There are two types of gift-givers… those who give you what they think you should have and those who seem to know exactly what you would love. Try as I might, I am afraid I fall into the first category, (but am very fortunate to have someone in my life who is in the second). However, this season, I have come up with a few guidelines to help any gift-giver (or me) give a better gift!
First, take the time to think of the recipient of your gift, picture them in their everyday life. Observe their taste and style. If they wear bright flashy colors, consider their personal choice and add to it with even more of the spectrum. Similarly, if your person typically dresses in black from their leather boots to the scull hat on their head, stick with their preferred hues. Note the complexity in fabric and know if your person is partial to linen, wool, cotton or are they a wash and wear type. Gift giving isn’t meant to be your chance to change your loved one, but an opportunity to let them know you paid attention, you get them, you love them for who they are already.
Second, note what your gift-getter normally uses. Can you imagine what might make their day a bit easier? Perhaps you can anticipate their need for new winter running pants or water-proof/wind-resistant gloves or tea candles with a blend of essential oils guaranteed to clear the mind or a 70% cocoa powder ready for milk and Kahlua and Schnapps. Yes, I have been the recipient of all these gifts and each one came out of their box and right into action. Each either made my play outside in the cold or my return inside at the end of my day more enjoyable! That’s the high mark you want to hit with your gift–out of the box and right into their life.
I do want to caution you to avoid anything in a gift-set, you know, those pre-packaged assortments, where someone else, some marketeer in a marketing office, at least a year before that package got on your box-store shelf, decided on this combination. How many times do you really only want one of the items, but, the price drives your purchase? I say just say no, let it stay there, in fact leave the box-store all together and head to find the one item you had in mind in the first place.
Specialty gifts show you care and not only about your person, but your neighborhood shopkeeper, your local community. Think about who makes or supplies the best of what you want and head there to do your shopping. We are lucky here in Vermont to have so many small businesses offering us everything from artisan chocolate and cheeses, to furniture and snowboards; there is even an extraordinary line of women’s outwear that certainly makes everything I need to do outside better! But all over the country there are many shops where you can chose the best of what you want from the best of who provides it.
Do remember, gifts don’t have to be bought at all.
Time is a great gift, as is listening, caring, just being there when needed. In this hectic time, when we are all racing to find that one perfect thing, it is important to remember to savour one precious moment. Watch the faint sunlight drop below the ridge and turn the whole mountain an irridensent pink or enjoy the pair of crimson cardinals at the feeder just outside your breakfast nook. Make sure you find a quiet moment to sit in the glow of your Christmas tree after the children are in bed and spend that one flash of time together. This gift of time will say thanks for being you, with me.