Everyone has given a gift to another person at some point in their lives. I have done it the wrong way until I discovered the right way. Now people around me always say, “Wow, you always seem to know how to give the perfect gift! ” This statement is always followed by, “How do you do that? ” So now, I will share my secret with anyone who is truly interested in learning how to give the perfect gift.
First I will tell you what NOT TO DO. DO NOT make the mistake of getting just any old gift card or giving cash. Giving a generic department store gift card or cash just says, “I really didn’t want to give you anything but I felt like I had to”. It would be better just not to give anything at all.
If you are serious about learning the art of giving the perfect gift consider first your motivation. Are you looking for a gift for someone because you want to or because you feel you have to? Everyone has experienced the have to situation in which you are expected to give a gift but you really don’t know the person the gift is for and you have no idea what to give them. Usually people tend to just throw money at a situation such as this and trust me, the person who receives this kind of gift knows it. That results in a no win situation for everyone involved. My opinion is that this situation should be avoided no matter what and the only way to avoid it is to change your motivation. Most of us don’t like being told what to do. Once we want to do something we usually can’t be stopped. So, next time you have to give a gift, just decide you want to give the gift. Mentally flip that little switch in your brain and choose to give instead of being forced to give and everything will become much easier.
Once you are sufficiently motivated you must consider the occasion. Weddings, Wedding Showers, Anniversaries and Baby Showers require more specific gifts. Usually, the recipient will have registered with one or more department stores or gift shops. The gifts they would like to receive are on a list so all you need to do is contact the person giving the shower and they can direct you in purchasing the perfect gift for this person for this occasion. Other occasions such as Christmas, Birthdays, Valentines Day, “I love you” and “I’m sorry” gifts require a little more thought.
The next step to consider is the relationship between you and the “giftee”. If you are an acquaintance then you would give a less personal gift then you would give a lover. Perhaps you are in a budding relationship and this gift would determine your attitude about the relationship. A not well considered gift would say, “I’m not really that interested” versus a thoughtful gift saying, “I really believe you are special and important to me and I want to be with you. ” There are quite a few people I have experienced that need to learn this simple rule. Many relationships end just because of a misunderstanding of this principle so please, carefully consider what feeling you are trying to express with this gift and act accordingly.
Now since you are motivated, you know the occasion and have an idea of what feeling you want to express you must consider the person or persons the gift is to being bestowed upon. Some people don’t care how much the gift costs, monetarily speaking, so the more thoughtfulness you put into the gift the more it will be appreciated. The other type of person measures your love and sincerity with $$. If you are not sure which type of person you are dealing with then do a little research and ask your friends and family members their opinion of what gift would be appropriate for this particular person.
Based on the type of person or persons your gift is for, do you express your thoughtfulness in time or dollars? If the giftee is not motivated by $$ perhaps a gift you make yourself or just the gift of time is the most appropriate. Many moons ago, one of my friends from high school was getting married and I didn’t have much money so i gave her my time. I took time off from my life (husband and 3 kids) to spend the entire wedding day with her helping her however I could. I was available to run errands, put out fires or just give words of encouragement.
If the recipient is someone you care about but don’t get to spend much time with then just take a few minutes to think about the time you have spent with them. What did they talk about? If you visited their home, did you notice how they decorated or if they collected anything in particular? Where do they like to shop for clothes? Is there any specific food they like to eat? Do they have a specific hobby or interest? What do they talk about or vote for on Facebook or twitter? When you find answers to these questions you will almost always discover your options for buying them something they will love and they will know you really thought about them and will always remember your thoughtfulness. An example I love to remember is this past Christmas when my daughter was shopping for gifts she called me to ask what my husband, her stepfather, might like as a gift. I told her he shopped regularly at a local department store and loved their selection of chocolate candy. So she went to that store and spent about $15 and bought him a variety of chocolates. My husband was so excited and happy when he opened his gift. This gift made him feel like she really cared about him. It wasn’t an expensive gift but she achieved an optimal result in demonstrating her thoughtfulness and affection.
However, we all know that there are people in our lives that evaluate our love for them with $$. You could give them an entire month of human servitude and they still wouldn’t appreciate it. This type of giftee requires dedication on the part of the giver but remember they will never know if you bought their present at full price or at 75% off. A little planning will result in spending your time instead of your money. Consider how they spend their time and money and use online research, holiday specials, closeout sales, store liquidations or Craig’s List to find these items they desire. Planning ahead can give you the optimal result without a huge monetary sacrifice.