Design at Altitude column: Pay attention to details to find the right gift | VailDaily.com

Design at Altitude column: Pay attention to details to find the right gift

I love this time of year, but it's no secret that gift giving can be equal parts rewarding and distressing. This year, I've vowed to be a better gift-giver. I want to give thoughtful, meaningful gifts that won't end up in the re-gift pile or hidden in a closet. (Yes, let's admit it, it's happened to us all — and we all have that re-gift pile.)

I jump-started my gift-giving list back in April when I traveled to Portugal. I love to curate a special list for the special people in my family. Finding just the right gift not only takes time but also takes really knowing the recipient.

Pay attention, look at someone's home — do they like modern, cabin or classic pieces and design? Do they like bold, bright colors, or do they lie in the realm of camel, taupe and beige? What do they wear — are they flamboyant dressers or more into jeans and T-shirts? Do they wear a lot of jewelry or no jewelry; is it high-end or costume pieces? Do they have a special diet?

Before you head out shopping (or logging on to the internet), take the time to jot down some ideas. It will keep you focused. Sometimes, a signature gift is perfect: Do your friends love your home-baked treats? Easy, peasy — make them all a holiday treat.

I do some online shopping, but I am more of a touch-and-feel person. I like to visit the shops and browse. Here's a list of gifts I think friends and family will love … and why. Just like Santa, once the list is made, I will check it twice to make sure the gift is just right for the receiver.

My friend from college is an amazing amateur photographer — she captures everyday scenes and makes them feel special. For her, I am getting a coffee table-sized book about photography and another book with stunning pictures.

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My mother loves to host a party, whether it's an intimate dinner party or extravaganza for all of the neighbors and family. She loves to research recipes and find cute décor and accessories. For her, I am getting Juliska Christmas plates, napkins and candles. It pulls the room together and adds festivity, and I just might add in a new cookbook, too.

For the sporty athlete in my life, I'm getting a super cool water bottle. It keeps the cold drinks cold and promises not to leak. A well-hydrated runner is a fit, fast and happy runner.

For my wine-loving girlfriends, I'm getting a felt wine carrier. It feels very arts-and-craftsy, but in a high-end way. It's the perfect accessory to bring wine to summer picnics or even to one of Vail Mountain's many decks this winter.

We all have that one friend who looks perfect no matter the situation, whether it's a black-tie fete or a party in the field. For her, I am getting a leather-and-fringe purse with a secret power: It charges the smartphone. Cute, fashionable and functional — it's the trifecta of gift giving.

I adore my kids' teachers and want them to know just how much I appreciate all they do. They love the Mariposa trays that are handcrafted and bring just a touch of bling to the dinner table.

I fell in love with these pint and whiskey glasses. They have heft to them, and the gold bike silhouette is just cool. It's perfect for the bachelor who needs a real set of glasses or just to jazz up someone's every glassware.

Finding the right gift is just as fun as receiving it. I hope I gave you a few ideas to get started on your list.

Yvonne Jacobs is the president of Slifer Designs. She's been carefully selecting the perfect gifts for her list of recipients.