Gift Giving 101 – What To Do When Your Idea Fails
By: Lori Thayer
Is giving the the perfect gift always possible? From experience, it definitely isn't. When you don't know a person well gift giving can be very difficult. Even for family members giving a present that is appreciated can be hard.
How do you determine whether a present was successful?
- Appreciation – Is it important to you that the recipient acknowledges the gift, thanks you and shows enthusiasm for the item?
- Usefulness – Is the perfect gift something that you see the recipient use or display?
- Happiness – Does the right present bring happiness to the receiver? How do you determine if it made them happy?
It can be very disappointing to know a gift was not well received. It may be that it was the wrong size or color and is easily exchanged. Maybe you find the person doesn't even take the item out of the box though.
Gift giving is particularly difficult for one member of my family (my father). I try every year and more often than not I fail. He appreciates all of the gifts but many never make it out of their box. I find it frustrating, but I don't hink it bothers him at all. He would be happy if I didn't even get him a gift. That is not an option for me so I strive to do a better job as a gift giver each time.
Over the years I've tried harder to find "useful" presents. This may not be the right approach for though.
Assess previous gifts
For friends or family members it is important to asses previous gifts before planning for the next one.
- List the gifts you recall giving this person (Christmas, Birthday and any others). You can simply write this on a piece of notebook paper or keep an ongoing list in Evernote.
- Which were a success? Separate the gifts into lists for successful and not so successful gifts
- Look for reasons why those in the successful list were popular? Were they gifts of time, or memories? Maybe the successful presents were something the recipient could use over and over.
- Now ponder the not so successful items. Is there a common thread amongst them?
This exercise gives you a few gift giving ideas. Having a sense for what type of present this person likes is important.
In doing an assessment I found that it is a bad idea to give my father a technical gift. If I set it up ahead of time it can be a good gift, e.g. Filling the SD card with photos for the digital photo frame I gave him.
This year for his birthday I gave him a Kindle. The Kindle hasn't even been turned on and won't be until I visit later this month and set it up. I should have realized and planned for that before sending him the gift.
Plan for future gifts
Often when it is time to purchase a gift you may not know what to get. Set yourself up for success with a few tips. Gift giving should be fun and not stressful!
- Unless the person enjoys "tinkering" with the item you are giving with them set it up for them ahead of time. Most of us don't want presents that require work on our part. This is where it is important to refer back to previous gifts and how the person felt about them. I love reading books but I generally don't want them as a gift because they just become one more in the stack I already have waiting to be read.
- Save a list of specific ideas for your loved ones. List the types of gifts they would enjoy based on your previous gift assessment.
- Ask the recipient for a list of items they want or make notes throughout the year of items they have expressed an interest in.
- Clip products or ideas from the web using Evernote web clipper. Then a month ahead of time just refer back to these ideas when choosing the perfect gift.
Share your gift giving success or failure stories in the comments below or on Facebook.
Lori Thayer is passionate about finding ways to simplify and enrich life. She also shares tips on connecting more meaningfully with others. Bring order and calm to your home with her system, The Clean Routine.