Right after I asked my boyfriend what he wanted for his birthday, he told me, “You don’t have to get me anything.” Contrary to his words, I took this as a quest to get him the best present I could lay my hands on.

I spent the first few weeks of October scavenging stores and the internet for ideas. Knowing so much about my boyfriend made it harder for me to choose something because I couldn’t settle on just one gift and I didn’t have the money for more.

Days later, a miracle happened–one of my classmates was giving away some kittens and he asked if I wanted to keep them. Since I already had a cat, I knew I couldn’t accept the offer for myself–but a lightbulb flickered over my head. What if I gave these kittens to my boyfriend?

Through much convincing with my boyfriend’s dad, I was able to give him the kittens a day before his birthday. Seeing his eyes light up at the sight of the kittens was one of the best feelings I ever felt. Partially because he is someone who I hold close to my heart, while the other part was just the pride I felt in making him happy.

As someone who usually knows what people want for special occasions, I experience the joy and pride in gift-giving quite often. Although I genuinely want to give people presents that would make them happy, giving to others reinforces my bonds with them and makes me feel like a good person.

Now it’s November, which means it’s gift-giving season. In just a few weeks, people will start raiding shops for good deals on toys, laptops, and Kitchenaid stand mixers. But what happens when you can’t find the right present for someone you love?

In most instances, people want to gift something they would feel good about giving. However, it’s important to make sure you don’t subconsciously make or purchase a present that would benefit yourself more than the other person.

Consider the receiver’s interests, personality, wants and needs when giving them a gift. Create something handmade, adopt a pet from the animal shelter, buy a fleece blanket to keep your loved one cozy during those cold winter nights–the possibilities are endless.

Gift-giving can strengthen connections you have with others, and it’s more effective when it comes from the heart. Finding the right gift is mildly stressful, but seeing someone else smile and cherish whatever you give them will be worth it in the end.