There’s Always That One Person Who’s Hard to Buy For.

There’s Always That One Person Who’s Hard to Buy For.

December 7, 2018 0 By Nancy Oehlert

It’s the holiday season and for most people that includes the giving and receiving of gifts. Why is it that some people are so much harder to buy for than others? All you have to do is mention this difficulty to a group of friends, and each one will jump in with a name of someone on their list who is also a challenge.

Photo: Marco Verch

Why do some people present such a challenge?

Maybe it’s their age or ‘time of life’? Perhaps they are well-off financially and buy whatever they want for themselves? Or maybe, just maybe, they really can’t think of anything they want?

Whatever the reason, these folks present a challenge. You want to give them something they’ll enjoy. You want to see their face ‘light up’ when they open your gift. Right?

What if you were to give them something that can’t be wrapped?

No, I don’t mean a house or a car. Research shows that when asked, many people’s favorite gift wasn’t something that could be wrapped. Instead, it was an ‘experience’. They got to go somewhere special or do something they’d never done before – and they loved it!

What have you been able to do that you remember really well?

Think about some of your favorite experiences, the things you’ve done and places you’ve gone. If it was memorable for you, it probably would be for your ‘challenge’ person as well. These special times, were you with someone you love or alone?  If you were on your own and enjoyed it, you probably thought of the person who made it possible the entire time. If you were with someone, I’m willing to bet that the experience strengthened your connection with that person.

This is especially true of children.

It’s a treat when the busy people in your life make time for you. Spending time together says, “You’re important to me. I like being with you.” The impressions built by a shared experience can be powerful, even life-changing. The memories made during the experience will last far longer than anything you could purchase at a store and wrap up. Who knows? It might turn out to be a treasured memory they will carry with them for the rest of their life.

Added bonus!

The fun you have while planning and looking forward to a ‘gift experience’ is an added bonus. For example, if I were to give my young niece  the gift of a ‘cookie-baking party for you and three of your friends’, half the fun of it would be deciding who to invite, when to have it, what to wear, should we make matching aprons from old t-shirts, and which cookies should we bake?

If you need a few ideas to get started:

For an ‘inside’ person

consider gifts like movie passes, a Netflix membership, an introductory lesson in art, photography, cake decorating, flower arranging, music, etc.

For the outdoorsy type

What about a coupon for a picnic at the beach, lake, or park? My cousin Angie tells me that the guys on your list would probably enjoy a hunting trip or a treasure hunt. Give them an afternoon at Bass Pro shop, Top Golf, a round of laser tag, or an escape adventure.

For the littles:

A favorite memory of my grandmother is when she took me downtown on a city bus (that was a new experience for me!). We ate at a lunch counter. I had a chocolate milkshake all to myself! Then we shopped for material which she sewed into summer play clothes for me. It’s been nearly 50 years and I STILL remember that day.

Create a coupon book with pages for a game of Chutes & Ladders or Candyland; an extra story at bedtime; 20 minutes of ‘playtime’ with you. My girls enjoyed playing ‘pet store’ and ‘little house on the prairie’.  Note: go with the flow here. Pretending and playing is good for everyone’s brain…even adults!

If you can afford a bit more

Consider passes to the zoo or an amusement park, lunch for two at a favorite restaurant (dessert included!),  tickets to ride a train, bus, helicopter, or a snowmobile…something that’s new to them.

For the more mature guys and gals on your list

What about a pair of concert tickets, a flying lesson, ski trip, or sledding party? Who wouldn’t love the gift of someone cleaning your house while you go and enjoy lunch with friends?  Send them horseback riding or give them a trip in a hot-air balloon.

For older loved ones

Chances are they don’t need any more ‘things’. But they would probably enjoy a trip to the barber or beauty shop.

Include a manicure! Take them to lunch. Bring along one of their friends if they want. Again, the gift of your time will mean more than anything. So give it.

This list is just to get your gears moving in a new direction.  Ask your family and friends what they’d like to do and where they’d like to go. If you’re like me and can’t afford to take them to London, take them to an English pub, instead. You probably can’t afford to buy them a house on the lake, but you could take a weekend and rent a cabin. Be creative.

Imagine the smiles in store this holiday season as you give the gifts of ‘experience’ and time with loved ones. Have a camera ready to capture the fun. Picture a new, satisfying trend in your gift-giving.

Merry Christmas from Texas, y’all!



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