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The Art of Gifting

Finding the perfect gift can seem like a lot of pressure, especially if you need to purchase many gifts at one time. With the arrival of fall, we’re reminded of upcoming gatherings with friends and family, many of which involve gifting, at least in part. Whether you’re searching for a hostess gift as you prepare to travel or you’re getting a jump start on your holiday shopping, below you will find a list of helpful pointers that will put the art of giving in perspective and empower you to embrace the experience in a whole new way.

Gifting Basics

When selecting gifts for friends, family and other acquaintances, a few key suggestions can come in handy. Remember what is truly important, and don’t hesitate to choose practicality and thoughtfulness over bold style! Keep reading to see how these concepts play out…

RELATED: A Holiday Season Survival Guide for Design Lovers

1. Gift from the heart.

We often become focused on purchasing an impressive gift rather than taking some time to gift thoughtfully. For example, you might think that a consumable item is not as special as a showpiece such as a vase. Yet if you and your friend have had countless conversations about how she’s never tried ginger beer but has always been curious about the taste, the gift below could be absolutely perfect (and show that you’ve listened and you care):

Ginger beer from Terrain
Ginger beer from Terrain

Don’t be afraid to think out of the box when practicing meaningful gifting. While a silicone cup that covers a piece of cut produce may not seem like an obvious choice for a gift, it might be the perfect solution for a family member who has expressed repeated frustration about sliced applies turning brown. Uncommon Goods offers a Food Hugger Set that includes a range of cups to fit produce ranging from limes and apples to peppers and onions.

Fruit hugger from Uncommon Goods
Fruit hugger from Uncommon Goods

A gift from the heart can also be something that brightens one’s day. Wreaths, plants and seasonal treats can make a big impact, much like an unexpected bouquet of flowers. Plus, who doesn’t love celebrating nature’s bounty from time to time?!

Fall wreath from Terrain
Fall wreath from Terrain
Topiaries from Terrain
Topiaries from Terrain

2. Compact, useful items are often a safe bet.

If you’re looking forward to giving the gift of a special memento and you’re not an expert on your giftee’s taste and preferences, try keeping the treasure compact…and practical! These office ornaments from CB2 are interesting to look at, and they serve a purpose. Plus, they’re small enough to stash out of sight if for some reason the recipient doesn’t want to add one more thing to the shelf, desktop, etc.

Domed storage containers from CB2
Domed storage containers from CB2

You can also try filling an eye-catching container with a special treat, such as candy or colorful paperclips!

Globo Boxes from Jonathan Adler
Globo Boxes from Jonathan Adler

3. Only select bold gifts for those you know well.

When it comes to giving grand gifts and items that make a statement, try avoiding large pieces that the recipient will feel obligated to put on display. Not to mention, scented items (such as candles) should be reserved for those you know well. After all, fragrance preferences are hard to predict. If you’re confident in the giftee’s taste, items such as soap and candles may be worth the risk, especially if they’re not too perfume-y.

Candles from Anthropologie
Candles from Anthropologie

4. Consumables and kitchen/dining items are popular, well-loved gift options.

Hoping to gift a friend with a special item that is useful as well as lovely? Try something for the kitchen! If your giftee is a foodie (and you know his or her food preferences, allergies, etc.), there will be no complaints when it comes to unwrapping a consumable item. This Tea Drop Sampler from Uncommon Goods features a collection of dissolvable tea drops in a range of shapes, as well as an array of flavors (such as citrus ginger, rose earl grey, and matcha green tea):

Tea gift set from Uncommon Goods
Tea gift set from Uncommon Goods

There are many benefits to a gift such as a salt cellar: it has a practical function, you can use more than one of them (if your loved one already has a salt cellar, he can store a different type of salt in the new addition), and there is no obligation to keep it on display at all times.

RELATED: 10 Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Marble salt cellar from CB2
Marble salt cellar from CB2

The same thing goes for serving pieces. If you know your giftee’s taste, you can go with a bigger, bolder piece.

Serving pieces from CB2
Serving pieces from CB2
Marble and acacia wood serving board from Anthropologie
Marble and acacia wood serving board from Anthropologie

If you’re going for a gift such as glassware, it may not hurt to opt for something unique…that won’t take up a lot of counter space. This Set of 4 Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses from Uncommon Goods features drinkware carved from pink Himalayan salt. Compact, and likely not in your giftee’s collection of barware!

Tequila drinking glasses from Uncommon Goods
Tequila drinking glasses from Uncommon Goods

Foodies enjoy new cookbooks, and they say you can’t beat giving the gift of an experience. Cookbooks are filled with wonderful experiences waiting to be enjoyed:

Love and Lemons cookbook from Anthropologie
Love and Lemons cookbook from Anthropologie

How to Gift Affordably

If you’re on a budget or you’re preparing for a season where many gifts are needed, it never hurts to search for affordable ways to treat your friends and family. Budget-friendly gifting has never been easier. Below we showcase a few of our favorite ways to get the job done in style…

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1. Always be on the lookout for sales and deals.

The savvy gifter is always on the hunt for a great deal, even if it’s off-season. This way of thinking isn’t about spending money at all times. It’s about going ahead and getting something special (and affordable) when you’re lucky enough to find it. You can also buy gifts in multiples. These Mini Perforated Journals from Urban Outfitters are on sale for the bargain price of 2 for $10:

Set of mini journals from Urban Outfitters
Set of mini journals from Urban Outfitters

This Small Mod Planter is chic and modern, yet at the bargain-friendly price of $10, it’s the perfect receptacle for your greenery gift. Especially if your giftee appreciates contemporary style! Also available in gold:

Small metal planter from Urban Outfitters
Small metal planter from Urban Outfitters

Here are a few more amazing options from the budget-friendly Urban Outfitters, all in the $10-$20 range…

Small pyramid mirror from Urban Outfitters
Small pyramid mirror from Urban Outfitters
Rose face mist from Urban Outfitters
Rose face mist from Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters' speckled dip bowls
Urban Outfitters’ speckled dip bowls

2. Purchase budget-friendly handmade goods.

Online marketplaces such as Etsy offer unique and affordable finds. Plus, there’s something special about a handmade or vintage gift, even a budget-friendly one. When shopping on Etsy, you can search according to your price range, and you just might be surprised by the quality and quantity of handmade and vintage creations that can fit any budget. The mini succulent planter below is under $9!

Small handmade planter from Etsy shop Planter Collective
Small handmade planter from Etsy shop PlanterCollective

3. Pay attention to special offers, such as free shipping.

Online shopping can save valuable time and provide you with a range of options that you wouldn’t be able to find in person. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of free shipping! This might mean purchasing multiple items at once in order to maximize the deal. CB2 regularly offers free shipping for orders over $49, especially around the holidays. We have our eye on the brand’s iridescent Beta Pastry Server, which is unusual, useful and eye-catching.

Iridescent server from CB2
Iridescent server from CB2

Do you have any go-to sources for great gifts or helpful tips to share? Leave us a comment below…

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