Here at 16Personalities, we know that the holidays are about love, togetherness, and gratitude – none of which fit into a gift box. That said, most of us plan to exchange at least a few presents with others this season. How can we choose gifts that our friends and loved ones will enjoy?
Some people think of gift giving as an empty ritual, but when done in the right spirit, it can be a surprisingly meaningful act. And it doesn’t have to be all about consumerism – no matter how many commercials we see this time of year for shiny gadgets, diamond jewelry, and beribboned cars. At its best, gift giving is a way to show the people in our lives that we care about them. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
The trick is to choose presents thoughtfully, so each gift suits the recipient’s personality. By doing this, we give them something they’re likely to use and enjoy – not yet another trinket to gather dust. We also show that we care about their unique interests, preferences, strengths, needs, and desires – in other words, who they really are. Isn’t that what gift giving is really about?
With all of this in mind, here’s our gift guide for every personality type.
Architects aren’t beholden to tradition, so they might not mind forgoing a gift exchange altogether. That said, these personalities can be as delighted by a gift as anyone – particularly if it aligns with their interests.
- Plan a special outing to a favorite museum, place, or event they enjoy. By “plan,” we mean plan: set a date and time, make any necessary reservations, and ensure that there are no loose ends. Letting someone else take care of these details can be a relief for Architects – as long as the details are indeed dealt with. Be sure to tell them about the outing well in advance – Architects are among the types that enjoy surprises least, so providing them with a degree of predictability is always welcome.
- Go for specific rather than generic. If you’re leaning toward a gift certificate, go with a retailer specializing in an interest of theirs rather than a general-purpose superstore. These personalities may have uncommon hobbies and passions that general-purpose superstores don’t cater to.
- Include a gift receipt if possible. Most Architects have very particular likes and dislikes, so don’t take it personally if they exchange your gift for something else.
Logicians enjoy gift giving the least of any Analyst type. Some people with this personality type view gifts as superfluous and irrational. All the same, they might secretly worry about choosing the “right” present for others. When possible, take the pressure off and let them know that you don’t expect them to find you the perfect gift. This frees them up to enjoy whatever you give them all the more.
- Put together a “learning adventure.” A class, lecture, documentary, or even a factory tour can pique Logicians’ curiosity. Moreover, they may enjoy getting out and about more than you’d expect.
- Treat them to “the best” of something simple. A particularly fine chocolate, tea, coffee, or cheese doesn’t have to cost much, but it can provide these personalities with a great deal of enjoyment – particularly if it comes with the opportunity for their curious minds to learn about how it’s made.
- Remove the pressure. If your Logician friend or loved one is daunted by gift giving, ask if they’d prefer to go out for coffee or a meal in lieu of exchanging presents.
Commanders can be difficult to shop for. Opinionated and straight-shooting, they won’t make a fuss over a gift they don’t like. Fortunately, by paying close attention to their favorite things, you stand a good chance of coming up with something they’ll genuinely appreciate.
- Take them to their favorite restaurant. They’ll enjoy the quality time with you, and they’ll appreciate that you deferred to their taste.
- Go with something homemade. A customized gift – for example, a painting or mug with their favorite quote (or even something they’ve said themselves!) – can be much more appealing to these personalities than something generic or off-the-shelf.
- Choose quality over quantity. Commanders don’t expect a plethora of gifts – they’d rather receive one nice thing. In other words, a tiny bottle of truffle oil would probably appeal to them more than a big sampler of less exquisite oils.
When picking out gifts for Debaters, keep in mind that they tend to enjoy extremes. Among all personality types, Debaters are the most likely to enjoy spicy food and seek adrenaline highs, and they even report being able to handle unusually hot and cold temperatures better than most people. Debaters are also highly likely to say that “staying unique” is important to them. The upshot? Steer clear of cookie-cutter gifts for these types.
- Create a novel experience. Take them somewhere they’ve never been – the more off-the-wall, the better. For ideas, check out reviews on local blogs. Whether it’s a restaurant that blindfolds its patrons or a new extreme sporting center, look for something memorable and exciting.
- Ignore lists of “the top 10 gifts this holiday season.” Instead, go for specialty items that wouldn’t appeal to most people. Most Debaters would prefer to receive something like the world’s spiciest hot sauce rather than a tie clip or a scented candle.
- Stick with money or gift cards if you can’t come up with an idea that feels right. Many Debaters report spending more than they “should,” and gifts of cash enable them to treat themselves guilt-free.
Sixty percent of Advocates say the holidays are their favorite time of the year – more than any other personality type. With this much holiday cheer, it’s a safe bet that they feel some excitement about gift giving. But for these types, the best present isn’t the one with the fanciest packaging or the biggest price tag – it’s the one that’s given with the most thought and care.
- Bring their favorite book to life. Advocates are more likely than any other personality type to describe themselves as “avid readers.” What could be better than bringing their favorite book to life? If they love Harry Potter, you could bedeck your home (or theirs!) with Hogwarts decor, don your Gryffindor gear (or Slytherin – we won’t judge), and serve butterbeer and a replica of Hagrid’s birthday cake.
- Seek out a vintage, upcycled, or repurposed gift. Advocates are the most likely type to report being passionate about environmental issues and recycling. As a result, they appreciate the reduced ecological burden of a gift that doesn’t come straight off the assembly line.
- Include a card. Even if you’re not sure what to say, it can mean a great deal to Advocates when you take the time to express your gratitude for them with a thoughtful card.
It’s hard to find a more grateful recipient than a Mediator. Whether or not they remember to write a thank-you note, these personalities appreciate the love and thought that goes into every gift. That said, Mediators find it harder to throw things away than any other type, so take care to get them something they’ll use and enjoy – rather than merely hold on to.
- Promote stress relief. Mediators are the least likely personality type to say that they effectively manage the stress in their lives. Treat them to a relaxing experience – whether that’s a picnic in the park, a stargazing outing, or a massage at the spa.
- Focus on their creativity. Many Mediators have creative ambitions, but – alas – the realities of daily life can get in the way. Giving them a gift certificate for an art class, writing workshop, or private music lesson can help them get their groove back – and boost their self-esteem.
- Offer an act of service. Of all personality types, Mediators find it the most difficult to ask for help. Create vouchers for home-cooked meals, babysitting, or even help organizing a closet – whatever seems most helpful for your Mediator friend or loved one. These activities might seem boring or pragmatic (or even presumptuous), but they can make all the difference for a stressed-out Mediator.
Protagonists care so much about helping others that they may forget to take care of themselves. Fortunately, there are many gifts that can help these personalities get the self-care they need, pursue their side passions, and find a little extra enjoyment in their daily lives.
- Sweat it out. Protagonists are the most likely type to say that physical activity boosts their self-confidence and helps them relieve stress. If you’re able, consider taking them on a strenuous hike (complete with plenty of snacks and water!), or treat them to a private session with a trainer or yoga teacher.
- Support their quirky interests. These personality types may come across as serious and high-minded, but they have a quirky side too. Protagonists are the most likely type to love houseplants, so a potted snake plant, bromeliad, or African violet can be an unexpected, fun gift. Other typical Protagonist favorites include singing, dancing, and journaling, which means that a karaoke night, dance lesson, or nice notebook could be good choices.
- Think about nature. Protagonists love spending time in nature, so when in doubt, treat them to experiences or gifts that evoke the natural world – whether that’s a terrarium, a framed photograph of a nearby waterfall, or an outing to a beautiful park.
Campaigners will thank you effusively for pretty much any gift – and they’ll mean it. As long as it’s presented with a meaningful backstory, these personalities could probably get excited over a gift of a leaf or a rock. Still, Campaigners appreciate the extra thought that goes into picking presents that really suit them.
- Do a project together. Among all personality types, Campaigners are the most likely to say that being creative is a big part of who they are. Get some supplies and help them create a mural in their bedroom, make an outfit from scratch, or even put together a short film. Campaigners enjoy surprises more than any other type, so don’t be afraid to choose a project without consulting them first.
- Make life easier. Consider gifts that help Campaigners’ daily lives go a little smoother. For example, if their phone battery is always dying, get them an external battery pack, or if they struggle to keep their home neat, consider treating them to a visit from a housekeeper. Although these gifts may not seem exciting, they’re thoughtful and helpful in ways that Campaigners will appreciate.
- Donate to charity. If you’re really stumped, take any money you’d spend on a gift and donate it to a charity they love. Campaigners are among the personality types most interested in charitable giving.
Among all personality types, Logisticians least enjoy surprises. (They slightly edge out Architects in this respect.) More than 71% of these types prefer to live in a simple, minimalistic home, so typical knickknacky gifts rarely appeal to them. Fortunately, with a little thought and effort, you can use your creativity to choose presents the Logisticians in your life will appreciate.
- Go back in time. Beneath their pragmatic exteriors, Logisticians can be surprisingly nostalgic. Experiences that remind them of happy days from their youth can delight them. If you know them well, consider re-creating a favorite childhood meal of theirs or taking them to a place they enjoyed visiting as a kid.
- Offer something useful. Believe it or not, many Logisticians would prefer to receive a shirt that fits them well over tickets to a Taylor Swift concert. Don’t shy away from giving them something that seems unglamorous, especially if it’s immediately useful. Consumable gifts, including food and beverages, are welcome to many Logisticians.
- Don’t spring anything too jarring on them. Spur-of-the-moment trips, for example, are likely to overwhelm these personalities rather than delight them.
Presenting a Defender with an unexpected gift can be risky. In general, these personality types prefer sticking with things they know and love. If you’re hoping to convert a Defender to wearing a fitness tracker or trying a new activity, don’t advance your agenda with a gift unless they’ve already expressed interest. A better bet is to offer these types something you know they’d enjoy – but might not treat themselves with.
- Plan a delightful night in. Defenders can be homebodies. In fact, they enjoy staying in more than any other type. Quality time matters to them, so consider planning a relaxing evening complete with a nice home-cooked meal – and, if you can swing it, cocoa in front of the fire. Alternatively, if you think they’d enjoy pampering, consider booking a massage therapist who makes home visits.
- Don’t break the bank. Defenders are the most frugal personality type. Sure, they might enjoy being spoiled from time to time, but don’t assume that expensive gifts will impress them more than something simple. Instead, consider gifts to help them create a tranquil, welcoming atmosphere at home – whether that’s a snuggly blanket or a box of loose-leaf tea. These types also enjoy handmade presents, appreciating the time and effort involved in creating something from scratch.
- Wrap it nicely. With Defenders, details matter. If you’re presenting them with a physical gift, take a few minutes to wrap it neatly. Bonus points if you use holiday-themed gift paper and add a coordinating bow or ribbon.
At times, it can seem as if Executives already have everything they need. Ambitious and self-reliant, these types exude having it together-ness. That said, even Executives find pleasure in unwrapping a gift – as long as it’s been chosen with their personality type in mind.
- Heat up the competition. Executives love activities with a competitive edge. Take them on an outing where they can indulge this side of their personality – try a golf course, an escape room, or a racetrack that lets you drive your own car.
- Keep it up-to-date. Executives follow the news more closely than any other personality type. Consider giving them a subscription to their favorite magazine, newspaper, or news website. Or, if they’re interested in politics, you could buy them tickets to a fund-raiser for a politician they admire.
- Aim high. Executives appreciate the finer things in life. By no means do you need to spend a lot of money on their gift, but when possible, keep in mind their preference for quality over quantity. In other words, a single serving of kopi luwak might excite them more than a five-pound bag of ordinary coffee.
Upbeat and social, most Consuls love the holiday season. These personalities take great joy in hosting friends and family, observing beloved traditions, and spreading good cheer. Bearing these traits in mind, it’s easy to choose gifts to warm a Consul’s heart.
- Preserve memories. Consuls love looking back on happy times. In our research, they’re among the personality types who most enjoy going through old photos. Gather a group of friends and/or family, and set up a photo shoot with a local photographer (or a friend who’s good with a camera). Frame the best shots as gifts for the Consul. Even better: send the image files as well.
- Help them become the hosts with the most. Consuls love throwing get-togethers, and they’re delighted with gifts oriented toward hosting and throwing parties, such as gourmet foods, tableware, candles, grilling skewers, or strings of outdoor lights.
- Go with the classics. Gift giving isn’t the best time to expose Consuls to something totally new or out of left field. When in doubt, go with timeless styles and classic gifts – perhaps stationery, jewelry, or (if appropriate) wine – rather than trends. If you know the recipient well, stick with gifts that closely match their interests.
Virtuosos are no-nonsense, straight-shooting types who aren’t afraid to let you know what they think. On the one hand, this means that if they don’t like a gift, they probably won’t sugarcoat their reaction. On the other, their openness means that you probably have a clear sense of their passions and obsessions – and this knowledge is exactly what you’ll need to choose a gift for these personalities.
- Being solitary is okay. As Introverts, these types aren’t afraid of alone time. In fact, more than half of Virtuosos prefer to go alone to unfamiliar places. If your gift is an experience – for example, a ticket to see their favorite comedian – it’s totally fine to ask whether they’d prefer to go by themselves or with you.
- Stick with their obsessions. Most Virtuosos have specific activities, hobbies, or pursuits that spark their passion. Whether or not these interests relate to what they study in school or do for a living, Virtuosos probably spend significant time and energy developing mastery in these areas. When choosing gifts, think about tools, training, or gift certificates to help them advance in their favorite activities.
- Keep it simple. Don’t be afraid to give a small, token present rather than a large one. Virtuosos are eminently practical, and they won’t be offended by a simple gift. In the same vein, they’re totally fine with receiving cash or a gift card rather than something more personalized.
Many Adventurers have a deep appreciation for beautiful things and places. Of course, beauty means different things to different people. By noting what the Adventurer in your life finds beautiful, you can give them a gift they’ll treasure.
- Get back to the land. Adventurers enjoy rural landscapes more than any other personality type. If you’d like to give an experience as your gift, consider activities like horseback riding, cross-country skiing, plein air drawing or painting, or a tour of a winery or farm.
- Go for the hygge. Hygge – a Danish term for coziness and contentment – is incredibly appealing for Adventurers. Consider gifts to help these types enjoy more hygge in their lives, such as cozy blankets, soft sweaters, candles, essential oils, slippers, baked goods, or tea.
- Give with love. Adventurers care more about the spirit in which a gift is given than the gift itself. As you hand them their present, offer a few words about how much you appreciate them. These types will be touched – no matter what’s inside the wrapping paper.
Energetic and spontaneous, Entrepreneurs love receiving experiences as gifts. Even if you don’t know them particularly well, consider taking them somewhere fun rather than handing them a wrapped gift. This isn’t always possible, of course. If you’re not able to join them in person, send a gift that creates an experience, such as a specialty food or beverage.
- Take them out to the ball game. Entrepreneurs are the personality type most likely to love sports. Consider taking them to a sporting event – whether it’s a popular sport like football or soccer or something more unusual, like table tennis or curling.
- Seek excitement. High-adrenaline activities are Entrepreneurs’ jam. Rock climbing, whitewater rafting, archery lessons, mountainboarding, and snowboarding are just some activities they might enjoy trying. Or, if they already love one of these activities, they might appreciate some relevant gear.
- Think exploration. Entrepreneurs are Explorers, after all. Treat them to dinner in an unfamiliar city, or if appropriate, take them on a bar crawl (or a dessert crawl, coffee crawl, or even a hot wings crawl – whatever you think they’d enjoy). If you’re not able to be with them in person, send a tasting flight of a particular food or beverage, such as chocolates or coffees from different origins.
Entertainers love the fun and excitement of opening up a gift. It’s hard to go wrong with these personalities, especially when you choose a gift that suits their adventurous style and characteristic flair.
- Live it up. Take your Entertainer friend or loved one out on the town. Karaoke and dancing are among these types’ favorite ways to spend an evening. Another good bet is to give them tickets to a performance you think they’d enjoy.
- Stay on trend. If you’re giving a boxed gift, look for items no one else will have – whether that’s a handmade mug with an unusual design, a piece of statement jewelry, or the coolest new lipstick color. When in doubt, go for something wild over something bland.
- Have fun. With their generosity and high spirits, Entertainers remind us that exchanging gifts shouldn’t feel like dental surgery. Try to find the pleasurable side of choosing gifts rather than fretting over the details.
We at 16Personalities wish you a festive holiday season, complete with good food, fond memories, and plenty of time to share with the people who matter to you. Although this gift guide is by no means exhaustive, we hope it’s given you fun and unexpected ideas. More importantly, we hope it’s taken some pressure off your shoulders. Remember, exchanging gifts isn’t about finding the perfect thing to get someone – it’s about the appreciation and affection we feel for the people in our lives.