Ronna Fisher, Editor-in-Chief
Wedding season is upon us, as well as graduation season. While you can celebrate these auspicious moments in many ways, gifts are often expected. Whether you go all out for a pricey gift or tend to lean more towards cheaper or DIY gifts, here are five more tips for becoming a brilliant gift giver when duty calls.
1.) The classics are classics for a reason:
While it’s fun to get creative and think out of the box, always remember that the classics are classic for a reason. I’m thinking about the recurring theme of a chocolate bar and card for almost any occasion, candy canes for Christmas, chocolates and candy hearts at valentines, flowers for dates and performances, etc. There’s a reason people go back to these timeless choices time and again. If you find yourself stumped and your creative juices blocked, there’s no shame in returning to a traditional gift, no matter the occasion.
One of my favorite ways to liven up a gift is the packaging. We all know that getting a gift handed to you in a walmart sack is completely fine and acceptable. We’re all busy and poor; we understand. But, when a gift is packaged in a creative or fancy way, it just adds a special touch.
My personal favorite way to package is to give a gift within a gift. Give a present in a woven basket or a cute reusable storage box. It’s not only practical and eliminates waste, but it looks really nice too. Add a couple of sheets of tissue paper around the gift, and voila! Also use ribbon, scarves, newspaper or cute paper bags instead of wrapping paper or gift sacks. If you’re a borderline hoarder like me, you can save ribbon, tissue paper and cute bags when you receive presents to reuse later.
3) Mine your resources:
If you’re crafty, own that homemade gift or gift wrap, or ask around for help from your friends. If you have a friend who is a wonderful artist, see if he or she can create something for cheap or even free as a gift for someone. If you have friends who you know can sing–or if you can sing — have your friend serenade your receiver or make a cd with covers of your gift recipient’s favorite songs. I once helped a friend write a couple of poems for a gift. Assess what supplies, talents and talented friends you have, and go with it.
4) Be spontaneous:
Some of my favorite gifts I have ever received have been completely random. It’s always fun to find a random card or treat in your mailbox. Little gifts are a great way of letting someone know that you’re thinking about them. They can also be a wonderful way to show support on tough or scary days. A wonderful friend surprised me on my first day of student teaching with some beautiful bracelets. She had thought of how nervous I might be on my first day, and I loved knowing that she was thinking about me and supporting me.
Another friend surprised me with a care package before I left for a big conference where I would be presenting some research for the first time. She had gathered my favorite snacks and included a note wishing me good luck. I was touched. It takes time to let someone know we’re thinking about them, but when we show support and well wishes in a tangible way, it means a lot.
5) Don’t obsess:
Like I mentioned before, not everyone welcomes or appreciates gifts in the same way. Additionally, it really is the thought and care behind gifts that matter. It is easy to see right through a gift when a person is just trying to throw money or physical things at you to buy acceptance or attention. So, gift giving is not something that should be stressful. It should be fun and sincere.
Moreover, remember that this is just one gift out of many they will receive in a lifetime. It is alright if it is not perfect or if the recipient does not absolutely love it. Try not to gift with lengthy apologies or explanations. Your recipient does not need to be hounded by questions of whether or not they like the gift. Don’t wait around for adoring thank yous or a gushing review of your gift. Don’t bring it up weeks later. Be proud, happy and humble about your present, give it and then forget about it. Or, as the recently popularized disney song quotes, “Let it go.” And, it’s okay if your gifts are late. Who doesn’t love getting birthday presents year round?
So get to gifting, and remember: what goes around comes around. (Insert winky face here).