Get real personal with your holiday gift giving!
By Bernard Freeman
The Young Athlete
Many of today’s youth simply want to play ball. They live and breathe their favorite sports and are quick to head out after school to practice the afternoon away.
This Christmas, order give those special sports nuts gifts they can use to hone the craft or enhance their passion for the sport they love. From extra gear to useful accessories, buy the world of sports gifts is vast. The first step to choosing the perfect present is to decide if you want to buy one that is practical or one that is more experience-based.
From baseball and softball to hockey and football, mind and every sport in between, practice makes perfect. It is very likely that you can find private instructors ready to dole out invaluable lessons.
Check with your local recreational centers or indoor sports facilities to find out what they offer. Be sure to match your athlete’s age with the proper instruction level.
Common lessons can include hitting, pitching and fielding for baseball and softball, or swinging and putting for golf. Pay attention to the child’s game and find areas you think could use some development, and choose the appropriate training package.
What better way to treat your young athlete than by letting them learn from the professionals? Tickets to a major sporting event can motivate and educate youngsters who have a true passion for the games they play.
You can hide the tickets in a complimentary gift, such as a hat or jersey of their favorite team or player. Also, let the child know you plan on making the game day even more special by arriving early enough to meet players for autographs before the game.
Some sports teams offer exclusive ticket packages that include visiting the locker rooms and walking on the field prior to the game. If this option fits in your budget, it may be the best way to give the youngster a taste of how their favorite sport is played at the highest level.
With today’s online collection of photo product companies, there are more ways than ever to build custom memories of a child’s athletic experiences. Photo books, calendars, coffee mugs and posters are just a few examples.
Make sure to take plenty of photos of games and practices, and turn them into memorable items for the child to enjoy forever.
The Beauty Queen
Do you have a friend who lives for the next great how-to makeup video tutorial or emerging trend in eyeliner? Why not spoil them with a beautified gift this year? Many boutiques, spas and beauty counters are chock full of various beautification products for the skin, hair and overall physical health. If you’re not sure which types of products to buy, consider splurging on a surprise spa day or getaway with friends.
These types of thoughtful gifts can turn into memories that last a lifetime.
Customized gift baskets are all the rage in the beauty industry. With a few clicks of your computer mouse or a quick visit to your local shop, you could sign your friend up for monthly beauty baskets that are delivered straight to their door.
Gift baskets full of lip glosses, hand relief lotions, candles and eye shadows are just the beginning. Many companies will prompt you to share information on your friend, such as her skin tone, favorite makeup and preferred brand.
Once the company understands what your recipient is looking for in beauty products, it will send fully customized baskets on a monthly basis, or for whatever frequency you choose. Many companies send out new product samples with tutorials to make the experience both enjoyable and educational.
The Tennis Player
Many people take tennis very seriously. Others use it more as a leisure activity with friends. Either way, there are plenty of gift ideas for the tennis player in your life.
Tennis doesn’t require much equipment to get started so you could help the novice player become involved in the sport with just a few purchases. The more seasoned player probably already possesses plenty of balls, equipment bags and rackets. Why not set your gift apart a bit?
Tennis fans are some of the most dedicated in the world, following a specific player with a passion. Look around for tennis memorabilia that may be signed by their favorite superstars.
Items like tennis shoes, rackets and balls are oftentimes auctioned off for charitable causes. Check in with player websites and social media platforms to see if any such promotions are in the works. Landing the match-worn gear of your friend’s favorite player could surely qualify as their best gift of the year.
If you’ve watched any professional tennis, you know that the sport has many nuances. This uniqueness also makes the sport a perfect match for novelty gifts.
Anything from table clothes to bumper stickers can be a great fit for the tennis lover in your life. Chef aprons, bobble heads, trick balls and humorous T-shirts are some other options. And your gift recipient will likely use these types of gifts with pride in honor of their favorite sport.
The Fitness Fanatic
The holidays are a great time to flex your gift-giving muscles. Bulking up your gifts this year is easy to do, even if you don’t know the first thing about leg curls or power squats.
Fitness is one of the most valuable, practical gifts you can give this holiday season because of the long-term impact it could have on your friend or family member’s health and lifestyle.
This gift may be one of the most popular come Christmastime, because it helps save your friend money and gets them involved in physical fitness. If you currently attend a specific gym, have your friend join you by buying them a membership.
You can motivate each other to get in better shape — a perfect gift combination of fitness and quality time together.
Technology and fitness go hand in hand. There are plenty of digital gift options on the market that can track movement, workouts and even sleeping habits, giving your gift recipient a comprehensive overview of their workouts.
Look for wearable solutions that are also fashionable. Many will come in the form of bracelets, so consider if your friend is generally one to wear them. The last thing you want is for your friend to feel obligated to wear your gift, especially if they aren’t comfortable doing so.
The Proud Grandparents
Are there people in your life who absolutely love their role as grandparents? Think they’re a tough market to buy for? Think again.
Grandparents are critical in the lives of young people and can form quite a special bond with them. Buying gifts for grandparents can be simple if you incorporate a little personalization into your ideas. The thought really does count when the gift is coming from a child.
Depending on the age of the child presenting the gift, think about the specific relationship between grandchild and grandparent. Are there certain activities they like to do together? Places they like to go? Once you find that common ground, buying a personalized gift is a breeze.
Custom Photo Books
Grandparents love to stay updated on the latest family photos. With the help of online software tools, you can easily make your own photo book, personalized just for grandma and grandpa.
Kids can choose which photos to put in the book, along with funny captions that would make their grandparents smile. The key is choosing a great cover shot that makes them want to open it over and over again throughout the years.
Make a Day of It
Sometimes it’s not an item that makes for the perfect gift but more of an experience. Do grandma and granddaughter like to shop together? Why not buy them a gift card to their favorite local shop and let them spend the afternoon choosing new purchases?
Do grandpa and grandson enjoy spending time in the great outdoors? Send them on a local fishing expedition with a professional guide. It will be time well spent together trying to reel in the big one.
Do you have a friend who always seems to be planning their next vacation? Buying for the traveler can be fun because of the variety of items needed to pull off a successful trip. From gifts that your recipient can use in flight to something that will come in handy while packing, there are many gift ideas out there.
Traveling is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, but that can be difficult to attain when you’re traveling with a plane full of other people. Find a pair of noise-canceling headphones with strong sound quality so your recipient can listen to their favorite music on the flight.
Any jet-setter will, of course, be thrilled to receive a gift trip. If it’s in your budget, a couple of plane tickets to your recipient’s favorite destination — because you’re going too — would be the perfect start to an amazing trip.
Just be sure to schedule the trip far enough in advance to give your friend or family member time to adjust their schedule or save money for trip extras.
Your trip could be the gift they look forward to redeeming and will remember for a lifetime because of the special memories you’ll make.