How to Choose Authentic Gifts for All Christmas Occasions

Updated December 21, 2017

One of the joys of the Christmas season is the opportunity to share gifts with family and friends. But as much as we may enjoy finding the perfect gifts for those we love, it’s not easy to do. Authenticity starts with truly considering the recipient and the circumstances that inspire the gift.

Party Gifts

Falling back on the old tradition of bringing a bottle of wine or spirits to a party can feel boring. However, taking the time to learn your host’s tastes takes the idea from generic to inspired. A favorite brand or beautifully presented bottle is always welcome. Or, bring a delicacy to be served at the party or after, such as a generous serving of the host’s favorite chocolate, chutney or cheese.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa exchanges typically are arranged among groups -- co-workers or clubs or neighbors -- who share a common bond. Basing your gift on that bond helps you select something the recipient will truly love. For example, a gardener can be counted on to enjoy a high-quality gardening tool; a co-worker would appreciate a vase or plant for their desk; a neighbor might be delighted by a garden decoration or birdhouse.

Teacher Gifts

Every teacher has enough mugs and desk decorations to last a lifetime. Bypass those standards, and select something consumable. Gift cards for lunch, coffee or tea are sure to be appreciated, as are vouchers for books or music.


If you’re observant, your friends will show you what they want or need. If your best friend’s makeup spills from her purse every time she sets it down, a cute makeup bag should make the list. If your neighbor counts down the days until Christmas with her children, an Advent calendar would be a fine gift.


Choosing gifts for family members can be especially challenging. Instead of objects, why not give your loved ones a shared adventure? Tickets to a touring show or sporting event would be lovely. Or perhaps you could spring for lunch or dinner at a favorite spot or even accommodations for a weekend away.

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About the Author

Jerri Farris is editor-in-chief of Before joining Demand Media, she authored 24 books and wrote for print magazines, video and online publications. Her specialties include lifestyles topics, home improvement and crafts. Farris lives and works in Santa Monica, Ca.