It’s almost the end of November, and in many parts of the world the holidays are fast approaching. Although Christmas is not celebrated in my country, I know all about the agony of choosing gifts. You have to go through it every birthday, anniversary, holiday or house-warming party, and that doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love giving gifts, who doesn’t? It’s choosing gifts that I really don’t like, especially when it comes to people who refuse to provide any hints. The holiday season is all of this, times 30. You don’t have just one birthday or one anniversary; you need to buy something to every member of your close family and every close friend, without even mentioning colleagues, acquaintances, and distant family members who happen along.
So how do you choose a perfect gift for everyone? OK, you can get something generic for those distant family members, but when it comes to close family and friends, you want something nice. Something they’ll like.
Luckily, the Web is here to help once more! Below you’ll find a curated list of services. Each and every one of these tools will help you to easily choose or buy a gift your recipient will like. So what are you waiting for? Don’t leave your shopping to the last minute again!
Wantful is a brilliant service that can help you choose the perfect gift every time. It’s not one of those websites that tries to guess what your friends would like; it bases its selection on information you give it yourself. What style of clothes does your friend like? What does she like to do? Does he like cooking? Is she organized? The questions are presented on Wantful’s ultra-slick interface, and the answers are accumulated into a nice catalog of gifts for you to choose from.
But it gets even better: you can choose up to 12 options, and send your friend this personalized catalog via email or regular mail. Once your friend chooses a gift, all you have to do is wait for it to be shipped. Did I say brilliant?
You can read a full review of Wantful here, but keep in mind that it’s much slicker and nicer to use by now.
Man Buys A Present [UK-Based]
For the men in our midst, it gets even harder when choosing a gift for the ladies. Man Buys A Present is a website dedicated to men who are trying to buy gifts for women, although it does include the option to choose gifts for men, if you insist. Start by telling the app who the recipient is (wife, mom, daughter, etc., or even “New! Man”), her age, and what occasion you’re shopping for. You can then give the app a price range, which includes shipping and wrapping, and even a ship-by date.
The app will then present you with three random options based on the recipient and the occasion, and lets you “spin” the ones you don’t like to switch them up. Once you find the right gift, you can buy it straight from the website.
If you’re really in trouble, Man Buys A Present offers a “get out of jail” service, helping you get a beautiful wrapped gift shipped the next day. Still can’t choose? Consult these 5 top holiday gifts for The tech-loving woman in your life.
With Send As Gift, things are a bit different. When using this service, you need to come prepared with some kind of an idea, and Send As Gift will help you make sure the recipient really likes your idea. While not as slick as the former two, Send As Gift is a simple way to verify a gift with a friend or relative before spending money on it. The website works best with actual URLs, but you can try typing in a keyword to get some gift suggestions.
Once you find the gift you want, you can send your friend a Facebook message, an email or a text message with the product’s name and photo (no price, of course), and they can mark if they want this or not, and enter a mailing address. For some products, your friend will also be able to specify size, color, etc. Once your gift is accepted, Send As Gift can help you find the best price for it.
Read a full review of Send As Gift here.
Once upon a time there was a gift-giving service called Karma. A short while after it became successful, it was acquired by Facebook, and the result was the launch of Facebook Gifts. Facebook Gifts is not yet available for everyone, but it could be available for you just in time for the holidays. Facebook Gifts is similar to Send As Gift, only slicker. It won’t actually help you with the choosing, but it will help you verify that your gift is liked before actually buying it.
From your friend’s Timeline, click the “Gift” option, and choose a gift from the available catalog. Your friend will receive the gift idea, accept or decline it, and provide further information such as mailing address, favorite color, size, etc. Once your gift is accepted, all you have to do is pay for it. Simple enough.
Giftly is a very innovative way to give gifts. It’s not for everyone, though. For starters, the recipient has to go buy the gift by himself, which might not be suitable for everyone. Second, the recipient has to use the Giftly app in order to be reimbursed for the gift, so they need to own an iPhone and be tech savvy enough to use the app. If you have friends or family that fit the bill, Giftly is an original way to make sure they get exactly what they want.
In order to give a gift with Giftly, you need to download the app first, and then choose any gift from anywhere, and the gifted amount. For example, you can give your friend a sweater from his favorite store. After the gift is delivered, your friend can go to that specific store, choose his own favorite sweater, and simply buy it. Giftly will automatically credit his credit card for the gifted amount. Sounds just intriguing enough to try, doesn’t it?
El Gifto [Web, iOS, Android]
El Gifto is yet another service aimed at helping you find the perfect gift, but this one is also available as an app for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android 2.1+. The basics are the same in all versions of the app: give it details about your recipient and it will provide suggestions for good gifts. You can tell El Gifto about your recipients’ gender and age, their hobbies and personality, how they’re related to you and what’s the occasion. You can also set a price range for your gift. You are then presented with many options that should fit, which you can browse until you find the perfect gift.
With the mobile apps, you can also set price-drop alerts for your favorite gifts if they’re too expensive. Unlike Wantful, your recipient doesn’t really get a say here. Once you find the perfect gift you’re directed to the relevant website to buy it. It’s still a great way to find some much-needed inspiration!
Ready, Set, Shop!
Did you find a service that makes sense to you? It’s time to get to work! The holidays are just around the corner, and if you celebrate them, it’s better to get this business of gift buying over with before the big rush. Besides, with most of these options, you can give the perfect gift without even leaving your desk. What could be better?
How do you choose the perfect gift for your family and friends? Is there an awesome service I forgot to mention? Tell us all in the comments.
Image credit: gift image via Shutterstock
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