This is the ultimate guide to finding the perfect gift for anyone.

We all know that Christmas and Sinterklaas is the most wonderful time of the year, but sometimes it can also be the most horrible time of the year.

You know what I'm talking about. Gift shopping.

"Oh, I don't need anything," says your wife. But you know that's not true. Then there are your friends, parents, in-laws and more. You could ask them what they want, and if you're really lucky they'll tell you exactly and you can go buy it, but that takes all the romance out of the event and makes it pretty impersonal. And you definitely don't want to resort to buying the Transformers 2 DVD from Mediamarkt, as it was on sale for €3 on Black Friday, along with a bunch of other outdated and underwhelming movies.

  1. Turn the gift into an event. Get creative with the packaging! Instead of just giving them a present in plain wrapping paper, think of the gifting experience as an event - and you want to make sure they enjoy it. Hide his gift and send him on a quest to find it. Instead of just giving him a gift card, hide a secret message in a Twilight book that sends him to the gift card code. Or sew her present into a giant stuffed shark so she has to have surgery to get it out. And never underestimate the sheer joy of unwrapping presents. Sometimes quantity can mean quality when it comes to a bunch of small individually wrapped items.

  2. Now literally give an experience. She loves Les Mis, but already has the book and the movie and the movie poster? Buy her tickets to see the show. One of my all-time favorite gifts I've seen was a step-by-step mystery guide that sent the giftee to a restaurant, bought him dinner, and paid for him and his date to play at the arcade.

  3. List all the things the person is interested in that define who they are. Make this list long - spend at least two full minutes writing down as many things as you can. Now brainstorm something that goes with every item on that list, small or big. You don't have to give all those gifts, but you'll come up with some cool ideas you wouldn't have otherwise, and if you combine a few, your giftee will appreciate how personable and thoughtful you were. A man who suffers from depression, loves science fiction and is also interested in men's fashion received a potentially life-changing gift that was perfectly tailored to him. Someone who likes bacon has received a gourmet bacon-of-the-month subscription for a year. Of course.

  4. Look to the past. Maybe someone on your list recently graduated from college and you can frame their diploma to display. One of our gift exchange participants received a painting of her dog who had passed away the previous year. Let them relive their childhood. One contestant whose brother had sold his Nintendo 64 got another one.

  5. Ask yourself what that person needs. I know what you're saying. Stop. They DO need something. The key is to think broader. What does a super busy successful businessman need? Time probably. There are countless products to help people live their lives more efficiently. You could even ask other people you know for their pro tips. Do you have a sister in nursing school? Put together a student nurse survival kit! Thinking on a more general level allows you to move beyond your normal, narrower view of that person.

  6. Do some stalking. When all else fails, stalk. Most people have a wish list on Amazon, and they'll be quite surprised and delighted if you somehow found exactly what they wanted without even asking - and that they may have even forgotten they had it themselves. wild ones. Look through their Facebook history for clues. If they're a redditor, you can see what kinds of things they've posted and commented on before, and they can also have a wish list on the reddit marketplace.

  7. Make them laugh. Don't just give a Kindle. Give your crazy liberal friend a Kindle hidden in a copy of Sarah Palin's autobiography. Do you know someone who likes potatoes? Give him 22 kilos of it. Or give a funny gadget from

  8. Add a little of yourself. Make it personal in a different way - personalized from you rather than for them. Make a piece of art, write a song, knit a scarf - you get the idea. Combine this with one (or more) of the suggestions above for an ultra-personalized gift.

  9. Be charitable. Okay, so someone on your list REALLY has everything they need? I don't believe you, but it doesn't matter because there are many other people who don't have everything they need. Find something they are passionate about and then donate to that cause. Did she volunteer in Haiti? Donate to the charity she went there with. Is he a dog lover? Donate to an animal shelter. There are thousands of charities helping teens get off the streets, cure cancer, rehabilitate drug addicts, fight for women's reproductive rights and more. Make a donation to a cause that matters on their behalf.