Top Tips for How to Shop for Gifts

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How to gift this holiday season

Feat. expertise from Bridget Johns, CEO & Co-Founder: To&From

If you didn't have your list ready to shop over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you may be wishing you had a guide to advise you on just exactly how to shop for your people this year. We get it: The holidays are full with so much, sometimes the creativity of how to show the people you love them through a gift can escape you. What to give your best friend for Christmas, how to shop for your partner, what to give to your boss—the questions continue. Which is precisely why we synced up with Bridget Johns, who quite literally created an app to help you with all your gift-giving needs. Brilliant. Consider it our gift, to you.

What are your go-to resources for holiday gifts? 

To&From was started with the intent of wanting to solve all of your gifting needs, so naturally I think it is the best resource for holiday gifting. At our heart, we are a gifting experience company powered by data. What that means is we are building experiences based on data that make everything SO EASY. This means remembering the important occasions, selecting the best gifts based on what the recipient actually likes, and sending it joyfully - ideally with beautiful wrapping paper along with a handwritten note. Last year we launched with a couple of important experiences:

  1. Gifting quiz: To help you find the right gift based on what you know about the person you are buying for (or what they are willing to share if they are taking it themselves.
  2. Gifting HQ: To help you organize all of your gifting needs.
  3. Marketplace: Made up of wonderful mission-driven brands to give you a one-stop shopping experience for all of your gifting needs. This year we raised the bar even higher with an AI-assisted concierge service called Charlotte, which replaces our gifting HQ to deliver the same data-driven gifting, but with a human touch.
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What are your tips for gifting intentionally? How to give something that is special vs. giving something for the sake of giving a gift?

We love the notion of slow gifting - making sure that the gifts you give are with intent, even if you gift fewer of them. I always talk about throttling the experience - giving small, inexpensive, but incredibly thoughtful gifts from time to time and then wowing them with a more substantial gift at just the right time. It can actually be a little uncomfortable to always get over-the-top gifts from people in your life (parents and spouses excluded), but people love to know that you listen and care.

What are some tips for getting gifts for the people who seem to have everything?

When people seem to have everything, you really have to look and listen deeply.  For example, a beautiful flower arrangement or blooming bulb may sound trivial but can be the perfect gift if you send it a few days before an important event or holiday. Much like the notion of slow gifting, when someone seems to have everything, the small, incredibly personal gifts can mean the most. A monogrammed deck of cards or a book that represents an activity you share in common can each be a gift to be remembered. And when all else fails, donating to their favorite charity can be a remarkably thoughtful option.

What are your suggestions for people who want to give gifts that give back?

One of the most popular filters on our site is the “Shop by: social attributes” filter—which helps people buy gifts that match the values of their giftee: Sustainable, B-corporations, female founders, and other give-back initiatives. Supporting causes that people care about is a great idea when you gift—it informs your giftee that you really know them, and it makes them feel good every time they use what you’ve gifted them.

Thoughts on a White Elephant gift exchange? Best gifts to get for this?

I love white elephant gifts but my one rule is to make sure it’s truly useful or consumable. Most of us do not need more “stuff”. Here are a few of my favorites this season:

Home scents by Homecourt
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Do you always have to send a thank you note when you receive a gift?

I personally don’t believe adults have to send a thank you note, but I do think you have to say thank you. My favorite is to send a picture/text when I am using the gift. I started doing this when my son was born, and 11 years later, it’s still my way to show my gratitude. My son, however, is required to write a note, and I believe it’s good practice for kids in general.

Is it impolite to ask people what they want? If it is, how do I make sure I’m giving gifts that people will actually use?

I wouldn’t say it’s impolite, but I would say there is a better way. If you listen well enough, people are likely to reveal either what they are into, thinking about, or considering buying for themselves. If you ever get a chance to spend time in their home, you can usually get a fairly good sense of what might bring them joy. At To&From, we pride ourselves on teasing out the nuances of good gift-giving, finding those unexpected gifts that bring unexpected joy.

Check out To&From for all your gift-planning and needs this holiday season! The holidays are fully upon us, and gift-giving is in full effect.

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