I love buying gifts for other people. I get a great deal of pleasure in finding just the right thing for the person and the occasion being celebrated. When you’re buying a gift for someone you know, it shouldn’t be that difficult and doesn’t have to be extravagant. It would seem that men are more difficult to buy for than women especially when they seem to have everything they need or could want. I have a male friend I’ve known for many years. However its only been that past few years that I been exchanging birthday and Christmas gifts with him and his wife. For Christmas you can sometimes get something for the home that both spouses can enjoy, but when it comes to birthdays I like to get something that’s specific to the person. My friend is a sports fans, and one year prior to his birthday I made a point of checking out his library. I noticed there weren’t any books about baseball. My friend is a big Red Sox fan so I got him a book on the history of the Red Sox.
This past Christmas I wanted to get something that was specifically for him. I had gotten his wife handmade scented soaps. Although they were technically a gift for the house, I knew that his wife would really appreciate them and they would have no meaning for him. Tom and Ellen have a wonderful dog that stays with me when they travel. Tom adores this dog. As I browsed online for just the right thing, I found a paperweight that said “If you love me, you must love my dog.” I thought this was a great sentiment and just right for Tom.
This story doesn’t end there, because the art of gift giving isn’t just about getting the right gift. It’s also about the presentation and the delivery. By the time I found the paperweight and had it delivered, Tom and Ellen would be gone for the holidays. What to do? I knew they would be spending Christmas at their son’s home. Instead of having the gift delivered to me and not being able to give it until after New Years, I arranged to have it delivered to their son’s office. The phone call I received on Christmas day was great. Not only was the gift spot on, but receiving it unexpectedly on Christmas made it even more special.
Yesterday I was contacted by a client who was traveling and needed a birthday for his son who was turning 18. The client requested a piece of luggage that would fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane. It was left to me to decide where to make the purchase, select the brand of luggage the color and features. In addition to purchasing the gift, I was also tasked with getting it wrapped and purchasing a card. My only thought when entering the card store was to find a card and wrapping paper that weren’t girly and frilly. As I looked at the rolls of wrapping paper I noticed that one was actually made to look like sheet music. That’s when I remembered that my client’s son liked music. A couple of Christmases ago my client was looking to purchase an electronic keyboard for this son. The paper was beige and brown (masculine enough), and I paired it with brown ribbon. I could’ve also bought a card that depicted musical notes and had a nice birthday greeting in it, but I found another card that I thought was just perfect. The cover of the card was a card sized motorcycle jacket. Not just a picture of one, but a faux leather one with miniature zippers. Inside the card it said “Happy Birthday to a real cool dude.” I could just hear my client saying this to his son, and what 18 year old boy doesn’t want to be cool! I knew I had hit the mark when I delivered the gift to my client’s mother. She said the wrapping paper was perfect and loved the card.
Making a gift something special isn’t that difficult. Think about what you know about the person receiving the gift. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- what does the person do professionally?
- does the person have hobbies?
- does the person like to watch or play sports?
- do gadgets turn the person on?
- does the person travel?
- does the person like to cook?
- does the person have a pet?
The last question might seem odd especially if you’re buying a birthday gift, but the answer can help you when buying a card or wrapping paper. It may even help you with the gift as it did for me, but another option for a serious pet lover is a gift for the pet rather than the owner. Pet lovers like when their friends and family pamper their pets.
Hopefully these tips will help you as we approach the spring gift giving season. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations are just around the corner.