I've always found buying gifts really quite difficult, and often I just turned to gift cards. I've since discovered a few tips and tricks that have allowed me to come up with presents that I am really happy to give, and most of the time they are really well received.
My main tip is to pick out all the things you know about them - their interests, hobbies, collections, even down to things like their favourite colour or foods. This way you can get them a gift that is perfectly tailored to their taste. This may seem like a pretty obvious thing to do but for a while there I just bought things that I thought I would like to receive as a present or things that could be found in gift stores.
Which brings me to another point - steer clear of gift stores. Most of the time the presents that can be found in gift stores are super generic and often just clutter that few people would actually want. When buying a present, think about if someone would actually spend their own money on it. Would you really pay for a fake-diamond encrusted pen for twenty bucks? Would you pay thirty bucks for that glass photo frame that is not particularly spectacular?
Another tip is to buddy up with another friend or a couple of friends and buy them a gift that they would absolutely love but wouldn't purchase themselves because it is a little pricier than they had hoped. You might pool some money together to get a lovely perfume or piece of expensive jewellery that you know your friend has had their eye on for a long time but could never justify splashing out for.
My last tip is to really consider the way you display a gift, because that can make such a difference. Even just a creative display (like the jewellery gift I made for my friend shown below) or wrapped up with both wrapping paper and a bow can make the world of difference.
This post has taken me a long time to make because I have included all the presents I have gotten for some of my friends over the entire year! If they see this post, they will be able to spot their present!
For the girl who loves...jewellery
Jewellery makes an amazing gift because there are so many styles out there, if you know what your friend likes then you can get them something they will be sure to love. In terms of presentation, I went to Typo and purchased this wooden letter and then draped the jewellery over it and I think it adds a lovely personalised touch.
For the girl who loves...makeup
Being the makeup loving girl that I am, the idea of buying makeup for a friend's gift is terribly exciting, but if you don't know what someone already owns or you yourself aren't really the makeup-type then I imagine it might be quite daunting when faced with an endless aisle of crazy looking products.
Nail polishes are always a good choice, you can't really go wrong with a simple pink polish! Glitter polishes are also fun, and the good thing is that if your friend isn't a huge fan of one of the polishes you picked, it is no big loss because you didn't fork out a fortune for it. Little perfumes are really lovely, as are simple lip products like the Revlon Lip Butters. Inglot has an amazing system whereby you can make your own eyeshadow palettes (the empty palette is about $12, each shadow is $10) which I think is an amazing gift for a makeup loving girl!
A lovely way to present the gift is by purchasing a small makeup bag to put the present in!
For the girl who loves...beauty/body products
I honestly can't rave enough about Lush when it comes to presents for the beauty loving girl. Whilst it can be a little pricey at times, it has some gorgeous gift sets at really affordable prices. As you can see, the gift sets are wrapped up beautifully, and if you want you can add another product here and there like I did on top.
For the girl who loves...books
First of all, I may be a little biased but a girl who asks for books has excellent taste! I think books make wonderful presents (especially if you fill in the empty page at the front of the book with a little message) and can be really affordable if you get them from the right places. The Book Despository is absolutely amazing for affordable books and postage is completely free all over the world (I know right?!). Dressed up with a ribbon, books make beautiful presents.
For the girl who loves music
If you are buying a gift for someone who loves music, there are SO many opportunities to purchase them something that they will love. If you know exactly what type of music they like, buy them a CD. If they have a favourite band, merchandise (like posters, wristbands and clothing) are the perfect gift. If they play an instrument you could get them bits and pieces related to it (for example if your friend plays they guitar you could buy them a guitar pick and a necklace with a little guitar charm).
For the girl who loves...everything!
I picked up this tea cup desk organiser (it is meant to hold pens and other stationery) from Typo and then filled it up with little trinkets like earrings, a key chain and a lip balm. Other little things that you could put in there include nail polish, chocolates, bracelets and perfume samples.
For the girl who you don't really know
It's hard to buy presents for someone who you don't really know, but gifts that I turn to are candles/candle holders, chocolates, creams/shower gels and the plain old gift cards. Stores like Oxfam can also come in handy because even if the person receiving the present doesn't totally love your gift, you can at least know your money went to a good cause and wasn't completely wasted.
The hand creams below were $8 each and I think they are such lovely little gifts for the person you want to say thank you to but aren't really 'besties' with.
And if all else fails...
Wrap it up nicely and at least pretend that it is a good present by making it look pretty!