The art of giving thoughtful gifts

Posted on: February 15, 2009


I have been thinking about the art of giving gifts throughout this weekend – with Valentines and birthdays and lots of activities happening around us. 

We all want to give our loved ones the most perfect and exquisite gift ever. Hours at the mall are spent in figuring out the perfect present. And no matter how expensive the gift is, the satisfaction is often missing. Wonder why?

It is partly because we concentrate on the superficiality of things, forgetting the fact that what would impress most is not the latest branded hobos bag, but something entirely different. Something which might appear futile to others. Something that is embellished with an emotional attachment. The best gift is one we can relate to. One that brings back memories and those memories bring that priceless smile to the face.

Let’s put it this way: you’ve spent an hour checking out the bouquets at the flower market, but can’t spot the perfect one. While searching for the articulate blend, you forgot that just one rose from your very own garden would have been better than all those at the flower shop. Memories play an important part in our life. People remember you from the positive difference you’ve made in their life. And as a present, you can present them with something that shows the positive difference they’ve made to your life. Let others know that they are valued. Let them know that you are ready to go that extra mile for them, because they matter.

A gift is an acknowledgment… an appreciation… a symbol. This is why its important to choose the right kind of gifts for the right occasions based on the person you are giving it to, and on your relationship with him or her. You don’t have to give chocolates and flowers on valentines just because everyone else in the world is doing that – make your gesture special and customized. 

The thing to remember about gifts is that if you like something, that doesn’t necessarily mean the other person wants it too. A fancy new pair of shoes that you like for yourself may not be the best gift for your mother in law. Always put yourself in the receiver’s shoes when buying a gift, and think about how they feel about things, what their likes/dislikes are, where are they coming from, what stage in life are they in, what would they appreciate most, what do they need, what would make them smile. If you can get this right, you will be able to master the art of giving gifts. 

Just giving a card off the shelf would not have that emotional appeal as the card that you make yourself. The fact that you took out time to make something unique would speak itself for the commitment. That particular card would hold the highest importance. Why? Because no other card like that exists. That one card is unique.

You don’t necessarily have to pick out the most expensive sweater from the market, when you can make one yourself. You don’t have to search for the perfect photo frame when you can make an entire collage from the pictures you have.  You don’t have to go all out in a shopping spree, when you can get lovely little hand-made crafts that speak volumes. In short: you don’t have to be choosy; you just have to be thoughtful. Giving a gift is a token of your appreciation of the other’s presence, and to project that affluently don’t get lost in the intricacies and superficiality of things. What glitters may seem fancy, but what matters might not always be that.


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