I had only one thought when I stumbled upon Gifts.com: “Sweet Jesus, I’m saved!”
Usually I’m a pretty creative gift-giver. Birthdays and anniversaries do not daunt me. Then Christmas finds me clutching a “nice” list that stretches for miles, trying to avoid an angry mall crowd bound to test the heartiest of shoppers.
I don’t want my favorite people to have just anything, either. Mine need the perfect gift, the gift that says I know them well enough to choose something they’ll enjoy and looks expensive enough to say I care. By the time I’ve checked off every last name, the huge headache hardly seems worth it.
Luckily, I’m not the only one who feels this way. In 2005, Gifts.com launched as a business under InterActiveCorp. Gifts.com does not sell merchandise; they are solely a free service site dedicated to helping you find the “aha!” gift.
Better than Amazon.com and others like it, Gifts.com offers a personal level that the “things you may also like” widget can never touch. Visitors shop four different ways: by category, occasion, recipient, or personality.
If your best friend is going abroad next semester, you already know you want something to do with travel. Click on ‘Category’ and sort through gifts listed as travel-related until you find what you need.
‘Occasion’ isn’t hard to figure out. Every seasonal holiday known is available for browsing. You may, however, find many new holidays you never dreamed existed. I can only guess who came up with National Bosses Day (October 16th), but who decided October 18th was Sweetest Day? More importantly, what is Sweetest Day? According to the Web site it is another chance to show your sweetheart you love them – because clearly Valentine’s Day isn’t enough. The point is, if there is a special day, you’ll find something for it here.
Even if you know the person well, you may not always have an idea what you should get them. Gifts.com provides a ‘recipient’ filter for such situations. From there you can browse through popular gift items, Top Gift Guru Picks, or refine your search by age and interest.
The most ingenious facet of Gifts.com is their interactive ‘Personality Profiler’. First choose a gender and an age group from preschool to senior. Answer four to six multiple-choice questions about what your recipient does with their weekends, what their favorite foods are, and what activities they do most often. The Gift Gurus will then categorize your friend with a cute animated version of their personality based on your responses.
In the female, young adult profiler, I’m a “Hipster.” My profile gives famous examples of personalities like mine, theoretical morning routines, reading lists, and clothing styles so you can see if this profile is a good match for me. Beyond that are a dangerous variety of things I never knew I wanted until I saw them on the site, like the desk-sized world time clock. Each grove on the barrel-shaped face has the name of a major international city. James Bond probably owns one; why shouldn’t I?
Through a few friend trials, I’ve found the age groups run a bit younger than they describe. If your son is in college, better click “young adult” just to be safe. He’ll appreciate it when he opens a “USB roll-up drum kit” instead of those “instant incognito ban sunglasses.”
Bargain hunters never fear. Every product page on this site compares prices from different online stores that carry the same product and similar items. When you know what you want, scroll down and follow the link with the best price.
Remember, though, you’re shopping through Gifts.com, so ultimately you must buy your product from the original vendor. Cool things like combined shipping rates and a faster shipping time do not necessarily apply just because you found it all on Gifts.com. It’s a small inconvenience, however, for the tireless source of great gift ideas at your fingertips.
Gifts.com is a clean, easy-to-use site that deserves recognition. The attention to detail is flawless and, even then, they are still adding features. I’ve noticed more personalities and interest categories since the last time I visited a few months ago. They now include a database where you can save the recipient profiles you create so next time you are taken straight to the best recommendations. E-mail reminders of important dates will keep you from forgetting your girlfriend’s birthday ever again.
Think of me this holiday season while you’re hurtling through the department store like a quarterback, clutching your prize tight to avoid theft. I’ll be in my pajamas and lion slippers effortlessly finding the perfect gift. I can drink my large cup of hot coffee and still be finished first. Cheers!