Think of the most perfect present you have ever received. What made this present perfect? Was it the person who gave it to you? Was it something you have always wanted but would never have indulged yourself with? Maybe it was the creativity or the timeliness of it? Or was it the manner in which it was presented?
Perhaps it was all these elements and more. Chances are, the gift giver did not happen upon the perfect present by chance. Finding the perfect gift requires some careful thought and planning. While every person and gift occasion is different, here are some tips and advice on demystifying the gift-giving process.
The first thing you need is time—an emergency gift is almost never a perfect gift. Many of us shop for gifts last minute and we usually end up settling for something generic because we are pressed for time. Finding the perfect gift requires thoughtful analysis of the gift recipient’s preferences, lifestyle and needs, and that calls for time and patience. To avoid these last minute gift situations, you should set up a gift reminder for yourself. This can be as simple as writing down on a calendar all your gift giving occasions and the names of all the people you want to give gifts to. Check the calendar at the beginning of every month to allow for ample time to think and shop for everyone on your list. If you’re not in the habit of checking and updating a calendar, an easy approach is to sign up with a Web site that offers automatic email reminders. By investing a little bit of time to set up a gift reminder, you can save yourself from tons of needless worries later.
It is handy to keep a gift profile on everyone whom you shop for regularly. Some useful information to know would be the person’s clothing size, birthstone, favorite color, fragrance, author, place to shop, musical preference and current hobbies. If your friend strongly dislikes something, you should note that on the gift profile as well. The gift profile can generate lots of great potential gift ideas or help you hone in on the perfect one once you decide what kind of present to get.
No one knows better what the perfect present is than the person whom the gift is for. There is nothing wrong with asking your friend what he or she really wants. Since most of us already have enough stuff that we will never use, we would gladly point our friends in the right direction. Some people don’t want to ruin the element of surprise by telling you exactly what they want. In that case, you can suggest the idea of a wish list—your friends can list more than one present and they won’t know which one they will get from you. The wish list might even help you think of a more original gift, so you can end up surprising your friend anyway. If your friend is still shy about telling you what she wants for her birthday, circumvent the problem by asking people close to her, like her mother, her boyfriend, or her best friend.
Keep in mind the perfect present isn’t always for sale. “The most perfect gift I’ve ever received was a day off from housework,” said Marilyn, a working mother of two, “My husband and children made me breakfast in bed, walked the dog, did all the laundry and cleaned out the basement, finally.” Teresa, an elementary school teacher, said her perfect present was from her husband who promised to quit smoking and carried through successfully. Thoughtful gifts like these can really solve the problem of what to get the person who seems to have everything. It just goes to prove when it comes to finding the perfect gift, it really is the thought that counts.
This entry was posted on February 8, 2012 at 9:22 am.