We are coming up on one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Forget winter, the real season we are in is gift giving season! This post is all about how to give meaningful gifts that will not only have love and thought behind them but will be cherished by the recipient as well!
Let me start off by saying that I am not against gifts nor am I against shopping. I myself love a great gift. I often find, however, that people who are giving the gift do not truly think about the person they are giving the gift to.
What do I mean by that?
Many times when we find ourselves in the position of gift-giving we will purchase gifts that are useless for the recipients because they fit our budget or time allowance. In short, the gift is bought in a thoughtless manner not taking into account the recipient’s needs or wants.
Let me give you an example. You are going to a meal and as a gesture of gratitude, you bring a bottle of wine. Sounds nice and easy right? But your host does not drink wine! So now you have given them a gift that may have been easy for you but is completely useless for your host. The worst part is when you ask your friends how they like the _______ (insert not useful gift given here) makes them feel uncomfortable because it isn’t useful for them and it was not thoughtful and they know it.
Another example could be this – you have a stash of gifts that you bought on sale and are planning on re-gifting them. They are taking up a good portion of space in your home, sitting there waiting to be re-gifted. But, these gifts are generic, and once more, you run the risk of not really connecting with the person you are giving to.
Gift-giving without the proper thought behind it leads to this problem – it makes you look good to you. You had something already prepared and on hand to give. Frankly, I would rather get nothing than something that is not useful to me.
A gift without thought behind it to me says that you are not my friend and you care so little about me that you can’t spend more than a few minutes to pick out a gift I will like. A great example to illustrate my point is when I tell people that I try not to use plastic in my life at all and they show up with a plastic gift-wrapped in plastic! This to me says that are not listening to me nor value my belief of not using plastic.
While this may feel extreme to some people, try and put yourself in the shoes of someone receiving a gift. Examine your feelings and thoughts when you received the perfect gift and then again when you received a gift that just really wasn’t for you.
So with that in mind, let’s talk about:
What makes a great gift? And how can we give great gifts?
What makes a great gift?
The first thing you need to do when you are giving a gift is to think about the recipient. Ask yourself these questions:
Who are they? What do they like? What do they value? Will this gift adds to the stress of taking away from it?
If you are going to a friend’s house for a party ask yourself – what do they like? Are they wine drinkers? Maybe they love tea? Maybe they love plants? Think about what is already in their home. If you do not know the host of the party personally, lovely food items are always welcomed, or of course, you can always ask a mutual friend to possibly help you out.
My next piece of advice is collect clues! Look for clues when you speak to people. People tell you what they want. just sometimes you need to do a little bit of decoding. Use what they ask you as a starting point. Did they ask you if you have a food allergy? Maybe they have one too. Did they ask if you eat meat? Maybe they are vegetarian or are obsessed with their new grill. Again, move past yourself and listen to the other person. Truly listen and you will find that they will give you a lot of information.
How can we give a great gift?
True, listening to the potential recipient is important, but we have to take it a step further. Really put ourselves in the shoes of friends and even ask questions. Don’t be afraid to send a gift after a party or event either if you don’t know what to get upfront. It will always be welcome!
One last thing…
I want to address keeping gifts in stock again. While I think this can be useful sometimes, like for a child’s birthday party, in general, I think it is a bad idea.
From an organizational perspective, I think keeping a ton of gifts in stock takes up way too much space and isn’t worth it because you can often forget what you have stashed away! And because you forget what you have the items that you have stored are at risk for getting ruined or damaged before they can ever be gifted. Once more, this pattern of gifting giving shows thoughtlessness rather than thoughtfulness.
When my twins had a birthday party a few years ago, I wrote on the invitations ‘no gifts please.’ All the Israeli parents were up in arms. What do you mean no gifts?! I, of course, did not want my kids to have a ton of pieces of garbage as gifts or items that were low quality and would break after a few uses – really just things that at the end of the day had no value.
In the end, the parents all chipped in and gave what they could in cash, and my twins actually got a larger gift than they wanted. I think this is the best solution. The child gets what they really want rather than getting a many different gifts that they do not want. This gift-giving method also cuts down on waste, which is a great value to give to your kids.
So please, when buying a gift – buy thoughtfully! I promise, giving a useful wanted gift will make you feel a whole lot better!
For now, happy gift-giving and organizing and have a great holiday season!