Gifts can be a great way to show how much you care about someone, but sometimes, the gift you give falls flat. We all dread that reluctant fake smile or lukewarm “thanks” that can result from a gift the recipient doesn't need or can't use. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when giving a gift for any occasion.
Gifts can be a celebration of the great connection you have with a person.
We would all love to have infinite amounts of money and time to devote to giving to our friends and family. However, you don’t have to feel obligated to give an overly expensive gift to show how much you care. The fact that you even thought to give them a gift at all will likely brighten up their day.
Not only should the gift be based on emotional closeness to your recipient, it should also reflect the kind of relationship you have with them. Maybe they’re your workout buddy, a pal who you frequently grab lunch with, or a coworker who always cracks jokes with you in the office. In cases like these, a gift is meant to memorialize and honor the relationship you have — so make it as relevant as possible to the good times you’ve shared.
This is always a good policy, but especially so when it comes to gift-giving.
If you’re stuck on what to give, one of the most important things you can do is, PAY ATTENTION. It’s likely that your loved one has mentioned something that they really, really want in the past few months. If you can catch on to that, you may be set for a gift. If you can’t quite manage to remember, consider their personality, interests, and what’s been going on in their life. Perhaps they just had a kid, adopted a cute little kitty, or graduated from college — all are perfect opportunities to give them something that will add value to their lives.
A fun event can be a memorable gift.
A gift card is a great way to give an experience, but there are others — and in general, it’s more fun to give experiences than objects that are just going to sit around, unused, most of the time. A couple concert tickets for their favorite band, a luxurious spa day, or even taking their kids out and allowing them to relax can all be great gifts.
Heartfelt messages really make your gift personal.
No gift can be as valuable as your relationship with this person, so everything in your gift should be centered around this relationship — including a personalized message telling them just how you feel about them. Cards with a pre-written message just don’t do the trick, unless you write your own message within them. If you’re not sure what to say, talk about some memories you’ve shared with this person, or simply explain the thought you put into your gift. Whatever you say, don’t forget to tell this person how grateful you are to have them in your life!
Enhance the gift-giving experience with this simple step.
Yes, even if it’s a gift card. Half of the fun of receiving a gift is unwrapping slowly and savoring the element of surprise. Even if your gift is in an envelope, wrap it. You can even choose your wrapping paper so that it’s specific to your recipient’s personality and style. But if you don’t want to put in that much effort, just make sure that it looks neat. A beautifully-wrapped gift can show just how much you value the gift-giving experience as a whole, not just the gift itself.
DIY gifts are personalized, cost-effective, and are fun!
Not only can DIYs save you some cash, they can also be a super personalized way to show how much you care. Despite the fact that the thought is what counts here, you should also try to make something that your recipient will actually use or enjoy. Play to your strengths here. If you’re an artist, give a painting. If you’re a great cook, give a recipe and/or the promise of a cooking lesson. If you like to bake, give a sampling of your best desserts. Although you should play to your strengths, don’t lose sight of your recipient and their interests — the point of DIY gifts, like any gift, is to show how much thought and effort you put toward it.
Make sure that your gift can fit easily into their schedule.
It’s likely that your recipient doesn’t have much free time, and the free time that they do have, they don’t want to spend on an assembly-required gift. It can be awesome to get your recipient some new, sleek furniture, but they shouldn’t have to worry about assembling it. If you’re going to get an assembly-required gift, a solution could be to offer to assemble it yourself as part of the gift. The last thing you want to do is inconvenience the recipient, so you may have to offer up a bit of your own time.
Instead of a time-consuming gift, you might consider giving something that fits well into the slots of time that your recipient does have available. An audiobook or personalized mixtape can work well for those with long commutes, for instance. You could also give a gift that shortens the time spent on dull household chores, like cleaning or laundry. Everyone needs a great vacuum cleaner in their life, and organizational devices are usually an easy win. Cooking tools can also make life easier for those who don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen.
Asking the question directly never hurts.
This is somewhat of a last resort, but if you can’t think of anything that might please your recipient, it may be worth asking. If the idea of asking the recipient themself for gift ideas is too awkward for you, it might be less weird to reach out to other family or friends to pick their brains. They just might have an extra gift idea that you can use, and you can be sure that there will be no repeat gifts. If this isn’t an option, just ask the recipient. That way, you’ll be guaranteed to get a gift that they will love.
In short, gift-giving isn’t difficult. All your gift has to do is communicate your affection for the recipient, and there are many different ways to do that. Whether you settle on a gift card, a handmade bar of soap, or trip to the amusement park, show how much you appreciate your recipient, and the gift is sure to be a hit.