How to be a Good Gift Giver

November 9, 2011

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tips for giving a great gift

Image via Abrams Books

I’ve mentioned in the past that Hanukkah around here is a Very Big Deal. Dad always took great pride in his gift giving and, more importantly, his gift PRESENTING. We, aptly, named that “The Hanukkah Show”.

Come to think of it, Dad was the original “Oprah’s Favorite Things”.

Growing up we learned that not only was GETTING gifts super fun, but brainstorming and selecting the gifts was pretty awesome, too. That feeling of “Oh, MAN is she going to FLIP OUT when she opens THIS ONE!” is almost too delicious to describe.

But, here’s the thing. It takes effort to be a great gift giver, but it’s not rocket science. I’ve been told I’m incredibly hard to buy for. I call shenanigans on that statement for me and for everyone else who has had the statement thrust upon them.

(Not to mention this here website is a damn TESTAMENT to all I enjoy and hold dear. DUH.)

The ways to become an outstanding gift giver are simple. Let’s make you a hero, shall we?

1. LISTEN
Your friend, kids, wife, husband, etc. say things all the time about what they like. Kids are especially good at articulating what they want. They are like little want machines. For everyone else you just have to listen. Next time you’re watching TV or walking through the mall or running errands, pay close attention to what s/he points out or mentions or muses. You’d be amazed at what you uncover.

2. ASK
It may sound ridiculous, but there’s an old saying, “Don’t ask, don’t get.” Ask what s/he likes – or point out something to get some feedback or opinion. You could even go so far as to ask for a wishlist – but I’d do that no where near a holiday or major event – and then build on it as the year goes along.

3. THINK
Does that someone special have a unique job? About to have a life event or transition of some sort? Was there something they always wanted growing up that they never got (see: Easy Bake Oven, slot car race track)? Is there something meaningful to them that they no longer have? (Example: a photography buff who remembers their very first camera. What is it? GO FIND ONE.) Do they have a LifeList or bucket list? Pick something off of that to help them accomplish. Making something meaningful and personal is the greatest outcome of any gift.

4. CREATE
Do you know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money – or any money – for a gift to be meaningful? Flowers out of the blue. A love letter. A special picture you took and framed with a hand-written inscription on the back. This deck of cards transformed is one of the greatest things I’ve seen in awhile.

4. WRITE IT DOWN
Got a smartphone? Good. There’s a “notes” app on there somewhere. Open it up right now and create a list called “Christmas” or “Birthday” or “Because He’s Awesome” or “Oprah”. Now every time you have an idea or hear something that person likes you write it down for future reference. ProTip: Keep another note of everyone’s sizes/measurements just in case. I can never remember anyone’s neck size when it’s needed.

4. WRAP IT
I believe a special gift should be wrapped in a special way. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – some brown kraft paper and a ribbon is simple and elegant, but make it look like you put some thought into the presentation. Need some ideas? Here’s an entire board on Pinterest just for wrapping and packaging.

There. Now you are Someone Who Gives Awesome Gifts. You are Oprah.

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