I have a few people in my life that are really difficult to buy for. (**cough cough MY HUSBAND**). Do you have people like this on your gift list? People that either have everything they need already, or who are prone to returning absolutely everything, EVEN if it's something they have specifically mentioned they might like? (No, I'm not bitter. OK yes I am.)
Anyway, my fix for this is simple: don't buy them anything. I don't mean buy them nothing, I just mean don't buy them any STUFF. You see, this person likely already has enough stuff. But even stuff-laden people love getting thoughtful gifts, so do some research into things that they might like to do. A museum membership? Tickets to a comedy show or a concert that's coming to town? Even a gift card to a restaurant along with movie tickets is a good idea.
This year, my husband (who never reads this) is getting two tickets to go see the Harlem Globetrotters with our son. It will be a fun night out for them, something that they'll remember for a really long time, and also something that can't clutter up our house or be returned. Hey, I never said I don't have ulterior motives.
We have embraced this gift methodology for family gifts as well, and usually do experience gifts among the couples in our family. We were given a limousine for a wine-tasting tour, which was a huge winner. Last year, we gave my sister-in-law and her husband a kayak tour of La Jolla.
If you're having a hard time coming up with an experience idea of your own, there are some websites that will help. In particular, I've found that Cloud 9 Living has some really good ideas at various price points.
Are you focusing on "experience" gifts this year?
(Photo from: Harlem Globetrotters.com)