Everyone has that moment where they need to give someone a gift and they just draw a blank — either because they just do, or because they don’t know the giftee very well. (I am, to admittedly toot my own horn, an excellent gift giver but it’s much much easier if you know the giftee well! [I’m mostly good at this due to a combination of being good at remembering what people have previously mentioned, and having a shopping addiction.]) I’ve started doing that thing Martha Stewart recommends, which is writing down what I’ve gotten people so that I don’t accidentally repeat gifts, and so I can remember what went over well in case it’s recyclable for someone else, but I always like to hear: What do you buy for people when you don’t know what to buy for people? Say, when you’re going somewhere and you know you need to bring a hostess gift but you don’t really know her, or if you’re the plus one at a birthday event and the gift-buying has fallen to you because your partner is a famed neurosurgeon and couldn’t get out of the OR in time to think about it carefully. Or something else similarly relatable. I personally think fancy soap or fancy jam generally goes over well, if you don’t know if the recipient drinks or not (because champagne is always a nice effort otherwise). It is always the thought that counts, of course and some of the best gifts aren’t that pricy — my sister once got me nail art that looked like the Wakefield twins, for instance. Spill your secrets!

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