Gift Giving Ideas Relationships Friends

What is the point of giving a gift?  How about a birthday gift specifically?  Children like to think of it as the one day of the year they get to finally pick out something special for themselves that mom/dad will be obligated to buy no matter what.  A few years down the road changes things; it’s seems immature and egotisical for adults to pick an expensive item that their loved ones are obligated to buy no matter what because it’s another birthday.  After all, most adults are perfectly capable buying themselves most of the things they want!  This leaves a problem for us gift givers, however, because we still want to share a special day with our friends and family in the customary manner of wrapping paper, bows, and surprises!

What do you do when it’s time to shop for a gift?  There’s a difference between getting someone what you think they need and what they actually want to receive.  Gift giving is an art: it takes creativity to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and think about what their preferences are. The art of gift giving also creates an exclusive memory between you and your recipient that will be an emotional tie for years to come.

We like to use gifts on special occasions like Christmas or anniversaries because we will always have a special memento that will remind of us of that day. Gifts act as markers in our relationships. Why else are friendship rings so special? The best gifts will also reflect the uniqueness of the relationship between two people and illustrates what they have in common with each other.

Now this is probably starting to sound like a lot of pressure! If you’re buying something for a holiday or a birthday you’ll definitely need something good to wrap up. But also consider thinking about things you can do with your recipient that will give you two some time to bond together. For example, if you haven’t had time to spend with your child, your money will be better spent playing together at Chuck E Cheese than on a video game s/he plays alone. Or if it’s a wedding anniversary, a dozen roses won’t be nearly as meaningful as turning off the TV and giving a good back rub with a new scented lotion. The point is that a wrapped present isn’t an answer to the problem of What to buy? It’s a celebration of an event.

So what is the secret to buying a good gift? Of course you want to get your recipient something s/he has been hankering for, but don’t leave yourself out of the equation! It’s not just about what s/he needs, but that it’s FROM you! That’s why gift cards are so lame. They prove that the giver really doesn’t know the recipient well enough to make a decision. That’s also why framed pictures and personalized lockets are cherished. Think about your relationship and the special times that you’ve had together and see if there isn’t a unique object that will stir those memories. Have you and your best friend traveled to the beach together? Maybe new sunglasses and flip-flops! If you are looking for someone who is an activist, think about browsing the knickknacks or coffee blends that are Fair Trade certified. Maybe your recipient is a movie buff. Bet s/he would love some new release DVDs and a big bowl for chips or popcorn.

Remember that gifts with a big price tag may not necessarily be more appreciated than a modest one. Gifts with special meanings will always be preferred!