Do you have someone who makes you want to pull your hair out when it comes to gift buying? Most of us have a few folks on our list who could be classified as ‘difficult’. So how do you choose gifts for the hard to buy for person on your shopping lists?
Updated September 2019
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Why are some people SO hard to buy for?
You know what I’m talking about. Those people that leave you scratching your head wondering what on earth to buy for them that they’ll actually like and use. Most of us have at least one of these people in our lives. They may be picky. They may be the person who already has everything under the sun. Some of them are people who have already bought themselves anything they’ve seen and liked.
Others simply have tastes so expensive that you can’t afford anything that’s on their list.
Related Post: Great Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents Who Live Far Away
But you’ve still got to find a gift
But you’re still expected to come up with the perfect gift for them for Christmas, their birthday, or another holiday. What’s a person to do?
There’s no doubt that these people make shopping harder than you’d like. A few questions, however, may make shopping for these folks just a little easier. And who knows? This might be the year when you hit the jackpot and leave them asking, “How did you know?
Ideas for gifts for hard to buy for folks on your list
Observe what the person likes to eat – after all, it’s something we all do (some of us even do it several times a day). Perhaps a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant or a goody basked filled with their favorite snacks would hit the proverbial sweet spot.
For those who live in more isolated areas or who are home bound, consider spending a day in their kitchen filling their freezer with their favorite dinners they can heat up later. You buy the groceries, visit with them in the kitchen while you cook, and they reap the benefits of your culinary skills at their convenience.
Others might enjoy a sampler box or a subscription to have some their favorite gourmet foods delivered regularly. Taste Trunk, for example, has subscription boxes tailored to the sweet lover, the BBQ lover, or the gourmet aficionado.
There’s always the traditional standby gifts for these folks: new corkscrews, wine stoppers, decanters, novelty ice cube trays and wine racks. New wine or liquor glasses might be appreciated as well, especially if others have been chipped or broken.
Related Post: Gifts To Delight The Wine-Loving, Book-Devouring Mom In Your Life
What are their habits?
Where do they like to shop? When you’re out together, is there a store they love visiting? Is there some particular store that they want to linger in more than others? If so, they might enjoy a gift card to this store so they can indulge their desire to spoil themselves with some of the goodies they can buy there. And if you don’t like giving gift cards (or they don’t like receiving them) a hand made voucher for a shopping trip where you pick up the tab is always nice.
Is your gift recipient an internet shopper? Whether they’re an internet shopper because they like the convenience or because they are not as able to leave home, gift cards to their favorite online store will let them indulge their love of shopping from home. If you’re not sure of their favorite store, a generic gift card from Visa or Amazon still opens up a world of shopping possibilities.
Related Post: 7 Gifts For Men Who Like To Cook
Consider age and interests
Does this person have a hobby? Hobby enthusiasts seldom get tired of receiving gifts that allow them to indulge in their favorite pastime. Perhaps supplies or a certificate for them to take a class or lessons to further their interest and/or skill would be the perfect gift.
Likewise, hobbyist frequently could use organizing containers to hold their supplies, or even a visit from a professional organizer (or you) to help them create a craft space they’ll enjoy working in.
Someone who doesn’t have a hobby might benefit from one. Check out this book to help you find a hobby:
Do they like to read or listen to music?
I’ve always loved to read, but as you may know, cutting clutter out of my life is something I’ve been working on. My Kindle Unlimited subscription allows me to read lots of books without having to worry about what to do with the physical book when I’m done.
When our daughter graduated from college one thing we did was pay for her to have a one-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited…she’s still thrilled with it.
Are they technologically savvy? For the technology buffs, there are usually an abundance of new gadgets that are hitting the stores in time for the shopping season. If you’re unsure what they might prefer (or what they already have) gift cards to technology and electronic retailers will enable them to find something they like.
On the other hand, if your ‘difficult person’ is not technologically savvy, perhaps they’d like the gift of your time and expertise to help them with any of the devices they already own. The old joke about Grandma not being able to set the clock on her VCR as given way to the 70+ parent who isn’t sure how to use all of the functions on their Smart Phone.
I’m relatively tech-competent (although there are those would disagree) but I still have times when I need the assistance of one of my children to help me figure something out. These ‘Digital Natives’ have an intuitive understanding of technology that us ‘old folks’ frequently need to tap in to.
Do they have pets?
Lots of people who are hard to buy for have pets they adore. In this case, something that helps them shower affection on their pet is usually appreciated as would be a service to help them find their friend should it get lost.
Lost My Doggie is a service that helps reconnect lost pets with their owners. You can sign up for either a free account or a subscription account. Might be the perfect gift for someone who loves their fur-baby (and it’s not just for doggies!)
Related Post: Awesome Gift Ideas For The Dog Lovers
How old is the person you’re trying to buy for? Buying for an older person is different than buying for the younger generation. I’ve already written about gift ideas for college students, but your older gift recipient might enjoy being given some of the things they normally use and would have to pay for themselves. Some ideas might include grocery items, postage stamps (yes, most of them still use snail mail), money on an account at their local pharmacy or doctor’s office.
My mother used to say that the art of gift giving wasn’t in giving something that you’d like to give – or receive – but in giving something that the other person would like to receive.
This requires that you get to know that person’s tastes, likes and dislikes, and personal style. It’s not always easy, but that’s what it takes to give a gift that’s as wonderful to receive as it is for you to give.