A Christmas gift giving guide - making the most out of your holiday shopping

Dec 11, 2023, 20:58 PM

White gift boxes with royal. blue bows over dark wood background with words


Bells are jingling, reindeer are training, and holiday decorating has begun. Year after year, it can be a challenge to give great gifts to your loved ones and friends. The stress of holiday shopping can consume you as you struggle to find a parking spot at the mall and stay on budget with your gift buying.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The act of Christmas gift giving can be more enjoyable and less stressful with a little bit of planning. Here are some considerations to make the most out of your gift buying this holiday shopping season.

Make mental notes year-round

Two young women friends smiling and laughing together over coffee sitting in coffee shop at wooden table in window


Many of us don’t get into holiday shopping mode until after Halloween, but with a little extra attention paid year-round, you can shop early, and give great gifts, that awe and delight the recipient. Maybe you’re having dinner with a friend, and they mention their new favorite TV show, or movie, in May; and it just so happens that there’s a book or a special addition box set getting released in September. The best part? They won’t even remember telling you about this – and you’ll wow them with a great surprise.

Think outside the {big} box {stores}

Two young women looking at custom artisan jewelry in small women-owned shop


It can be easy, and tempting, to knock out all your holiday shopping in one day at your local Walmart, but that limits you on what Christmas gifts you can give, and it all seems very generic and impersonal. Shop local, support small! Not only do you get to feel good about doing some gift buying with a local business, but the things you can buy from them are often more unique and more personal, than your run-of-the-mill holiday pajamas from the big box stores.

Don’t be afraid to ask

Man with black hair from back wearing striped dress shirt and hands on hips, looking at concrete wall with white chalk question marks


Half the stress is your holiday shopping experience, but the other half is trying to figure out that perfect Christmas gift for that special someone you are gift buying for. If you have no idea what to get, and have tried asking a mutual friend for advice, go straight to the source and ask them. If they don’t know, you’ll likely at least get inspiration or find out what someone really needs. Along the same lines as this is to listen, when they tell you what they want, or need. Asking for ideas, and then ignoring them is a good way to potentially disappoint your Christmas gift recipient. Along similar lines, it’s important to avoid self-improvement gifts, unless you were specifically asked for them. You might think it’s a nice thought, but it’s hard to predict how the recipient of the Christmas gift will take it. It could hurt someone’s feelings or cause added feelings of unrest or anxiety.

Partake in group gift buying for larger ticket items

Red high end gift box with bow sitting on top of Piano

We all have that friend who really needs a new bed frame, or really wants a Gibson Les Paul acoustic-electric guitar. You don’t have to be a hero and front the cost of a large, and pricey Christmas gift like that, all by yourself. Suggest group gift giving for larger ticket items, so you can ensure the recipient gets what they truly want, without anyone having to break the bank during the holiday shopping season.


Gift something personalized

Hands painting custom Christmas Ornaments


Whether you made it yourself or purchased from a local creator, unique, one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts are thoughtful, personal, and usually very appreciated by the recipient.


Attend a holiday market or gift buying show


Outdoor Christmas Market


It doesn’t matter if you’re at the research phase of your holiday shopping or you are ready to swipe your card, list in hand. A Christmas gift or holiday show is a great place to find unique artisan creations, or check multiple people off your list, all at one booth. It’s better than a mall, because it brings together many different local businesses and some larger brands and puts them all in one place, giving you access to a one stop gift buying shop.

And if you’ve missed all of our Holiday Shows, remember you can shop the shows online now! holidayboutiqueshop.com gives you access to one store – and all the shows! Find unique items and support local vendors from across the US.

Examine the relationship

Close up of hands handing small red gift box to other hand


Gift based on your relationship. Are you best friends, or just in the same friend group? Are you gifting for someone at the office, or a teacher at your kid’s school? Some items like clothing, perfume, etc. are too personal for workplace friends or those you are not extremely close to.

It's not about you

women in white shirt wearing Christmas antlers receiving white gift box


When you do your holiday shopping, it’s important to remember that it’s not about how you look when you gift an item or how much you spent, or the perception that your gift given is a social statement. Don’t feel pressured to buy extravagant Christmas gifts. On the flipside, think like a receiver. How would you feel if you received something too excessive? Your gift buying doesn’t have to cause embarrassment for either party. Also, when putting yourself in the shoes of the gift giving recipient, think: do you really need another pair of holiday socks? They probably don’t either.


Don’t overspend

Lady yelling looking at her two large red and gold gift bags


When you are gift giving this holiday season, you should typically spend an amount that you are comfortable with, not worrying about matching what another person is spending. Though it’s easy to feel pressured to price match a Christmas gift you receive, it can be difficult to assess value, because you can’t put a price tag on effort and personalization. The thought that goes with the gift means a lot more to the gift recipient. And remember to spend more on gifts for other than gifts for yourself. Science.org did a study on how spending money on others promotes personal happiness, finding that “participants who were randomly assigned to spend money on others experienced greater happiness than those assigned to spend money on themselves.”

Consider consumable gifts

Man holding giftable bottle of red wine with a red bow

It’s great to be eco-conscious when you are holiday shopping, and not to give gifts that might end up in landfill but try gifting ones can be used up entirely. An empty box can be recycled, an empty bottle of wine can be taken back to the store. If you don’t know them or their living situation well, don’t expect them to keep something indefinitely – something that will eventually be finished is the way to go.

Be culturally aware

Person gift wrapping several large boxes on table.


Not everyone celebrates the same holidays as you do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include them in your gift giving. Always put Christmas gifts in wrapping paper or a gift bag, but also be aware that in other non-North American cultures, it’s not common to immediately unwrap your gift in front of others – rather, it’s taken home and done in privacy.

When in doubt, go for simplicity

Business clothes wearing hand passing red gift card to other business clothes wearing hand

If you can’t find that perfect Christmas gift, money and gift cards are a safe way to go. Sometimes, despite their best efforts to give you inspiration to shop for them, people just don’t know what they want at the present time, so giving them a gift card allows them more time to thoughtfully consider and to also purchase it on their own timeline. You can add a small personal touch to your gift card, such as custom ornaments, small handmade artisan holiday cards, or baked goods, to name a few.

A few small, thoughtful considerations can remove a lot of the stress from your holiday shopping experience. Remember that you can tick multiple people off your gift giving list by attending one of our Holiday shows, while enjoying an unforgettable, fun, and festive experience with your friends or family or shopping online at holidayboutiqueshop.com from the comforts of home.

From large vendors selling entertaining gag gifts, to small local artisan crafters, you can find something for everyone on your Christmas gift buying list. Marketplace Events produces market-leading face-to-face shows in over 34 markets across North America, including more than 10 holiday shows.