Going to parties is nice; it gives us the chance to unwind while spending a few enjoyable hours in the company of people we like. However, there is a dark side to them, and we all know it: quite often parties are given with some special occasion, and in that case, someone is traditionally entitled to receiving gifts. If you follow a few simple suggestions, the task of finding the right present will become much less daunting.

The House Will Give You Clues

What do you do when you have to give a gift to a person whom you don't know much about? How do you find out what he or she likes and doesn't like? Take your cue from the recipient's house. His or her house will give you a clue about the recipient's taste. You can actually gather a lot of information about a person just by looking at his or her house and the way he or she organizes things.

A few days before the occasion, drop by the recipient's house for a chat. Carefully observe the details of the recipient's house. Does he or she have a big garden? The recipient would probably love a garden tools or plants that he or she can plant. Also look at how the recipient decorated his or her house as this will give you a clue as to the things that he or she likes. For instance, if you see a lot of scented candles around, you assume that he or she loves those things. Look at what's in the recipient's bookshelf. You can also judge his or her taste in music and movies if the recipient has a CD and DVD collections.

If stopping by the recipient's house isn't feasible, you can ask a few people who know the recipient personally. A family member, best friend or relative are good starting points. Ask them about the type of things that the recipient like or would enjoy having. Sometimes, simply knowing what the recipient's favorite color is enough to give you starting point.

If you often see the recipient, observe the style and type of clothes he or she wears. Make not of everything you have observed and then decide later on about the gift. Remember that every little detail you find out about the recipient will bring you closer to picking out the most appropriate gift for him or her.

The Sunny Side of the Shopping Street

Choosing the right gift is universally recognized as a difficult task. Many people give up and simply buy whatever they can find, arguing that "it's the thought that counts". That may be true, but we can't say there's much thought behind hastily grabbing the first thing that falls into the category of acceptable gifts, can we? All in all, the concept of buying a present will probably trigger the idea of stress in most of our minds.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a closer look at what causes this mental strain and whether we can do anything to avoid it. One of the obvious causes is our natural tendency to do things at the last minute. If we could start our gift shopping long enough in advance, we might discover that buying gifts can be something quite pleasurable, and we would increase our chances of finding something the recipient will truly be glad to have.

A very simple way to do that is to have a good look around us when we do our regular shopping. Even if there’s no birthday party or any similar occasion in the near future, we can find things that our friends would enjoy. When the time comes, the gift will have been chosen and bought already, and we won't have to be stressed about not having enough time to look for one.

Remember: choose gifts when you're in a sunny mood, or you’ll end up getting something gloomy too.

Too Many Gifts? Make a List

Buying gifts is every shopper's nightmare, especially when there are a lot of gifts to buy. It's challenging enough to find a good present for one person, but when you have to find something for several people, things can really get complicated.

Remember your old Christmas wish lists? This clever invention meant to assist parents in choosing the right Christmas presents for their children can also be of great help to you, when you have to buy a gift. Only this time, since you’re not a child anymore, you’ll have to draw up the list yourself.

How does it work? It’s easy. Assuming you know the gift recipients pretty well, you should be able to come up with a list of things they would like to get. Think of past conversations you had with them, visualize details of their homes and try to figure out what could complement their room design, or review their hobbies and identify a few things they could use. If you have around three choices for each person in your list, you won't have to worry about any item being unavailable.

One thing, though: make sure you don’t come up with the same gift for two people, especially if they know each other and they might compare gifts sometime. If you are sure there’s no way they could ever discover your inclination towards gift symmetry, you can try it as a last resort.

Keeping old lists can be handy as well. On the one hand, you don’t risk buying people the same thing you gave them a few years before; on the other hand, reviewing the lists may help you get new ideas as to what new presents to look for.

Now you know how you can improve your gift-shopping skills. Remember, it’s all about planning.

Author's Bio: 

This article was compiled by the editors at SelfGrowth.com, the number one self improvement resource on the Web. For more quality self improvement content, please visit http://www.selfgrowth.com.