It’s birthday season once again. And I call this time of the year birthday season because it seems that everyone around me is born in May or June including yours truly.
So while I’m still getting used to being 21, I’ve been thinking of what to gift myself. I realized that although I’d appreciate shoes or clothes, I won’t be necessary wowed by them, mainly because I’m not very fashion forward. I would describe my style as homeless chic. It just makes no sense to waste such lovely apparels on me.
Which makes buying gifts for me that much harder.
The fact is that when it comes to gifting girls, we tend to get lazy and assume that all girls are the same and thus would die for a new pair of jeans. Or even more ghastly, we opt for an underwhelming mug. And not even a personalized one.
We forget that people are unique creatures, each one of us extra-ordinary with our own individual quirks and thus deserve a little extra thought put into gifts.
The process of brainstorming ideas can be vigorous and sometimes fruitless, often frustrating us to the point that we give up and pop into the next ceramic shop. Well, here is a comprehensive guide to choosing a memorable gift.
No more coffee mugs!
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It cracks me up when people give a lack of time as an excuse for an underwhelming gift (of course it is the thought that counts but still). It’s ridiculous because birthdays aren’t emergencies that spring up on the calendar unexpectedly. They happen on the same day every year without fail. There’s a whole year to prepare. So don’t wait until the day before to begin thinking of what to get someone. That road leads only to one place. The land of mediocre gifts.
If your aim is to give a gift that stands out among the blur of meh presents then do yourself a favour and give yourself enough time to prepare.
For this exercise to work, you’ve got to keep an open mind.
Realize that a girl’s gift does not have to be pretty or pink and a man’s gift does not have to be something overly rustic. A good gift does not have to bankrupt you and no gift ideas are nonsensical as long as they stem from the person’s character. Most gifts are memorable not because of what they actually are or what they cost but because they hold deep sentimental value for the receiver.
As established, every person is unique and individual with traits that make them who they are. When thinking of your friend, what is the first thing that comes to mind? What traits make them who they are? Write these down. This includes weird habits they have as well as hobbies. Maybe a friend of yours loves cooking. Maybe she’s fond of coloured hair. Maybe she loves to play chess. Try to write as many quirks as possible. You may need to observe your friend for some time to do this.
Next, pay attention to important things they need. Maybe something needs replacing? Write it down. Write as many needs as you can find. Once again you may need to stake out for a while. While doing this, keep in mind their present circumstances e.g. maybe your friend started a new and very demanding job a few months ago. Then she’d probably be due for a relaxation session.
Great! Now we have several quirks and needs down. It’s time to begin exploring and exploiting these quirks and needs. Brainstorm gift ideas for each. Make use of the internet, ask another friend. Whatever resources you have available, use it. Remember to keep an open mind. Write down the ridiculous, the expensive, the gauche. It doesn’t even have to be material. A vacation. A dinner. Everything goes down.
You can also have ideas that cut across several needs/ quirks. For example if a friend of mine loves cooking and chess, a gift idea can be a chess-themed apron or set of glasses with funny chess statements on them.
Alright! So hopeful by now, you have a list of potential gift ideas. I bet you’re shocked by how many you were able to come up with.
Now, we are going to rank them according to feasibility, sentimental value and usefulness.
Feasibility is a function of cost and availability so list your gift ideas such that the ones topping the list are the cheapest and most easily obtained gifts. Also the ones on top should be the ones with most sentimental value and that would be most useful to the receiver.
You can use this key:
FEASIBILITY- High- 3, Medium- 2, Low-1
SENTIMENTAL VALUE- High- 3, Medium- 2, Low – 1
USEFULNESS- Very useful – 3, Moderately useful -2, Not useful -1
So basically the ones with the highest scores are the most feasible, the most useful and hold the most sentimental value.
Before making a decision on what to get, see how you can modify the ideas. For example the sentimental value of say a set of glasses can be raised by personalizing it with the quirky chess statements which automatically makes it rank higher. You can make something more feasible by getting a coupon. You can also combine gifts.
LET’S TAKE AN EXAMPLE:
Let’s imagine that one of my friend’s quirks is a love for cooking.
QUIRK- Loves to Cook
High tech blender
NEED- Baking supplies
Now I rank the gifts:
So through the key, I was able to realize that the blender will not be as useful as the oven. And from the table, you can see that the plan A should be oven mitts. However I can decide to go with the Apron and increase its sentimental value by personalizing it. I can also combine the Apron and the oven mitts for a complete package. Or I can skip all those completely and opt to buy the oven instead because I saw a good deal online.
I hope you’re getting the idea.
There you have it. You now know the perfect gift to get. And you also have a good list to begin with for Christmas or Easter or next year’s birthday. Now just to get the idea ball rolling, here are some gift ideas I think are cool:
PERSONALIZED JOURNAL: Best for writers, artists, musicians and other creative and introspective people.
CAMERA: Best for photographers, bloggers etc.
PERSONALIZED POCKET WATCH: Best for history buffs, historical fiction writers or just anyone that appreciate English history.
TICKET STUB DIARY: Can be a book or a photo album for ticket stubs, bus tickets and other memorabilia. Best for travel bloggers, air hostesses, pilots and anyone else that moves around a lot.
CUSTOMIZED MAGAZINE- A few pages in a magazine format containing the birthday person’s best moments. Best for journalist types, News Buffs etc.
ONE LAST THING…
The perfect way to cement your gift’s position among the most memorable is to deliver it in a unique and engaging way. When I was in boarding school, anything that would usually qualify as a great gift was contraband. Wrist watches, Jewellery, Novels… heck, even money. So we made do with handmade gifts. However the delivery more than always made up for the gifts. I remember organizing a scavenger hunt for a friend of mine, leaving little clues in all her favorite hangs. For more delivery ideas, check here and here
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Thank you for reading. What do you guys think of these steps? And what do you guys usually do when trying to find gifts for friends and loved ones? Tell me in the comment section!!!
Alright, it’s the end of the post which means: