The holidays are fast approaching. For some, producing presents signifies an exciting challenge, a delightful spree. Others dissolve into cold sweat, horrified by the pressure. What makes a good gift?
Simple: something you have thoughtfully chosen to gift with your recipient foremost in mind.
Giving is less about the giver than the receiver. We all want to be loved, noticed and appreciated. It is not about money. There are myriad ways to show affection that have nothing to do with your budget. Through giving you are sending a message: you are important to me. I value our relationship and am celebrating by sharing this with you.
What are the finest qualities in your friend? Do you appreciate the music you share, a sense of humor that never fails, a willingness to listen? Is your recipient a nature lover, a thinker, shy or bold? Are they a sportsman, builder, artist or performer? What do they do in their spare time? Of what do they dream?
Avoid the trap of “Wow, I think this is awesome, so I am sure they will like it too”. Remember this is not about you. It is about appreciating and showing affection to the receiver. The better you know your receiver, the easier the process becomes.
Pay attention. Not the night before the holiday, but over a period of time when you really look at, think about, watch and observe the people in your life. Have you been listening to those around you? Be mindful of their points of view and the things that matter to them. Are they super sociable or quiet natured ? Is there any part of their life that you can make easier?
Think outside the box. What would surprise them? What have you noticed about them that surprises you? How can you recognize their unique qualities? Do the enjoy travel?
Gift certificates for experiences are readily available. Arrange for an experience you share or provide an escape from their daily routine. Dining, hot tubs, rafting, the circus…Find tickets to a venue for a performance they would enjoy. Send them somewhere they have never been.
Write a poem for them or assemble photos that are meaningful. Make an ornament. Bake a family recipe or pass one along. Craft the unique. You don’t need to be Picasso. As long as your gift carries meaning it will be appreciated. Find something that you know will make them laugh. Choose a book that you know will capture their interest. If your gift shows how much you value the recipient, if it carries heart, it is a no-fail proposition. You have successfully conquered the challenge of the perfect present.
Giving is an art form but there is no mystery to it. Express your appreciation of the person in your life. Choose thoughtfully. Gift respect for the relationship you share. How will you know you have chosen well? When you are excited to give, because you know the receiver will be happy as a result of your choice. It is worth the effort. Mindful giving puts joy and meaning into the holiday. It will turn your shopping chore into a heartfelt celebration.