With Christmas right around the corner, now’s the perfect time to upgrade your gift giving game. And if you’re in dire need of a little inspiration, you’re in luck. From tips on what to do and the ins and outs on what to avoid when it comes to shopping for presents, here’s our quick 101 designed to help you score big points in the gift giving department.


DO: Keep Track of What Your Loved Ones Need / Want


When wanting to make sure that your gift will be appreciated, there’s a simple trick to apply: listen! Listening to your friends and family’s wishes throughout the year in regards to what they might want (not just for Christmas, but for birthdays or anniversaries) is a sure way to get you on the right track. Pay attention to messages like ‘My hair curler just broke’ or ‘I wish I could afford a nice black pearl bracelet’ throughout the year and you’ll surely get all your answers.


DON’T: Leave It to the Last Minute


They say that it’s only slim pickings left on the shelves in the week before Christmas – and while you might be inclined to think that that’s just a marketing strategy to get you shopping quickly, it sadly isn’t. Fact is, from toys to make-up products, you’re left choosing from the rejects if you’re a procrastinator. Tip number 2: Get a head start on your Christmas shopping, starting with Black Friday.


DO: Pay Attention to the Return Policy


This one’s a must when you are buying gifts: making sure you get a receipt, accompanied by the info on the store’s return policy. Fact is, many Christmas presents end up at the back of a drawer, never to be seen again. If you want to make sure that your gift is thoughtful, simply guarantee the receiver that they can exchange it if needed.


DON’T: Buy Impersonal Gifts


Gift baskets, pre-written cards, gift cards and the likes make good gifts for people you don’t really know, but when it comes to your friends and family, your gifts should be a little more personal. Customizing gifts is always a plus, but if you’re not able to do that, simply refraining from shopping for cliché gifts will do.


Do: Go the Extra Mile


It’s the gesture that counts, they say – and they are right. When it comes to Christmas presents, that extra gesture can be a chic wrapping paper, a dainty little bow that completes a thoughtful package or that card you took time to select and write.


DON’T: Re-Gift


When it comes to Christmas gifts, there’s an obvious etiquette attached to the practice. And while opinions may differ, most agree that re-gifting is not recommended. If you are stuck with a gift you don’t need or like and wondering what to do, it’s simple: give it to a friend ‘just because’ or, if the return policy allows it, return it right away.


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