Sometimes it really is just the thought that counts.
No matter the time of year we are called upon to give gifts for any number of occasions. With the holiday season that has just passed, before we know it, it will be Valentine’s Day, Easter, and if you are like me you will have more birthdays, weddings, and special occasions then you know what to do with. I actually have to schedule time for myself, even if it is to relax. I know it’s insane.
That is not to say I am not a giver. When it comes to giving someone a good gift, I have to say I am the best. I am not beating my own drum here. It is true. And the good news is I can teach it to you too.
When I have to plan an event for a special day or even a holiday I thrive on thinking of ways to make it better, different than the last time, and more meaningful towards the recipient. No I am not sitting down wracking my brain for ideas. I have sort of a knack for it. Something will pop into my brain, maybe it’s triggered by something I see or hear. Maybe it is a flashback to something I remember them saying. I am very observant and always bookmarking what I know will be a wonderful gift or surprise for someone some day. Even if that day is years away.
Since words are so important to me and the foundation of my heart, I choose them wisely. It all starts with the right card. Yes I am one of those people who still believe in giving an actual card that I purchased in a store and if you care at all you will spend the dollar and a half it costs to get me one. If you can’t manage to do that, and I should add on time, don’t bother. Again it is the thought.
After I have the right card all filled out with a touching message it is on to the gift.
Inspiration can come from anywhere but I swear when I want to think of what to get or need to finish a project I just need to clear the noise in my head and focus. If I listen close enough my instincts will come through, my gut is never wrong.
Lately I have been impressed by my own talent. I have taken my level of creativity beyond gift ideas, past wrapping, to descriptive messages embedded on them.
The real challenges come when you are giving gifts to the same people every year like family and friends, and trying to find new things to get someone who has appears to have everything (because they know you :)).
The way I figure it, there are three main categories of gifts. Gifts are usually based on closeness of relationship, special/type of occasion, and price. When we consider what we are buying we must first consider whom we are buying for. It is someone that we are very close to or is this an acquaintance? Is this for a birthday or a special anniversary? Are you limited in your budget or is the sky the limit?
Once you have established these parameters for yourself your job is half way done. Now comes the fun part, you get to be creative.
For a clear guide I will use a recent gift giving exchange I used this Christmas as an example.
My father can be a hard person to shop for; he doesn’t really have a hobby or something he collects. So I always start thinking way ahead of time before Father’s Day, his birthday, or Christmas to try to come up with something good.
I like to get gifts that have meaning, preserve memories, but also give someone an experience that they may have not had otherwise. This last one is a crucial rule in my book.
Getting back to my father, for Father’s Day I got tickets for us to spend the day touring the historic Greenwood Cemetery (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2012/05/for-entrance-into-pearly-gates.html). This was perfect. Not only was it moderately priced, it was a chance for us to spend time together, and was a way to highlight the shows I find him watching on the History Channel.
This past Christmas I wanted to do something extra special and I happen to have this idea hand picked for over a year, but then suddenly a wrench was thrown in my plan! Don’t you hate that!
Two years ago I went to Memphis (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/) and had amazing food as part of a great trip. When I came home and was bragging and showing photos to my father who was drooling. I know how much he likes this type of food and how I have given him the gift of experiencing it in N.Y.C. before (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/).
To top this gift off was the way I wrapped it. Since the food wasn’t being delivered until after Christmas I bought paper towels, a plate, and utensils all the necessities for a proper messy yet delicious meal.
Along with wrapping I like to throw an element of surprise in. For me that is the best part. Since no one can ever guess what I am going to get him or her, and I am always challenging myself to go above and beyond creatively, I can be as surprised as anyone with what I end up with.
I always hear people saying, “don’t get a gift card it’s so impersonal”. You know what they are actually the perfect gift especially if you pick one that is appropriate. If you know someone well enough you can get one to their favorite store, restaurant, or coffee shop. I love Starbucks and I can never get enough gift cards.
Also even if the amount you are giving isn’t enough for an entire purchase people are always happy to have a contribution. If it is a place you are always in you will find a way to use it.
When in doubt get a Visa, Amazon, Fandango, or other multi-purpose gift card. People who know me well get me Ticketmaster or Telecharge gift cards. The former is best for concerts and comedy shows and the later for plays (even with a coupon).
Believe me gift cards are the gifts that keep on giving.
Another great card or stocking stuffer are scratch-off lottery tickets, but make sure they are for the state the recipient lives in or can cash in if they win before heading home.
When all else fails go for wine, cheese, chocolates, or other food favorites of your friends and family. I personally love getting and giving Edible Arrangements. It doubles as a fruits and flowers.
So get out there and give generous and great gifts!!