Shop year-round. Store stocks tend to be picked over by December, and deadlines can hamper creativity. Keep your eyes open for gifts all year, and stash them away until the holidays.
Make it personal. When giving someone a relatively generic gift, such as a picture frame, put a photograph inside or “something humorous, an inside joke.” Write a meaningful message on the inside flap of a book. Add a personal touch to robes, towels, and jewelry by having them monogrammed or engraved.
Do your research. When buying a gift in a recipient’s field of expertise, such as a camera for a photography buff, read product reviews and talk extensively to experts at the store.
Consider a yearlong gift. Subscriptions to favorite magazines or food-of-the-month clubs will remind the recipient of you on a