The art of gift-giving is all about showing appreciation for someone you care about, which involves a concrete and emotional exchange between the giver and receiver in symbolism of thankfulness and affection. It may seem hard, but it’s not. To become the best gift-giver, read on!
Think about the person.
Most of the time, the best gift is already in your midst. A gift is a symbol of appreciation, which is a beautiful thing to show. As with any research, begin with the basics: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Who is the person you are going to be giving the gift to, and what is your relationship with them. What do you think the person will like or need. Where will the gift exchange occur, and what is the context of the event. When is how much time you have to get the gift. Why is for when you find a potential gift; think, why would this person like or want this. Finally, how, is for how you will get the gift; will you make it or buy it?
Example: A person who reads a lot, but you don’t know their book collection or taste: buy them a bookstore gift card with a bookmark.
Listen, and then shop.
Any relationship involves, no matter how superficial or profound, an exchange of likes and dislikes. That exchange works, when strategically employed, fabulously to your advantage, take note of what they comment on or share with you when talking. You can also try, what I call, the “Christmas bit”, which is timelessly effective. That is, go, with the person, to a mall or center with various stores and see what they comment on, but don’t buy because of price or occasion. Take advantage of these moments, buy it, and score big time!
Is there anything the person needs?
If the person needs something, can be creatively identified with the senses. See if there is something that can be replaced, or matched with to an item the person already has. Listen when they speak to you about a problem he or she had because they were missing something or currently don’t know that they do, in fact, need something. And well, smell and taste don’t really apply here, but perfumes and a nice meal are daily needs that can turn, when the occasion arrises, into great gifts.
Think about your favorite memory with the person and stem from that.
Think, is there anything that I can gift this person whom I have known for so long that will connect them to a time back when you met? If you think about it, there are many memories to choose from that aren’t always given the importance that they should have. A nice gift could connect memory with the now. For instance, if it’s a birthday, get them something that they adored when you got it for them previously, or something that they had and valued or lost. Extra points if it’s something funny!
Dig deep on the inside jokes and get creative.
Laughter is a beautiful thing, just like your relationship-hopefully. Now, because there are many levels to what can be taken as appropriate or not, with a comedic focus, try to assess the level of intimacy permissible between you both, before setting the intensity of your creativeness. But, inside jokes add a degree of sentimental value that beats any label.
If possible, hand make it.
A great gift-giver is thoughtful, not necessarily a big spender. There is something special about giving something made by your own hands, it adds to it an unparalleled degree of individuality and thoughtfulness. You invest time and effort into its making, and, in the process, you insert into it a part of you and the person that cannot be purchased or imitated. When crafting something, you can find inspiration from the most common thing to the most personalized aspect.
If you see a gift that reminds you of them, buy it without an occasion.
The best occasion to get someone a gift is no occasion at all. It’s sometimes embedded in our culture that gifts or show of affections should be calendarized and ignored for the other part, but we all appreciate the tiny gestures that speak appreciation. Getting someone a gift, no matter how big or small, shows them that you think about them and know their tastes. Plus, the art of giving is one of the best feelings one can have, and the joy you see from the receiver is one of the most gratifying aspects of giving.
Add their favorite things to the mix.
The gift you’re looking for may not even be a gift but a mixture of things. One easy and great idea is to make a basket with a variety of both sentimental and practical objects the person likes. The sentimental value can encompass anything that is subjectively important to them, that you share in common, or know that they’ll enjoy. The practical objects can be things the person needs or likes. This idea is perfect for all types of relationships and contexts. A basket of goodies is a blank canvas filled with a mosaic of fun, cute, practical, and delicious things.
Ask other close friends and family members for tips.
The friend of my friend is my friend. Well, if the memory bank is empty and time is running out, the best way to get that something special for the person is by going to those who know them best or differently. You don’t always have the time or the relationship to speak about certain topics that may make the gifting process easier. That’s why, immediate family members are gold mines for these types of situations, ring them and ask. If you don’t have a way of contacting them, go to a common co-worker or friend.
Ask them what they want.
There is nothing wrong with not knowing and simply going to the person and asking for what they want. Doing this shows that you care about their opinions and desires. It is more thoughtful than just getting a generic gift, although any gift is valid. But, ultimately it’s more special when it’s personalized. What is important is the effort, which shows that you care. Therefore, don’t stress about it and ask.