Is there someone in your life who is hard to shop for? Or are YOU hard to shop for? I’ve been thinking about that this month. Despite the joy I get in creating Gift Guides, I would say gifts are not my love language — either giving or receiving. And sometimes during December, I end up feeling like I’m buying a gift just so I can mark it off my list, instead of choosing something really thoughtful.

So I adore when people make it easy to gift to them. I love registries and I love wishlists. I love Pinterest boards labeled “coveting now.” I love when I have a solid sense of what someone wants so that I know the gift I’m giving is wanted, and won’t be a burden.

Along those lines, I feel like I’ve struck gold when I find out someone on my gift list is a collector. I put collections in the category of Add-on Gifts — predictable but very appreciated gifts that you can add to every year. For example, when I was in college, I realized my Grandma Lucille loved tiny things (like miniatures). It made it so much easier to pick out something for her. And I would notice possible gifts for Grandma Lucille all year long; anytime I saw something tiny, I’d think of her.

Items I include in the Add-on Gift Category:

– An annual ornament for the Christmas tree. Hallmark, Lenox, and Waterford are all popular options, but you don’t have to choose something with a year on it; it could be any sort of ornament. Maybe something to remind the recipient of a family vacation that year.

– An annual holiday book.

– A subscription that’s renewed every January (here are some of my favorite subscriptions to give).

– Board Games or Puzzles — choose a new one each year.

– For kids, if they’re into Lego, Playmobil, wooden train sets, or Barbie, those all make great add-on gifts for birthdays or holidays or anytime. (Though be aware, the interest may only last for a limited amount of years.)

– Collections. This could be something fancy, like Lladro, or a specific china pattern, or silverware. I always love an an addition to my pewter dishes. And my mother collects Spode Christmas dishes — I know I can always add to her stash. (When I see holiday dishware, it makes me want to host a Hot Cocoa Bar. Anyone else?)

– Or a collection might be more casual — like someone might really love all things owl (owl figurines, owl dolls, owl jewelry, owl tote bags, etc.).

– Another great collection idea for kids or families is Schleich Animals. They’re beautifully made, they look realistic, there’s a ton to choose from (wild life, farm animals, sea life), and they average about $6 each. Some are available as sets, though I prefer collecting them one at a time as singles. You can gift one on each birthday or holiday or on any significant day. Maybe a new one in their stocking each year? Or in their Easter basket? They’re also great to gift as a vacation souvenir — we bought a Schleich moose on our family trip to Norway. They’re available online, but if you can find a local toy shop that carries Schleich, they’re more fun to pick out in person.

– Non-holiday books in a specific category, like my own add-on collection of Caldecott Books.

– Another add-on gift at our house, that I mentioned earlier this week, is our Fontanini Nativity Set

Do you have opinions about add-on gifts? Do you like to give them? Do you like to receive them? Any favorite add-on collections at your house? Would you say gifts are one of your love languages? Do you like shopping from gift registries? Or do you find them irritating? 

P.S. — My gift guides are especially good this year if I do say so myself. Check them out if you need ideas.