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Are you stumped on what to get that hard-to-shop-for person on your list? Check out the Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Every Personality!

Can you handle a personal, holiday truth? I REALLY struggle with receiving gifts.

I know! I’m weird! Most people think that CHOOSING a gift is the difficult part, but man… for me, receiving gifts is SO STRESSFUL!

See, a) receiving gifts is WAY not my Love Language, and b) I’m REALLY hard to buy for because I am VERY particular about what I like and need! (I try to be gracious! Really, I do!)

Now, I feel quite certain you have someone in your life who is a lot like me. They’re hard to buy for, they don’t ever seem excited about what you did buy, or their disappointment is written all over their face. They don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but it’s hard to not take it personally.

So, in order to save both you and your intended gift-recipient an incredibly awkward moment this holiday season, here are my best gift-giving tips based on each of the four Personality types: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, & Phlegmatic. (If those words are completely unfamiliar to you, or you aren’t sure how to recognize each Personality type, be sure to check out this Overview of The Personalities to get started or review, then come back here for the good stuff!)

Are you stumped on what to get that hard-to-shop-for person on your list? Check out the Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Every Personality!

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Every Personality

The bottom-line here is that each Personality type has a specific set of Emotional Needs that are most important for them. If we choose gifts with the intention of filling those Emotional Needs, we really can’t go wrong!

Not sure what those Emotional Needs are? Hop over to this post to get the full scoop!

Have you ever screamed in frustration, "I just don't UNDERSTAND them!" If so, it's time to learn about The Personalities -- the easiest to use personality typing system, designed to improve your relationships!

Buying for a Popular Sanguine

The most important Emotional Needs for Sanguines are Attention, Affection, Approval, and Acceptance. They need to know you love and appreciate their quirky, fun-loving selves, so give them your undivided attention, love on them, and use your gift-giving to tell them that you love them just as they are.

Most Sanguines I know love just about ANYTHING that shows you were thinking specifically about THEM when you picked it out. If you know your Sanguine best friend can’t stop talking about all things coffee and Gilmore Girls, and you see a coffee mug on Etsy with a classic Lorelai quote emblazoned on it, snatch it up! You KNOW she’ll LOVE it! 🙂

Quick Gift Guide Tips for Popular Sanguines…

  • Look for something FUN. Cute & fun is ALWAYS a hit for these fun-loving characters. 🙂
  • Pay attention to their preferences! Sanguines are typically VERY vocal about what they like or don’t like. When we pay attention, Sanguines are the easiest type to buy for.
  • Avoid gift cards as they don’t tend to be very exciting to open or immediately “fun.”

Have you ever screamed in frustration, "I just don't UNDERSTAND them!" If so, it's time to learn about The Personalities -- the easiest to use personality typing system, designed to improve your relationships!

Buying for Perfect Melancholies

Melancholies can be one of the more difficult-to-buy-for Personality types, simply because they tend to be much more closed in general than the Popular Sanguines. Where a Sanguine tends to be loud and open about everything that pops into his or her head, a Melancholy tends to keep their thoughts and preferences more close to the vest.

However, Melancholies desperately need Support and Sensitivity. Which means they NEED you to pay particular attention to the small clues they drop about the things they do like and appreciate. If you have spent time getting to know your Melancholy and discovering their preferences, your gift choice stands a good chance of meeting their Emotional Needs.

Melancholies also have deep-seated needs for Space and Silence. Anything you can give them that will allow them alone time to recharge will definitely be appreciated. Bonus: finding gifts to meet the Space & Silence emotional needs will likely be MUCH easier for you, especially if this Melancholy is not one you know particularly well.

Quick Gift Guide Tips for Melancholies…

  • LISTEN all year long. Chances are the Melancholies in your world have hinted at things they would really like. When you hear them mention something they would love to have, make a note, then use the idea at gift-giving time. Show you have been listening to them!
  • Gift cards for something quiet & restorative are GREAT. Gift cards for Starbucks (coffee date alone with a good book!), a massage, a spa day, free babysitting, etc., would all allow dedicated time alone for your Melancholy.
  • Avoid gag gifts, unless you know FOR SURE your Melancholy would appreciate it.

Have you ever screamed in frustration, "I just don't UNDERSTAND them!" If so, it's time to learn about The Personalities -- the easiest to use personality typing system, designed to improve your relationships!

Buying for Powerful Cholerics

Everything about Cholerics demonstrates their need for Loyalty, a Sense of Control, Appreciation, and Credit for Their Work. The gifts they appreciate most also reflect those emotional needs. Gifts of choice — like gift cards to a favorite specialty shop — or gifts that help them accomplish their goals are wonderful for Cholerics.

Also, Cholerics do not tend to be the touchy-feely types, so fluffy or frilly or overly sentimental gifts don’t tend to go over as well as things that are more practical. When shopping for a Choleric, think pretty AND functional, think appreciative AND practical. If your Choleric has a deep love of sticky notes and smooth-writing pens, find a way to wrap up those practical items in a way that is both fun and showing appreciation for all they do. (Cholerics tend to equate value with productivity, so showing that you appreciate what they DO is a sure way to meet their Emotional Needs.)

Quick Gift Guide Tips for Cholerics…

  • Look for something PRACTICAL. Cholerics, on the whole, don’t tend to appreciate trinkets or “World’s Best XYZ” paraphernalia. They’re very practical and like their stuff to be practical, as well. To show appreciation for all they do, think of something useful that will meet a need they currently have or reflect back the work they’ve done.
  • Include a note of appreciation. With whatever gift you choose, you can meet the Choleric’s need for appreciation and credit for their work in a sincere and specific note to accompany the gift. (Be forewarned: they may not KEEP the card, but they WILL appreciate the recognition for all they do!)
  • Avoid trinkets.

Have you ever screamed in frustration, "I just don't UNDERSTAND them!" If so, it's time to learn about The Personalities -- the easiest to use personality typing system, designed to improve your relationships!

Buying for Peaceful Phlegmatics

Phlegmatics long for peace & quiet, a feeling of worth, lack of stress, and respect for who they ARE, not what they DO. (The exact opposite of the Cholerics we just talked about.)

Because they are introverts, like Melancholies, it may be difficult to uncover what your Phlegmatic would really like to receive. Often times they truly don’t care about much, and they don’t tend to be very vocal about their preferences. You may have to do some digging or ask some very pointed questions about the things you observe.

For example, you could say, “I see you have a bunch of mystery novels on your bookshelf. Are you a big mystery fan?” It could be that they really do like mysteries. It could ALSO be that someone THINKS they like mysteries and therefore keeps GIVING them mystery books, but they really DON’T care for mysteries at all and have just never bothered to correct them! Be sure you know which is true!

Quick Gift Guide Tips for Phlegmatics…

  • Look for something PERSONAL. Show your Phlegmatic you love and appreciate who they ARE, not what they DO.
  • Take time to uncover their passion. Most Phlegmatics really do have one or two things they REALLY love. Take the time to uncover those things, so you can make your gift choices as personal as possible.
  • Avoid self-help or self-improvement type gifts or anything that could even possibly make them think you want them to change.

Are you stumped on what to get that hard-to-shop-for person on your list? Check out the Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Every Personality!

Do you have some good ideas now?

Choosing gifts for some people really can be challenging — especially if you don’t know them extremely well or if they are just super picky (*ahem*… like me… *cough*). However, by figuring out their primary (and possibly secondary) Personalities, along with the corresponding Emotional Needs, we stand a much better chance of gifting them something they will truly love.

I know it’s not easy to remember all these Emotional Needs and tips while you’re actually out shopping or away from this post, so I’ve put together a quick cheat sheet for you! It’s just one sheet of paper that can be easily folded down to fit in your purse or pocket for easy access.

➡ Not sure what Personality type your hard-to-buy-for person is? Take a quick look at your cheatsheet’s “Recognize by” section to get an educated guess in place!

➡ Need a few more clues to solidify your best guess? Check out the “Characteristics” overview to see a few of each type’s strengths & weaknesses!

➡ Can’t remember the Emotional Needs for that person’s Personality? The top 4 for each type are listed right on the cheatsheet!

Once you’ve been using The Personalities for a while, knowing how to recognize types and remember their Emotional Needs will become second nature, but it DOES take some practice. This cheat sheet will help you get your holiday shopping done AND improve your relationships one step at a time. ?


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As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.

6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Every Personality

    • Thank you, Elise! Yes, the whole goal of understanding The Personalities is to put the focus on the relationship and the individual. Any tools we can find to help us better relate with one another is SO valuable, but The Personalities is by FAR my favorite! 🙂

  1. Loved this whole article!
    So, which are you?!
    I’m going to get the cheatsheet to figure out which I am. I’m leaning toward Melancholic, but I’m not sure…

    • I’m so glad you’re grabbing the Cheatsheet and enjoyed the article, Jenn! The Personalities is definitely one of my favorite subjects to talk about. 🙂 I’m a Melancholy/Choleric — it’s about a 50/50 split, but I’m definitely an Introvert, so Melancholy is my primary Personality. If you REALLY want to discover your type, check out the book Wired That Way! It’s AWESOME, plus it has the complete profile in the back that you can take! 🙂

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