I must admit that I have received more than a few compliments on my prowess in the arena of gift giving. Sure, I have given a few unfortunate gifts in my day, but for the most part, I am proud to say that I can usually finds gifts for loved ones that are unique, memorable, and personal. While I know that not everyone understands the importance of a well-conceived gift, here are a few tips for those of us who want the things we bestow on people to be loved and cherished.
Consider what makes your loved one special.
The best advice I can give when it comes to finding the perfect gift is to really think about the person you are buying for. Often people fall into the misconception that if they like or want something, everyone else must also want that item. That is exactly how I end up with all sorts of tools that my father buys me and then "borrows." To best determine what someone else might adore, think of him or her using that item.
Interests are always a good place to start. There is nothing more inappropriate than buying a gardening set for your friend who kills every plant she touches, including the cactus she tried to grow last year. However, thinking of hobbies and interests are not enough. Just because your mother is a wine connoisseur does not mean she needs another set of wine glass charms to go with the other six sets you already got her. Expand your thinking about hobbies and consider a couple of hand-blown wine glasses, or a wine taster's journal where she can keep track of what she has tried and what she thought of it. If you are going to think of interests, think of new and exciting gifts that complement those hobbies without being too standard or predictable.
Style is another good measure of what makes a gift memorable. This is also an area where a bit of creative thinking goes a long way. Imagine your loved one with the gift you are considering for them. Does it "look like" them? If you are considering a clock, think of how it would look in their living room. If you are thinking about jewelry, imagine them wearing it when they meet you for dinner. Decide on what makes sense for someone based on whether it seems to fit their personality and style.
Go with handmade gifts.
Mass-produced items from big box shops might seem like an easy way to find something appropriate, but those gifts tend to end up in the trash sooner than later and lack a sense of personality. There are so many reasons that handmade and artist-made gifts are a better option. A handmade gift, whether it is an amazing vase from a local potter or a set of handmade cufflinks that you found online, is a gift that creates memories. Handmade gifts show that you cared enough to look for a unique item that was really reflective of your loved one. In addition, handmade gifts tend to be around for a long time and can become heirlooms that are reminders of your connection.
Find a balance between wants and needs.
A gift that is useful and beautiful can encompass the best of both worlds. For example, a beautiful handcrafted serving dish might be just the thing for your friend who loves to entertain. Finding items that serve a function in addition to having a style that suits the recipient is a great way to channel your knowledge about someone into a gift that shows you know them and thought about their wants and desires. Choosing an item that reflects a person in both form and function is a surefire way to give a fabulous gift.
Finding just the right gift for someone and knowing that gift will bring joy into a loved one's life can be a thrilling experience. Watching the recipient's face light up as they unwrap their gift is a wonderful moment, and that's the true point of gift-giving: to share moments of love and affection. When it comes to gifts, it really is the thought that counts, and being thoughtful in your gift selections can make a world of difference.