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How to Select a Great Gift for Anyone and for Any Occasion

How to Select a Great Gift for Anyone and for Any Occasion

Whether it is time for the winter holidays, a friend or family member’s birthday, a wedding, or any other gift-giving occasion, selecting the right item to give to someone can feel like quite the challenge. But, although challenging, it is possible to pick a great gift every time. How can someone accomplish such a feat? By following these six easy steps:

Start with a Budget

Before you start looking for ideas, you need to set a budget. It won’t do you any good if you begin searching and find a great gift option that you simply can’t afford. Most online retailers allow you to set price parameters when you are searching for items, that way you can make sure that you are only choosing between gifts you can afford.

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Give Consideration to the Occasion

A gift that would be perfect for a best friend’s birthday might not be the kind of thing that should be opened in front of family at a graduation party. Regardless of whether or not the recipient will appreciate your choice, you need to consider what is appropriate to open in front of other people who may be present.

The occasion may also dictate your goal for the gift. For major milestones, like weddings, you might want to pick an item that is going to be useful as they transition into a new way of living. However, you can often have more fun when choosing items to serve as birthday gifts.

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Now, that doesn’t mean a gift can’t have some personality, just make sure its personality fits the tone and overall goal. For example, if you are attending a friend’s wedding and the couple has an affinity for the retro look, then a toaster oven or waffle maker from Nostalgia Electrics might be the perfect finds for the couple you have in mind. They can get all of the function of today’s appliance with a look that suits their style. Other practical gifts for couples can be found at places like All Modern, West Elm, Home Goods, Ikea, and even Target.

Think in Color

Everyone has their favorite colors to wear or with which they prefer to decorate. When you are choosing items that fit into categories where colors matter, like apparel and home goods, try to select an item in a color you know they already favor. If you aren’t sure what options they would prefer, then stick with something that functions as a neutral, like black, white, gray, or even navy.[1]

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Refer to Hobbies and Interests

Is the recipient an aspiring photographer? A sci-fi movie fanatic? A collector of vintage holiday ornaments?

Any hobby or interest can guide your gift-giving, so don’t be afraid to tread familiar territory for ideas. You may feel like you are being unoriginal by referring to something they are highly involved in, but giving them a new opportunity to dedicate time to something they love will always be well received.

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Think Small

Gift baskets can get a bad rap sometimes, but creating one from scratch can be a lot of fun. Think of a series of small items they may appreciate, and group them together to create an interesting gift. This can be an ideal way to showcase less expensive items that would still be greatly appreciated.

You can choose to work with a theme if you want to be guided through the gift-picking process. For example, a newly married couple may appreciate a gift basket full of various kitchen basics. You can choose utensils, serving pieces, and small gadgets to help supplement the larger items they may receive as gifts. Often, people think of major items when purchasing wedding gifts, but not everyone thinks of everyday items like spatulas, measuring cups, and kitchen towels. For a graduation gift, including gift cards, planners, and a token that hints at their future career might be great things to include in your gift basket.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Unique

The ability to shop online can open you up to a wealth of options you didn’t even know existed. Some sites specialize in unique offerings that you won’t find at your average big box store. For example, odds and ends like smartphone lenses, breakfast sandwich makers, pencils, and cool vintage wristwatches can be found by shopping online. You won’t find items like that just anywhere. So don’t be afraid to branch out your search and see what inspires you. When you find the right item, you’ll know what to do.

Reference

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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