How to Buy Gifts That People Actually Want - Will Patrick

giving experiences might be good for your relationship even if you don't do the thing together. COVID complicates this this year, though. overindividuation is a problem: the nerdiest person you know may still prefer a generic useful gift to a Nerd Gift, You Know, Because They're A Nerd, and giving different gifts to different people on your list doesn't...really...matter. or worse: anyone get pegged by their relatives as an X person? you know, where X is dolphins, or owls, and gradually your house fills up with dolphin figurines and there's no nice way to explain that you maybe don't even particularly like dolphins.

the things I've been thinking about this year are:

  • consumability: am I giving something they have to keep in their apartment that used to be a fine size for their life and now feels like an office-prison? is there something I can give them that they can use up?
  • individuating, but from my end: what is the best gift that only I can give? what am I likely to be better at picking out than other people? multiple people on my list might benefit from such a gift.
  • delivery: an e-gift certificate has the least satisfying delivery ever but at least I know it's gonna get there and get there on time. gmail lets me schedule ahead of time, too.