Ask Erin: The Art of Gift Giving
article by Erin Love
The art of gift-giving is one way that we express our generosity, appreciation, thanks, and love for others while recognizing special occasions and achievements. As the saying goes, gift-giving should be “all about the sentiment,” but that doesn’t keep us from going that extra mile, hoping to find the PERFECT gift for each person on our list. Since one of the top gift-giving holidays is right upon us, I thought I would share my tips for giving and receiving without the stress.
• Consider the person receiving the gift. This first step may seem obvious, but I mean that you should truly consider for whom you are purchasing the gift. Ask yourself some of the following questions to help you narrow down the search – What are her likes and dislikes? Has he mentioned wanting to learn a new skill or visit a new place? Has she mentioned needing or wanting anything recently? I suggest that you really sit down with your list and write out options that would be a good fit for each person on your list.
• Consider your budget. A gift doesn’t have to be expensive to be meaningful and loved. In fact, anything too expensive can be overwhelming and embarrassing for the recipient. Instead, set a reasonable budget and figure out ways to completely maximize that budget! For instance, check for discount codes or coupons and then use the money you saved to add on a unique “happy.” Small personalized gifts show that you put thought into the gift, and that means much more than the actual cost of an item.
• Don’t wait until the last minute. Waiting until the last minute to purchase gifts may totally derail your well thought-out plans. After all, the item you wanted could be sold out. With that in mind, it is best to shop sooner rather than later to avoid any possibility of being empty-handed at the last minute. Better yet, why not keep a running gift list that starts the minute you hear a loved one mention wanting or needing something. When you see it, no matter if it is in July, don’t wait! Buy it! Who knows, you might complete Christmas shopping before Halloween!
• Don’t forget the presentation. I know, I know! It seems like a waste. The thought is “It’s just going to be torn or shredded to pieces anyway,” but I truly feel that presentation is one of the most important parts of gift-giving. Take the time to wrap gifts neatly and thoughtfully. And yes! Gift bags are fine.
• Regifting? I say avoid it at all costs. You just never know how this practice will end up, and I just bet that you don’t want to appear dishonest or inconsiderate in any way. Instead, when given something that you can’t or won’t use, donate it or sell it online (if applicable).
• Don’t forget about your service providers. If you feel you have received excellent service from your daily/weekly service providers, you could thank them with a small gift of appreciation. For instance, if you keep your UPS driver busy with all of those Amazon purchases, you can thank him by baking up a batch of cookies, or a simple “thank you “ note is also a nice gesture. Here are a few other people to whom you might want to consider showing your appreciation – Mailman, Trash Collector, Door Man, Security Officer in your building, Bank Tellers, School Teachers, etc.
• Thank yous. Since you are giving gifts, most likely you will also be receiving gifts. Don’t forget to show appropriate thanks by quickly sending a thank-you note. Of course, a handwritten note is best, but it is also appropriate to give thanks during face-to-face contact, via text message, or email. Any thanks is better than none. Please don’t leave this step out.
Now I hope you can enjoy your holidays with a little less stress. Feel free to contact me with any questions or future article ideas – firstname.lastname@example.org