Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Art of Gift Giving

I wish I could entitle this post: "Sarah's Gift Giving Guide".  The truth is,  I need this advice just as much as anyone else! About this time of year, I start to agonize over giving gifts to the hardest people I give gifts to- my parents and my in laws.  Mother's Day and Father's Day- not to mention my Dad's birthday in April always put up a challenge to my thoughtful gift giving.  For this reason, I've been thinking a lot about how important gifts are and how it really should be thought of as an art, rather than a chore. In fact, I even found another blog that gave 10 good pieces of advice to help us out in "The Art of Gift Giving." You can check out her advice, but here I want to relay the few tips that I have found to be helpful in my quest for perfect gifts and hopefully you can add some of your best advice as well. 
  1. LOVE to Give Gifts-- Changing your perspective on gift giving can make all difference between a good gift and a bad one.  I love to give gifts usually, but sometimes it can be a chore. I definitely notice that when I look forward to giving, my gifts are more thoughtful, generous, and appreciated. 
  2. Learn from the Woman Who Gave Her Last Coin--Jesus appreciates our gifts so much more when we give from our need, instead of our excess.  Giving out of a generous heart doesn't always have to mean you spend more than what your budget allows.  When I find the perfect gift, sometimes I end up spending more than I wanted to, and sometimes I spend less.  The point is that the object of the gift is not about money.  When I buy gifts only according to a budget- it shows.  Gifts are an expression of the heart- generous or otherwise.
  3. Be a Thoughtful Gift giver--This means you always keep in my what the recipient of the gift wants or needs.   You may like the idea of giving a beer kit (ahem...Eric take notes!) but that's not being thoughtful.  Taking notes- mental or otherwise, is the best way to show you care.  When I lived with my in laws, I learned what they liked and didn't and was able to give some of the best gifts to them based on what I've observed.  Now I know to give my Father in Law homemade guacamole...and not a gift card.   Thoughtfulness goes a long way in giving good gifts. 
  4. Give a Little Luxury- Emphasize "little" because a little goes a long way especially when they know you can't afford a "big" luxury.  This goes along the lines of giving what the other person wouldn't normally buy themselves, but would like to!  Brand names, designer names, haughty boutiques: little things from these places and names- even if they are on sale or clearance!-- means you went out of your way to show you care.  A pair of luxury cashmere mittens compared to a cheap wool sweater is an example of something that probably cost the same, but is smaller, nicer, and more appreciated because I would never go out and by those luxury mittens myself.
Now your turn-- what are your best gift tips? Or what are the best gifts you've received and why? Or what is the worst gift you've received? (we won't tell!) 


Julie Cragon said...

There are several people in my family that I love to receive gifts from because they take the time to choose something they know I like. Anything to do with my children; a travel mug with their pictures was a good gift. Anything to do with writing; a new pen, a journal, a writing magazine. I have made many things for my mom and my dad that they have loved. Composed a song and had my brothers cut a CD. Put together a magazine and had each of my siblings write a story from our childhood. Big hit. I always think of how something will affect them, touch their hearts, make them cry. I like to play with memories. I figure older people have most everything they want so I try to think outside the box.

Becky said...

I am terrible at giving gifts. I so appreciate all of your tips! Coincidentally I have been already searching for gifts for my husband's grandpa's birthday- which is next month. I have decided to put together a gift basket for him, filled with small things that I know he will love. The main gift will be a book that I ran across the other day titled, "Straight Down the Middle" by Josh Karp. I know he will love it because Josh Karp is a #1 Best Selling author on Amazon (so it must be good), and because it is about his favorite subject- golf! The book is supposed to be extremely inspirational as well. I will probably fill his basket with other things like treats, a tie, and a movie.

Michelle said...

As an artist I love giving gifts that have a personal touch. But I can't make a painting for every one every year. :) Sometimes I just write a poem and frame it. Or a picture of me and that person framed as a special memory. It's important to think of what touches the particular person. Do they like travel? Africa? Tea? Are they earthy? Are they lonely? My sisters and husband sometimes just buy me tea, cinnamon sticks and/or honey and I LOVE it. It tells me not ONLY that they thought of me, but that they KNOW me. Some people just like words. I remember one year my sister said, after reading the card I'd included with the gift (which was a Willow Tree figurine that I absolutely love) "You're cards are always the best part of the gift." The card is just as important as the gift, maybe more. Maybe the gift isn't something they'd have chosen for themselves, but the card explains why you thought of them. Words go a loooong way. I usually keep cards longer than gifts. :)

That said, I have the HARDEST time thinking of things for my husband. When we were dating, he was the first person I really struggled with to come up with gift ideas (though I hear from my MIL that I'm not the only one, haha!). Sometimes I just settle with a card for him. But how many times can I tell him I love him?! He's my biggest challenge. But he also could care less if I got him a gift or not, he's not a gift person. So I guess it works out! :)

Mickymar said...

You've a great gift giving guide. I myself have always felt that anything hand made is the best gift. From little childrens gifts to adults, most are in awe of what can be made. Thanks for sharing!

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