Looking For A Christmas Present?

With shopping season in full gear, I began to wonder what the best presents are for your partner. Should you get something you know they want? Maybe something that they have not mentioned that you think they would like? Or would a present that touches their heart be the best? I did not have the answer – so I asked our community …

“What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?”

Our most recent poll shows that most men (42%) prefer a gift “that was a complete surprise” while women (56%) would enjoy a present “that touched my heart”.

So to all you women out there – put your thinking caps on and surprise him with a great find you know he’d like but hasn’t come across yet. While it’s no huge shock that surprises are great presents, keep in mind the meaning behind the gesture when planning. Surprises are great because they show your partner that you care. Surprises require an in-depth knowledge of their likes and dislikes as well as time and planning. So make this holiday special with a surprise for your man.

Now on to men. As I’ve stated in multiple articles, women want to feel cherished; and the holidays are a great time to remind her of your love. Throw a present under the tree that will let her know what she means to you (something inspired by your relationship and your feelings). Not only are you showing your love through the time it takes to plan this little surprise, but it also reaffirms your love and gives her something to look back on and cherish. It’ll mean so much more than all those nice-to-have presents combined!

The holidays are a wonderful time to show your partner you care. You get to spend more time together and think of new and exciting ways to surprise each other! Whether you’re new to romance or have been romantic for years, the holidays provide the perfect opportunities to show you care.

Christmas Presents – It’s Time to Go Shopping

When should you start shopping for Christmas presents? Some people rush out at the last minute, others have already socked away the better part of their planned Christmas presents before school lets out for the summer. But the question remains: What’s best?

Here are a number of advantages to shopping for Christmas presents as early as possible:

  1. Buying early gives you the best chance to get good deals What better opportunity for buying Aunt Hilda (well, actually her poodle) a new purple leather leash or your girlfriend a designer scarf then the going-out-of-business sale at the local pet store or summer clearance at the new boutique? Being on the lookout and buying early really gives you the best chance to get a good deal.
  2. Starting early gives you plenty of time to look for that very special gift The business trip to London in March would have been the best opportunity to stop by Harrod’s and get that perfect gift for your Anglophile sister-in-law. And wouldn’t that nifty crocodile jigsaw puzzle you saw at the zoo last month have been a great gift for your reptile-loving nephew? Rushing out the week before Christmas to look for that one special gift will probably not work as well.
  3. By buying early you can avoid disaster and humiliation If you are an Early Bird you won’t be in the situation where you will have to explain to your three-year old how come Santa didn’t manage to get her a Doodlewing Doll (or whatever the year’s most coveted gift is), even though all her friends at preschool got one. Instead, you will have the lovingly wrapped Doll sitting safely in a closet while your friends still spend whole afternoons on an odyssey through the local malls, desperately hoping to avoid disaster.
  4. Shopping for gifts throughout the year will help you budget properly We all know Christmas can be a big drain on our bank accounts. By buying stuff throughout the year, the expense gets spread more evenly, making it easier to budget. No longer will you stand in the mall in December, wishing you hadn’t splurged on that new DVD-player in October so you wouldn’t have to max out your credit cards now.
  5. Avoid the crowds Yep, here comes one of the biggies. If you are finished with your Christmas shopping in September, you can avoid a trip to the mall the last week before Christmas. Let’s face it, not everyone enjoys the experience of getting crushed by frustrated people while “Jingle Bells” drones on. And if you do enjoy a trip to the stores right before Christmas, you will be much more relaxed if it is just for a look-see and not a necessity.

Clearly, there are many great reasons for getting started early on our Christmas present shopping. So, even if it is still a while to Christmas, maybe it is about time to go out and look for that perfect present for our loved ones.

Negotiation – Getting the Best Deal

The ability to negotiate strongly will determine your success when dealing with others. Today, every price, every condition, every offer is negotiable. Neil Rackham, who wrote Spin Selling 30 years ago says that back then sales involved around 40% negotiation. Today, he estimates it is 90%. When considering a new job, your ability to negotiate will determine the remuneration you receive much more than your qualifications. It is estimated that in the average recruitment interview only five minutes is spent discussing (let alone negotiating) remuneration; yet that discussion could add $5,000 to your salary. Where else could you earn $5,000 for five minutes work? And, of course, you are not just negotiating salary, but also conditions. In these days of more flexible working arrangements and time-poor lifestyles, the conditions you negotiate can impact massively on your quality of life.

Win-Win Improves your Network

Negotiating great deals not only gives you a better outcome, but creates the maximum value for the other party as well. So, as well as rewarding you financially, it also improves your relationships and strengthens your network. Ron Shapiro, lawyer and agent for some of America’s highest-paid sports stars says, “The best way to improve your situation is to improve your network; and the best way to improve your network is to create win-win deals.”


Your ability to bargain strongly will be determined by your research. Use whatever independent authorities you can to give your offer more credibility in the eyes of the other party. Put your offer on the table and sell it – articulating all the benefits for the other side. But, don’t jump in too early. Latest research has shown the later an offer is put forward, the better the final deal is. While it is essential that the other side believes that you have come ready to put an attractive offer on the table; it is important not to do it too soon. The later a first offer is made in the negotiation, the more likely it is that the negotiation will result in a more creative, higher value deal. This is because the second you start bargaining in a negotiation, you stop sharing information, and it is in this sharing of information that each side can identify where they can offer value to the other side.


In negotiation, perception is reality. Clever negotiators work hard to see the negotiation from the other side’s perspective. They recognise that they need to aim for the highest perceived value to the other side. For example, you may take the reliability of your supply as a given as you have never failed to deliver. But for a customer who has been disadvantaged by lack of supply in the past, reliability of supply has very high perceived value. The other side’s priorities are often driven by their past experience. If their past supplier was unreliable, your ability to provide a reliable service will have very high value to them. Smart negotiators ask, “What did you dislike most about your previous arrangement?” then show how it will never happen with them  

Never Give without Getting

A basic principle of negotiating is never give anything without getting something in return. Even if what they are asking for costs you nothing – get something back. Remember, it’s all about perceived value. If you give freely, they won’t value it – and are likely to ask for more.


Good negotiators work hard to create the best deal for the situation – taking the relationship into account. They recognise that in some one-off negotiations where there is no on-going relationship, it is enough to just get the contract signed. But, most importantly, they know that most negotiations are not the end of the relationship – but the start of it. Latest research has shown that up to 70% of negotiated deals fail in their implementation. Smart negotiators never lose sight of this question – what is the point of the negotiation? Surely, it is not just to do a deal, but to implement an agreement that is mutually beneficial for all concerned. Negotiation is a life skill. If you are observant, every day you will see examples of clever win-win outcomes. Learn from these and it will improve every aspect of your life.