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Buying a gift for someone isn’t always easy. In fact, at times it can be downright overwhelming and stressful.
Take the following factors into consideration to narrow down your options and find something perfectly suited to the recipient.

Have you known the person for years and see them daily, or are they someone you recently met and communicate with on a less frequent basis?

For “Level 1” relationships, stick with presents that are not as personal or overly expensive – such as beautiful candles or unique paperweights. When shopping for “Level 2” relationships, take things up a notch. Go with items that cater to the recipients’ particular personality, taste or background – such as modern bowls for stylish bachelorettes or vintage-looking desktop clocks for those who spend a lot of time at the office. “Level 3” relationships require the most thought (and oftentimes end up being the most costly). Something that you can enjoy together – like an exquisite menorah if you both practice Judaism – is lovely. So is a special photo frame you can engrave or put a photo of the two of you in.

Make sure to take into account their particular circumstances. Buying a serving tray for someone who never entertains or a crystal bowl for someone who prefers to steer clear of fragile items simply doesn’t make sense.

Ask yourself what the recipients’ interests and hobbies are. A person who loves fresh flowers will make good use out of a beautiful vase. Candles or lampe berger lamps are ideal for those who like to spend their downtime snuggled up on the couch reading or relaxing. And for foodies, beautiful trays and plates are always an excellent option.

Decide on a price range before you go shopping. If you’re attending a birthday or dinner party, this shouldn’t be difficult. When picking out the gift, take into consideration the type of event (an informal BBQ requires a less substantial gift than a 60th birthday party) and how close you are to the recipient (more thought and effort should be spent on selecting a gift for your father as opposed to your partner’s friend).

In the case of a wedding – which can also accompany an engagement party and bridal shower (not to mention a bachelor/bachelorette party and potential travel fare) things get a bit trickier. That’s why it’s best to decide what you want to spend overall before making any purchases. The following breakdown is generally considered appropriate: 20% on the engagement, 20% on the shower and 60% on the wedding.

Another important factor to be considered: your budget. If you’re taking maternity leave for the year and money is tight, don’t feel bad about spending a little less. Alternatively, if you have the means, you can give something slightly more extravagant. Just remember that you want your gift to be tasteful and appropriate … so avoid going overboard even if you can.