How to pick gifts they’ll love

As one of the “gift gurus” at, Dana Schultze picks out presents all year round. Here she shows us how to master the art of gift-giving.

» Start with a list
“The first thing you should always do is make a list,” says Schultze. “Plan ahead by jotting down your budget for the total and also what you want to spend for each person.”

» Find your giving style
“Once you know this, you can narrow down the sections of the store you’re going to shop at. It’s really helpful so you’re not completely bewildered when you show up at the mall,” says Schultze.  

But it’s not all about what you want. “By identifying how you like to shop lets you have some expression in what you’re buying, but you should always consider the other person, too,” she says.  “You want to think about their personality, what they do on the weekends, what they do for work, are they a family person, what their hobbies are. Those are all questions you want to ask. And even if you can answer only one of those, it will give you a really great starting point.”

» Use your lifeline
“If you’re stumped on what to get, or you have some ideas but you can’t decide between them, use your lifeline,” says Schultze. “Call their best friend, call their husband, call their mom.”

What type of gift-giver are you? Schultze breaks it down

Practical: “You always gravitate to something you know the receiver will use.”
Gift suggestion: “Covered baking pans. They’re great for potlucks and sharing, which is kind of the trend right now. People aren’t going out to eat as much. It’s a practical gift, but still cool.”

Novelty:  “You find the unique, funny little things like caffeinated marshmallows or a stacking tea set — something unique and memorable.”
Gift suggestion: “Popstaches. They’re these plastic mustaches that clip on your beer or soda bottle, and when you drink from the bottle, it looks like you have a mustache.”

Sentimental: “You give something to hold on to your memories or remember your friendship or relationship.”
Gift suggestion: “A memory voice recorder. You use it with a scrapbook or photo album, and then  record a story that goes along with each picture. It’s great for grandparents.”

Crafty: “If you could, you would make everything yourself. But since you can’t, you buy handmade gifts instead. And now with Etsy, you can get your homespun gifts without getting your hands dirty.”
Gift suggestion: “A picture frame made out of recycled saris from India.”

Trendy: “You have your finger on the pulse and want your gift to make the recipient feel hip. You buy a statement necklace, an iPod nano or jeggings.”
Gift suggestion: “This year it’s all about Sing-a-ma-jigs.”


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