I always dread buying gifts for others, whether it’s for a birthday, Christmas, or any other occasion. Not because I’m a terrible curmudgeon (well not just that) but rather because I never know what to buy anybody. Most people like surprises, I get that, but what they want is a nice surprise and not a disappointing one. The pressure to live up to this lofty expectation is both problematic and stressful. How I try to buy the perfect gift requires a bit of necessary thought and endeavour.
Of course, you could play it safe and just ask them what they want but that would obviously kill the surprise. If possible, I prefer to make some subtle inquiries, a few weeks before the big day which I try and disguise as ‘taking an interest’ in what they’re currently into.
The other option is you could just hand over a wodge of notes, but that just looks lazy and even lazier if you do it the modern way via a bank transfer. Having said that, I think this can be a good option for those you’re not that close to and you really have no idea what they would want. However, for those nearer to home, more effort is needed.
Fortunately, as the years have gone by and my nieces and nephews have grown up, I’ve managed to tactfully extricate my responsibilities of regularly buying gifts, apart from just a select few. Amongst that select, few is my daughter. I’ll use her as an example of how I try to buy the perfect gift.
My daughter, who is 19, constantly challenges me, in a good way of course. She’s not always been easy to buy for though. If I buy her something she doesn’t like, such as, what I consider a beautiful piece of jewellery, she will try and hide her disappointment, but I will know. However, in recent years buying gifts for her has been less of an ordeal than it was in the past. She really likes her ‘tech’. She loves gaming, has her own streams and does all the social media stuff. So this is where I now focus when buying her gifts.
Her favourite brand is Apple. Don’t even mention Android to her. I tried to talk her out of buying an Apple iPhone when she was younger, but I inevitably failed. I’m sure a similar scenario played out in many of her friends’ houses too. To force Android on her would have made her a social outcast within her friendship group. So no matter how many times I may say that ‘this great Android phone is just as good and for half the price’, it was never going to influence her.
To buy someone the perfect gift you have to know them and what they’re into. I knew that if I was struggling to think of something to buy her, I could always use Apple as a fallback option. Over the years I’ve bought her Ipods, Iphones, Ipads, Airpods and so on.
Yes, my credit card has taken a hammering but I knew what she wanted and I knew she would be happy with what I’d got her.
I have to admit I’ve begrudgingly learned to admire Apple, myself, despite being a stubborn Android user. They’ve created an aspirational brand, providing high-quality products that dominate the mobile technology market, which has created a huge loyal following. Once people choose Apple they don’t tend to switch. That loyal following gives Apple pricing power, this allows them to be able to charge premium rates for their products.
It’s this kind of business model that attracts big investors, such as the legendary ‘Sage of Omaha’ Warren Buffett. He is the CEO and largest shareholder in the US investment company, Berkshire Hathaway. Its single biggest holding is currently Apple and worth around $150 billion. Love them all loathe them you have to respect what Apple has achieved and become.
My daughter’s birthday is not too far off now so I’m starting to think about what to buy her. Yes, I’m probably going to play it safe again and buy something Apple based, if I can find something suitable. But what? She doesn’t really need anything and I’m not buying something just for the hell of it.
Last year, I bought her an Apple watch, so I looked to see if there were any accessories available. Her watch has a black face with a white strap. It looks good for everyday use but I wanted to be able to give it a bit of sparkle, for that special night out. I came across an impressive range of quality-looking, compatible Apple watch straps online. They come in a range of styles, colours, lengths and materials, to suit any budget. Covering the first series Apple watch right through to the current one. There’s almost too much choice!
I’m pretty sure that I will buy her one, although I haven’t decided which one, but it will certainly be smart and stylish. I know she likes rose gold so it may well be this one here.
I’m as sure as I can be, that whichever one I choose, she’ll love it, which means I will too and it’ll be another birthday safely negotiated!