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We are still trying to find the perfect gift for a friend, relative, or acquaintance even though it is nearly Christmas. These are the questions we can ask ourselves for hours in shops. You can also find the perfect gift by changing your perception of gift-giving.

The problem is that we mistakenly think of gift-giving as an exchange for physical objects. An alternative approach is to view a gift as communication. You are communicating with someone when you gift a gift. The gift you give is unique and meaningful. They will be delighted to receive the gift, and if they can read your message, they will understand it. This is obvious, yet we often forget to consider it when choosing gifts. First, we focus on the object or the necessity. Then we check the message it conveys.

Gifts can be a form of communication. When someone presents you with a gift, you instantly know it. Some gifts communicate distance, while others convey intimacy. Some people say, “I love your creativity,” while others say, “You should care for yourself.” Some are downright your every day gift insulting. The value of gifts is rarely tied to their reputation or price. The gifts I most appreciate are those that were almost free to me to arrange, but that has meant so much to me that I am grateful.

This thinking can help you quickly find the perfect gift by allowing you to choose gifts. First, ask yourself, “What am I trying to communicate to this person?” Next, think about “What gift can I give to convey this message.” This contrasts the typical “What can you buy them?” followed by “What will they think about it?”

You might be able to develop unique and meaningful gifts or even more unusual ones. This type of thinking resulted in a gift I received recently. My wife gifted me a 1-day ticket to freedom. She took over my responsibilities and sent me to Tokyo to have fun. She wanted to express her appreciation for everything I did and let me know that sometimes my responsibilities were a burden. This helped her design the perfect gift, a simple break from all of it. It was wonderful.

When we think about gifts as communication, the advantages we come up with maybe the same as those we might think of in another way. It could be that we can make a decision quicker and have greater certainty that the gift is the right one for us.

There is one caveat. You can’t say anything positive about the person but feel you have to give them a gift. It may not be the best way for you to have a Merry Christmas. Only do it if you feel brave. Pay attention to details if you are planning on purchasing a gift soon. You might hear them talk about what they don’t have or suggest things that would be easier. The gift recipient may be pleasantly surprised if they pay attention.

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