For me, the sweet spot for a gift is when you can use it to show that you’ve paid attention to what the person needs or cares about. Not because you want to be smug or feel good about yourself, but because as the receiver of a gift, it feels good to be seen.
Most years, I only give gifts to family, which certainly makes this easier. In recent years, I also pick an annual formula, for example, everyone gets a book or everyone gets a T-shirt.
This year, everyone got a donation to something they care about plus a token to unwrap.
Each of these gifts says:
There’s no perfect formula for gift giving, but I find using it as an opportunity to say “I see you” is a useful principle.