Throughout the year there are a number of birthdays, anniversaries or other events that call for a family gift idea. If you have a large family you will be faced with a gift-giving occasion at least once every few weeks: an uncle's birthday, your cousin getting his diploma, your godparents' wedding anniversary.
Buying gifts for relatives that are not part of your immediate family can be quite challenging and much more difficult than buying for your parents or siblings: Most likely, you are not as familiar with your relatives' likes and dislikes, their hobbies and interests and any other factors impacting your gift-giving choices as you will be with your closest family. Yet on the other hand, this is still family, so expectations are very high for you to give at least adequate presents.
However, coming up with a meaningful family gift idea that makes a good impression does not have to be the cause of headaches if you just remember a few simple things. If you are in any doubt at all, it is probably best to treat family gifts just like business gifts: it is better to make it slightly less personal than to risk causing offense.
So whether you are buying gifts for an aunt or uncle, cousins or your in-laws, keep it simple but try to add a small personal touch. Of course, if you are very close and therefore familiar with the character of the person you are buying a gift for you have lots more options. In general though, you are best advised to avoid anything controversial like gag gifts or things that not everybody enjoys, such as alcohol or particular foods.
If you are looking for gift ideas for a couple, such as your parents-in-law or your godparents, you might want to consider a gift for the whole family: an invitation to dinner (whether at home or in a restaurant), a joint trip to the movies or the theatre, or a weekend outing as a family - spending time together with the clan is almost always appreciated.
Another great family gift idea are family memorabilia: picture frames with photographs of your family, a photo album, a piece of art by you or a family member. If you know the style a little bit, you could opt for timeless gift ideas such as an art print or various items of home decor. You cannot usually go wrong with these gifts, as long as you go for something high quality and stylish. Avoid anything too fancy or too unusual, unless you are absolutely sure they will be appreciated. Not everybody enjoys leopard-print pillow cases.
If you are still unsure about what would make a great gift for relatives, maybe because your family members are rather difficult to buy for because of their peculiar likes, don't feel pressurized to give something personal. In this case, giving gift certificates or vouchers might be a much better option than buying something halfheartedly which will end up being re-gifted. There is no shame in admitting that you found it difficult to come up with something, so just make a point of your struggle and state that you would rather leave the choice up to them than to buy something just for the sake of giving a wrapped up present. You might even want to consider using it as a way to get to know them better. You could write a note in your gift card, asking them to join you for dinner at your house one evening to get to know each other better, so that next time you won't have to give them a gift certificate. No doubt that this will be very much appreciated, as it demonstrates that you did in fact put a lot of thought into your gift.