With Christmas just around the corner, most of us will already be thinking about what to get our friends and family for Christmas.
Inspired by the annual family ritual of my dad asking me, “what does your mother want for Christmas?” - I’ve put together my top tips for choosing a gift that will delight and surprise your loved one.
Although this is written primarily with jewellery in mind, many of these tips can be applied to choosing a variety of gifts.
These might be obvious, such as “if you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas, you can get this!” Or they might be a bit more subtle, for example, your recipient might spend a long time looking at an item of jewellery whilst you’re out shopping, or even try it on – pay careful attention to their expression when they put it back: if it’s one of longing, go for it, but avoid the wrinkling of the nose or a slight shake of the head at all cost!
Try to spot common themes: your recipient might only wear silver jewellery, or they might always opt for minimalist pieces. Alternatively, they might have a distinct style such as “vintage”, “goth” or “simple elegance” – a combination of Google, Pinterest and Tip #9 will help here. Try not to deviate too far from your loved one’s preferred look; of course, you want to get them something different that they don’t already have, but too different, and they probably won’t wear it.
Related to Tip #2, does your recipient wear the same dress, scarf, shirt, hat etc. often? If so, you could look for a piece of jewellery that would go well with that item. Try to match colours (but not the main one), shapes or patterns. If your loved one’s favourite item is quite busy, opt for something that’s not too fussy, and vice versa, consider picking something with more detail if the favourite item is quite plain (don’t forget Tip #2 though!)
For rings or bracelets such as bangles, try to borrow one that they already wear, take it to a jeweller and ask them to measure it. If you are choosing a ring for a specific finger, remember to borrow a ring that fits that finger. Also see Tip #9.
Jewellery with a theme can be a nice way to show that you listen to your loved one and care about their interests. Are they mad about cats, or perhaps a keen climber? Cat or climbing rope themed jewellery could be the answer! This is especially useful if your recipient has recently taken up a new hobby, as they are unlikely to already have a collection of e.g. horse themed items.
Try to put yourself in your loved one’s shoes, and think about their lifestyle and routines. This might help you to understand why your recipient wears (or doesn’t wear) the same type of jewellery. A mum with young children, for example, might only wear rings and stud earrings because necklaces and long dangly earrings tend to get grabbed by little hands.
A handmade item is almost guaranteed to be unique, different and special by its very nature. Even if you haven’t got the style/colour/theme quite right, your loved one is likely to overlook this if you are supporting a local
Taking it one step further from buying handmade, personalised jewellery gifts are all the rage at the moment, and perfect for a loved one who has a new person (or people) in their lives – think new mum receiving a bangle with her baby’s name or handprint engraved on it, or perhaps birthstone jewellery. Just tread very carefully with memorial jewellery.
You are allowed to ask family, friends or anyone your recipient is close to for their opinion on what your loved one might like – perhaps have a shortlist first as this will help you to narrow down your ideas! Alternatively, you could ask for help with pinpointing your loved one’s style, or borrowing an item to check sizing (if you don’t live with your recipient, a friend or family member who does might be better placed to borrow something without your loved one noticing!) If you are buying a very special and/or expensive item, asking for help is highly recommended, and it definitely isn’t considered cheating!
However daunting gift buying is, the purpose of it is to demonstrate to your loved one just how much they mean to you. All the suggestions here are based on showing that you listen, care and pay attention to your loved one, but if you are still stuck for ideas, then follow your heart – sometimes the perfect piece just calls out to you.
Kate is a jewellery designer and proud owner of 'Prosecco & Rubies', working on her handmade items in her home studio. Kate has a beautiful range of jewellery, featuring gemstone beads and stones - with every single piece telling its own story.