Be The Best Gift Buyer EVER

YOU HAVE TWO DAYS LEFT ‘TIL VALENTINE'S DAY PEOPLE! ARE YOU PREPARED? If, like the pretend me, you couldn't give a Dickens about it, as you were.

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:00pm | Leave a comment

But if, like the actual me, you would quite like to get at least a card, despite scoffing at every mention of the 'holiday for saddos', I say do unto others as you would have done to you... in other words, give to receive.

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My faux Val's day apathy exists for a reason. The event is but one calendar week from my birthday (21 Feb, well-wishers), which would leave my poor other half the responsibility of buying two kick-ass gifts seven days apart. And I'm very fussy. So we eschew the former for the sake of the latter.

Alas, he still needs help. So this article is not entirely altruistic (but then, what is.) I impart on you my guide to buying the best possible present for anyone and everyone, plus a few things many would be delighted to receive. Be sure to let me know your recommendations (and wish me happy birthday) in the comments.

THINK LUXURY
A great gift is something you would love to buy yourself, but sadly cannot justify. For me, this means luxury brands of cosmetics, frivolous accessories or beauty treatments. You might personally think £36 for a lipstick is obscene, and it is, but I would be giddy to receive a Tom Ford Lip Colour. It would be something to cherish, with the added bonus of beautiful, classic design that features my initials! BOOM! Plus lipstick = kisses = VALENTINE'S... dur!

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But I know your boyfriend/girlfriend might not love make-up as a gift. Maybe your partner is a real foodie, but would never consider dropping almost £20 on balsamic? Buy a really fantastic bottle like Fattoria Estense Balsamic Vinegar Gold Label (18.95) in an Italian deli or online.

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Love a total lush? I'm keen to develop an impressive gin bar, but wince at spending thirty quid a bottle. Unwrapping BLOOM's Premium London Dry (£29) would have me giggling like it was Christmas morning.

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BE SELFLESS
Gift buying is a time to indulge your partner's loves and desires, not your own. Therefore, even if you think any of the above are a total waste of money, no one cares. This is not about you. Yes, perfumiers have our eyes out and roses are ridiculously priced in February. This will all give you martyr points.

LISTEN
I hate to say it, but you've already left this a bit late. All the best gift buyers think ahead and keep their eyes open months in advance for clues as to a perfect gift. Your girlfriend/boyfriend picks something up at a vintage fair, looks at the tag and walks away? Make a note of it, track it down online - some of the best presents my boyfriend has ever bought were an original Polish circus poster I'd seen a version of eight months before in an antique shop, and a copy of a book I loved as a child, which is now out of print. The fact he had hunted them down was really touching.

Maybe your partner missed out on gig tickets that you could pick up on eBay (albeit for a bit of an inflated price) or has mentioned wanting to see a certain West End show?

DO YOUR RESEARCH
Ask his/her friends if there's anything they have mentioned. Sometimes people don't like to drop hints directly but will have spoken in passing about being desperate to try the new Jimmy Choo Flash (£36), or an awesome pair of shoes or needing a facial.

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Maybe your partner plays a sport or instrument you know nothing about and is in the market for equipment. Ask their band/teammates for recommendations. Extra points for adding a love theme, like this Love Squeeze Guitar Pedal (£129). Look at their Facebook page and Twitter feed for clues, or if all else fails, ask them.

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A surprise is always nice, but some people have very specific tastes, and would love the chance to choose their own present. Just turn that into an adventure. Book lunch and a shopping trip one Saturday and make an IOU. After all, it's supposedly the thought that counts.

Tory will be dropping hints all week at @ToryFrostWrites