Holiday How-To: Gift Shopping
'Tis the season to spend money! With the holidays coming our way, one of the biggest issues on the average Neopian's mind is gifts. Not just the giving of gifts, but the getting of them, and the spending of money to get the gifts! Gifting has been a challenge for Neopians since the first Tyrannian bopped his friend on the head with a carefully carved stick, and got just one Ugh in return. That single unenthusiastic Ugh managed to ruin his gifting prowess for the rest of his short eternity, and well, it just evolved from there (literally!). Being of certain holiday cheer and skill, I figured it was time to discuss my own gift giving tips and tricks, so that when the day finally rolls around, you will not have a worried hair on your holiday happy head!
Holiday shopping for me has always been something of a tradition. Each year I gather my neopoints, bury myself under winter wear, and pack my bravest pets along with me to the stores. While I may not always know each and every present I'm going to purchase, I have a list of neofriends I need to buy for, and a deep understanding of what types of gifts I should be looking for. This sort of preparation is key when gift shopping for your friends and family! If you're going to give someone a gift, you want them to like it, right? Right! I shop under two gifting rules that have done wonderful for me throughout the years, and will do great for you as well if you just stick to them. Number One: Never give money. Number Two: If you don't know what to give them, give them something they can sell.
"Wait, what? You said to never give money! Isn't money easier than some item they have to load off?"
Whoa! Hold up! Don't get all logical on me now! Christmas isn't about logic. It's about glittery objects, and love. While it seems odd, an item always is received better than money. Sure, money is easy to work with, and solves a lot of issues, but when it comes down to it, money doesn't say Merry Christmas, it says This Is Your Budget. By giving a person money you are putting an immediate value on their friendship. If you give someone 150k for the holidays, you are saying that you are only willing to spend that much on them. If you give them a One Hundred Dubloon Coin for the holidays, you are saying that you figured a beautiful, shiny, useful gold coin was a gift that reminded you of them. The item is better than your allotted holiday allowance. That being said, this brings us to our first tier of gifts...
Easy to Sells
Easy to sell indeed! If you have no idea what to give your friend, and are scared that you may give them a repeat item on accident (a terrible thing that you NEVER want to happen), then buying an ETS item is the best option for you. No one said nay-nay to a paint brush, am I right? The beauty of an ETS item is that your friend MAY have a use for it, and that they are customisable to their interests. Notice your bud has an avatar addiction? Get them a Bag of Peanuts, or Snorkle Snout! Chances are, they may need the item, and if not, both items can sell within minutes on a good day. Training? Get an expensive dubloon (or several!). Pet fanatic? Get a paint brush and send it over! Easy to sell items are like money in item form, only better, because you haven't handed your friend a cheque (very tacky).
Items of Interest
The Items of Interest category is the gift idea for individual who is willing to shop around. I don't just mean glance at a few stores, I mean digging deep! If you're friends with someone who is well off and can buy just about anything, the idea of tossing an ETS gift their way, or something petty seems just... sad. Those who have wealth are sometimes the hardest to buy for, especially if their gallery is complete and (ahem) they want nothing. This tough to buy for person has inspired and challenged me each year to delve within the caves of the Trading Post, and user run item lists, to find the best gift possible. Indeed I have given some strange, and truly obscure gifts, but the reward of utter shock and joy is what drives me to do it! In fact, by digging deeper, you may find that their gallery is not complete at all! One great category of interesting items is the TCG. You never know what you will find, and oftentimes reading the description will let you in on more than just the image! Such items like TCG cards, and strange old retired items that are sitting in someone's attic collecting dust, are the perfect gift for the hard to buy for person that has it all.
Ah the ever loved wishlist. Despite the fact that it's THE perfect place to get gift ideas from, it's also a real gamble, especially if the wishlist is tiny. Do you buy from it and risk multiples? If the wishlist is just giant, then yes, buy from it! Try and choose an item that won't be grabbed by everyone else. Sometimes this means going more expensive! If it seems like a hard to sell item you can probably haggle the seller to a decent price as long as you're polite and still fair. If the wishlist is very small, then don't buy from it. It's hard to collaborate with other friends on what to buy and what not to buy, and if you aren't one of the closest best friends, you're probably going to be one of the duplicates. So what do you do? Buy related items! If your friend is wanting a certain colour paint brush, find the matching colour brush for their pet's soon to be petpet.
Thoughtful gifts are items that your friend never mentioned, but can still appreciate. Normally they fall under gallery items, and are usually not the first thing you think of when saying 'gift'. They aren't actively collected, but are always loved when received. A thoughtful gift is carefully considered. My favourite thing to do is to start with the pets. Not items FOR the pets, but items about the pets! Neopia has a nice selection of plushies, and while many colours aren't yet covered, finding your friend's pet's plush-likeness is a cute idea and very sweet gift. Items like these are the perfect thoughtful gift.
In Neopia's economy today, investments are a wonderful idea as gifts when all else has failed. The best investments are usually collectable, and absolutely adorable in looks. Items that come from code redeems are usually the best choice, especially if they are books or one use items. Choose an item or two that you feel will one day skyrocket, and send them over! Chances are your friend may already think they're cute, and will have wanted them anyways. If not, they have a newfound deposit box addition that will benefit them in years, sometimes months!
If you are a friend with access to NeoCash Cards and can obtain gift boxes, NC gifts are certainly a great idea! Just, try and stay away from capsules, okay? If your friend is a collector of them, a capsule is a great idea, but if they are trying for a LE, then it's more likely to bring swift disappointment than continuing joy. A better gift is the retiring item they are eyeing, or the LE from the capsule itself. If they have a wishlist, gander through it and pick out an item they'll use and love. NeoCash is the one time when wishlist gifts are nearly guaranteed! Oh, and before you gift, check their album first. If they already have it, you need to search for something new!
Still don't know what to buy? Here is a list of items you really can't go wrong with...
Paint brushes, dubloons, codestones, gourmets their pet hasn't eaten, Prickly Potion, petpetpets, lab ray pieces, books, nerkmids, and avatar items.
Finding a gift during the holidays can be difficult and worrisome, but with a little prepping and thought, you can get an amazing gift for each of your friends, within budget. Good luck, and Happy Holidays!
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