rather than gifts. One could argue that I just shouldn’t buy gifts, but that’s another discussion. Besides, if other people like to get gifts, why should I decide they shouldn’t get them?
I have a trick that helps me think of gifts. It may be too late for this year, but it might help you next year.
The trick is: I keep a note in my Evernote called “Gifts.” Every time I talk to or hear about a family member, if there’s any gift-related things from the discussion, I add to my Gifts note.
Maybe my mom has started playing Mah Jong with friends. Maybe my dad complains about not having socks short enough to wear with his moccasins. Whatever the case, if it comes up, I’ll write it down.
When it comes time to buy a gift—if a holiday or birthday is approaching—I just review my Gifts note.
Sometimes the notes aren’t just vague things like “mom plays Mah Jong.” Sometimes I see something and think someone would like it as a gift, but I want to save the idea for later. I’ll put it in the Gifts note.
Try keeping a Gifts note, however it is you capture notes. It definitely makes gift ideas easier to come by. A nice side-effect is it may make you a better listener, and gets you to pay closer attention to the people you love.