Are you trying to find a gift for your loved one(s) but can't find anything and it's making you anxious instead?
I'd like to offer an escape hatch.
Open up your favorite search engine, look for an NGO that you identify with the most, donate some money in the name of your loved one(s), print out the donation certificate/receipt, and gift that instead.
There are a couple of advantages of gifting donations.
1. The gift would be definitely appreciated
Often times when we don't know for sure what the other person would like, we tend to buy something that we think they'll like.
Sometimes this works, but sometimes it also doesn't and what you buy sooner or later ends up in the trash. This way, not only is the gift not appreciated, but you also end up wasting money which could have been put to better use.
So instead of buying something that the other person may or may not like, if you donate some money in their name, they'll most definitely appreciate the gesture. And in the off chance that they don't, sorry but IMHO it's time to reconsider that relationship.
2. You did something good for others
If you're reading this blog post, it's highly likely that you're privileged at some level. Not only do you own the equipment to read this page (either a computer or a mobile device), but you also have some spare time on your hand.
I feel that those of us who have the means and resources should give at least some percentage of what we earn to those of us who don't. Whatever percentage that might be, is entirely your own personal choice.
I mention this because at the moment there is a lot of financial inequality in the world. Most of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few, and if those of us towards the mid-low end of the spectrum would share some of what we own with those of us at the lower end, the world would be a much better place.
3. You helped fight consumerism
The sheer number of advertisements that we're exposed to on a daily basis is mind-boggling, to the point where sometimes I'm even questioning the legality of it all.
Every single company is trying to get you to buy something, independent of whether you need it or not. So instead of some random marketing team playing with your emotions to get you to buy something either for yourself or for a loved one, use that money to improve someone else's life instead.
I'm not saying we should ban gifts altogether. Yes, we all have our wishlists and it's always nice to receive something from that list. And if, for instance, you know that your partner would appreciate receiving that book they've mentioned multiple times, by all means please go for it!
But if you don't know what to gift, either ask the person, or make a donation in their name. Let's try to be a bit more deliberate with our choice of things to buy and gift.