Serious gift-givers may invest hours in thinking about gift ideas and looking for the perfect gift but most of us don’t have the time and sometimes even a budget to match that kind of perfection. So often, we just land up buying generic gifts that may not even be preserved until the next year.
During this brouhaha of buying a gift, a zealous gift-giver usually assumes that an expensive gift may feel more special. But most times, the receiver feels burdened by a hefty price tag. Although an expensive gift may take you a long way with popularity, it’s a thoughtful gift that would create an impression of a lifetime. It may sound too good to be true but a meaningful gift doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or time. The gift should demonstrate the thoughtfulness of the giver. It should be able to evoke emotions every time it is used, seen or even thought about. It should be able to strengthen alliances which reap the intangible reward of happiness in the giver and the receiver.
Decipher the meaningful gifting code for everyone, from your family and friends to your boss and colleagues, even those whom you might know only a little about.
Gifting homemade food to an epicurean would probably be the most thoughtful gift. You could pass on your traditional culinary skills or secret family recipe. Create a small recipe booklet or just write basic instructions with the ingredients to cook it and give it in a basket decorated with ribbons. If the recipient is not an ardent chef, making a batch of their favourite cookies or chocolates would seem a good gift.
A tea/coffee gift basket with an assortment of tea/coffee could be an instant hit with a tea connoisseur. Add coffee mugs found in gift/bargain shops or a tea set. Some gift shops even personalise them. Tea cookies or biscotti in a decorated tin or rewrapped add a personal touch.
A big bag of assorted nuts may not seem like a meaningful gift to any sane person. But it can be a healthy and meaningful gift for people close to us who deal with our craziness. A nutty personal note saying, “I know I drive you nuts but thank you for loving me anyway” could add a personal touch to it particularly if you’re trying to show appreciation or say sorry to the recipient.
It may seem daunting to make a gift, however it will be a gift that will be remembered by the recipient for years to come. A little thought and time is all that is required.
Making glittered candles couldn’t be simpler. Just buy plain candles and place it in a box. Apply a coat of glue and spoon glitter on them. Let it dry overnight. These candles will add sparkle to the recipient’s room even when it’s not lit. One idea is to make an ‘I love you because’ box. Fill a box with handwritten notes bearing messages about why you love the person. Adding ribbons, buttons or things that you would think are beautiful would make it even more personal. Another simple yet expressive idea to make a gift would be burning a CD of the recipient’s favourite music.
Buy a couple of tickets to the recipient’s favourite show, drama, concert or movie. You could probably even write a personalised note saying, “You rock my world,” “You are the leading lady/man in my life.”
With technologically advanced cameras, today, we click more pictures than ever. But most of these photos never make it out of our computer. Fill a journal with pictures, memorable quotes and moments to celebrate the receiver of the gift. Decorate it with ribbons or coloured paper to add more spark to the gift.
A collage of photos can be easily made on a computer or by simply glueing pictures on a sheet of paper. This collage could be framed and would make a wonderful gift to be cherished forever.
Blast from the past gift
If your gift can evoke nostalgia in the receiver, it can’t get more meaningful than that. Make a memory drawing. You don’t have to be remotely artistic to make this gift. Just draw a simple picture on a paper of one special memory that you share with that person. For example, if you solved crosswords with the recipient then make a small crossword-drawing with meaningful words like love, peace, friendship etc. Get this framed so that it can be preserved forever.
If the gift recipient is away from home, getting their favourite local food shipped could be a great gifting option.
Gift of time or skill
There are some things money can’t buy. You could gift someone your time. Give the recipient a music lesson or help them set up a blog or plant a garden—any skill that you have and the recipient would love to inculcate.
We all have a friend or family member who expresses their interest in learning a skill like dance or pottery. But they make excuses to join a class. Enroll them to one to get them started.
Financial and charitable gifts
Instead of giving clutter gifts to children, open a joint or individual account for a child and contribute an amount every birthday. Your child or someone else’s child will look back over the years and thank you for the precious gift you have given them. It will even be appreciated by other parents.
Any act of kindness and generosity comes back to us multifold. A gift of donation to a cause close to someone could exponentially increase their happiness and sentiments. However, this gift should be exclusively given to someone who is philanthropic by nature.
Gifts in a jar
Buy a plant from a local nursery and instead of a traditional clay pot, pot it in a mason jar. A herb like tulsi, coriander or mint would be preferable choice. It will be an aesthetic as well as utility gift.
Homemade sugar scrub in a jar is a good gift for any beauty conscious person. It can be effortlessly made by combining 1 cup of cane sugar, 1 cup light olive oil, 4 – 5 drops of vitamin E oil and ½ tsp vanilla essence. It is an excellent scrub for the feet and hands. A clever tip to gift it would be to embellish it with ribbons
and a note.
Monogramming is the easiest way to add personal touch to any gift. In fact, it has been a common practice since centuries. People pressed for ideas could get a gift monogrammed. You won’t need to drift around because a lot of companies and stores specialise in monogramming and monogram almost anything from watches to towels. A personal message or just the initials of the recipient is a good way to show someone you care. If you can’t manage to find a monogrammer just grab a permanent ink marker or a tube of oil/fabric paint and get going by making a small motif of initials on a T-shirt, coffee mug or even coasters.
A gift certificate or card would be the last resort of a thoughtful gift-giver and it can be easily labelled as a fall back. However, it could be personalised in the most meaningful way. All you need to do is find out one interest of the recipient. For example, if you’re gifting an avid reader, make a list of some of the books he or she might love and attach it with a gift certificate of a book store.
Gift of love
When we bear in mind that the best gifts are our family and friends we embrace the true spirit of gifting. That’s why the most meaningful gift of Love cannot be wrapped. And it is one gift that will always be the most thoughtful gift of all times and seasons.
This was first published in the February 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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