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Christmas gift anxiety: this is why you should ask questions when deciding what to buy people for Christmas

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Aiden Wynn
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Overcome your Christmas gift-giving anxiety with this one simple tip. Plus, helpful questions to get you started. 

The first advent calendar doors have been eagerly ripped open, and people are already starting to make their way through their lists of favourite holiday films. In other words, Christmas is well and truly getting underway.

But, with all the good of Christmas comes the inevitable stresses, like the loss of motivation to exercise, the Christmas party anxiety, and, of course, the worries around what presents to buy for your nearest and dearest.

Buying someone a present at Christmastime is a great way to show them that you really know and appreciate them. But, unfortunately, with gift-giving season seeming to come around so quickly every year, it can be pretty tricky to decide exactly what to get for everyone all at once. 

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This can be particularly stressful if someone in your life is difficult to buy for, or if it just doesn’t seem as though there’s anything your loved one really needs. And, according to Psychology Today, this sort of stress can cause you to overthink your options and actually hinder your gift-giving, leading you to “overlook simple and beloved gift choices.”

So, what’s the best way to ensure that you buy the best present possible for a person you know and love? Well, the answer is actually pretty obvious: you should ask them. 

As Dr Alison Jane Martingano from Psychology Today explains, “choosing the best gift for another person may require gaining new information rather than utilising existing knowledge that you already have.” 

Of course, since most people want their presents to be a surprise, it may sound counterintuitive to straight-up ask someone what it is they want on the big day. But there are ways of going about it so that you don’t ask for too many specifics or give too much away.  

Christmas presents
What’s the best way to ensure that you buy the best present possible for a person you know and love? You should ask them.

If you’re feeling apprehensive, just remember that people’s tastes change all the time, as do trends, so you never know what someone might have their eye on or whether their preferences for colours or styles may have evolved since last year.

And, if you’re worried you’ll feel bad about having to ask what your friends, family or partner would like, try and remember that you are doing so because you want to get them something they will genuinely appreciate and get plenty of use out of. You’re much less likely to achieve that if you’re faced with a long list of people to buy for and few ideas for what to actually buy. 

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Don’t worry if you’re unsure about how to put this technique into action, too, because these simple tips will help you to ask the questions you need to pick the perfect presents: 

  • If you’re completely stumped for an idea for someone, asking whether they need anything for work or for home, or finding out if they prefer things that are practical over things that are fun will give you a good place to start.
  • If you’ve narrowed down a few options, try asking questions that will help you make a final decision, such as what the recipient’s favourite colours are or what genres they like.
  • If you aren’t too bothered about your gift being a surprise for someone, you can always ask them which option they would prefer, too.
  • Remember you can always ask to make sure someone doesn’t already have the item you’re planning on getting them.
  • Don’t rule out experiences, and try to gauge whether a day out or a weekend away would be better appreciated than a material gift. 

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Aiden Wynn

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