5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Tackling Your Holiday List

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This weekend is the official start to the holiday shopping season. And while the stakes can be high, we really need you to take a deep breath, relax, and follow these tips to ensure a smooth start to the holiday season. p.s.  sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest gift guides from downcity! 


Shiny objects your friends and family actually want – from Queen of Hearts and Modern Love

Who is the recipient?

Perhaps the most essential question to ask yourself before setting out on your holiday shopping this year! Who is getting the gift? Do they tend towards the practical side? Or perhaps they are more extravagant? Do they have any hobbies or passions? What’s their favorite color? Favorite food?

People are complicated, so sometimes when you’re in the middle of a black Friday rush, your mind goes blank, and you reach for that random shiny object, the one over there. A great antidote to this is to have a word cloud or list of all the things that make this person who they are. You don’t necessarily have to bring it with you (unless you want!) but it always helps to have a couple key words at the front of your head when you venture out into the retail wilderness.



Tokyo Milk Hand Creme from Homestyle

What is your relationship to this person?

This helps you modulate your price point, as well as the appropriateness of your gift. A $200 set of headphones for a co-worker is excessive –  but I bet they’d make your teenager or significant other very happy! Outside of cost, some items may be too personal or intimate for your outer circles. For this reason you should probably steer clear of jewelry, clothing (unless it’s a cozy hat or scarf) and perfumes (lotions or soaps are a good substitute) when shopping for party hosts, co-workers, or acquaintances.


Is this gift in my taste, or the recipient’s?

This is a big one. After hours of shopping, you can get a little decision fatigued, and revert back to what you know best – you! While this is helpful in making up your own wish list, it can be a pretty inelegant tactic for gifting to your best buds. We always like to ask ourselves this question just before making a final decision on a purchase.


Symposium Books has beautiful Artists Books for all tastes and interests.

What significant memories do I have with the recipient?

Combined with tip number 1, this is how you get that extra special gift for the ones you love. Really reach into your memories for that time you were on vacation together, and he eyed those sweet boots, or she picked up those earrings. Perhaps you have a recollection that the recipient would really like to know more about a specific artist. Or maybe they told you about something they didn’t get to try in childhood, like going to Disneyland. Do your research. Find those boots or earrings. Look for a beautiful book on the artist. Get tickets to Disneyland! Which leads us to our next suggestion…


Photo of a Coopers Hawk in front of Craftland by Peter Green

Would an ‘experience’ or donation gift be a better option?

Sometimes people really don’t want more stuff. In these instances, it is best to get a giftcard to go out to a nice restaurant, go see a play, or donate to a cause the receiver can get down with! You can always dress up the gesture with a little something that fits thematically. For instance, if you get a giftcard to Gracie’s, maybe purchase a pretty shawl or luxurious scarf from Homestyle for the occasion. If theater is more their thing and you’re getting tickets to see a Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep,  try a new sleek handbag or wallet from Queen of Hearts. If donating to a cause such as the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, get a cool photo of a raptor by Peter Green from Craftland!


What do you like to think about when you’re working on your holiday shopping? Let us know on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!


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