Gift giving! Why does it have to be so hard?
Does just the thought of trying to find that perfect gift for a friend or loved one make your toes curl?
There's a reason for that... gift-giving... and gift-receiving... conjures up a lot of emotional baggage from childhood. Every soul alive, at least once in his life, suffered crushing disappointment at a gift he received.
You remember... when you were ten years old and had been hinting that you would really like a new bike. Instead came a box of the dreaded... clothing... or worse yet... books! Yuck!
One Christmas morning when I was a child, I tore into the biggest box under the tree (my gift from "Santa"). This was after days of excited anticipation, box shaking and dreamy speculation.
And guess what it was? A pillow! Yep, my Mom had actually gifted her 8-year-old daughter with something even worse than clothing or books!
I glued a smile on my face, thanked her, and privately seethed for years! She acted innocent but I often wondered if she did it out of meanness. Because that's how it felt to a young girl.
How about the other end of the gifting thing... how many times in your life have you missed the mark by a mile; by giving the totally WRONG gift to a loved one?
I once gave my (overweight) brother a 6-month gym membership for Christmas. This thoughtless gift was not appreciated... or ever forgotten.
So how can you overcome the emotional roadblocks from the past and transform yourself into a thoughtful and much appreciated gift-giver?
Just follow our tips below and you'll surprise yourself... and enchant your gift recipients.
The Best Gift Ideas
1. Start early
This is probably the most crucial element in the art of gifting. Give yourself plenty of time (weeks even) to plan, brainstorm, acquire and prepare that "perfect gift".
You don't want to be wandering around the mall on Christmas Eve... searching for a pearl amid the debris left behind by smarter, earlier shoppers.
2. Thoughtful Selection
And this is admittedly the hardest part of gift giving; coming up with the perfect item. The best way to do this is also to give yourself plenty of time.
Get pen and paper and make a list of all of your ideas and gift possibilities.
The way your gift is wrapped can add mightily to the ambiance of the moment... for better or worse.
Make the gift-wrapping fit the gift. Don't place beautifully patterned tissue paper and a lavish bow on a cheap pair of slippers from Walmart. Or hand your wife a pair of diamond earrings, unwrapped, still in the bag from the store.
The proper gift-wrapping conveys the message that you cared enough to think this through.
4. The all important message
ALWAYS include a meaningful message with your gift. Yes, that means even for a Christmas gift to a child.
Just a sentence or two wishing them a Happy Birthday and hoping that this Virtual Reality game will give them hours of fun with their friends.