How to be a Good Gift Giver

Have you ever been stressed over buying a loved one a gift? Wondering: Will it fit? Will she like it? Is it the right color? Does she already have one? Is this too little? Too much?

For me, this used to happen every Christmas. I didn’t mean to get overwhelmed with the gift buying process. It’s not that my wife was super picky, needy or finicky. She didn’t have it all. For all intents and purposes, she should have been easy to buy for.

I think I know how I got this way, though. . .

I’ve had some doozies in our past. One year, while engaged, I bought her a snow globe. She almost threw it at my head!  The Christmas after, I spent 4 months in Europe, I gave her ornaments not from the markets in Vienna or Rome but from the local discount store.

Yikes. When I think back, I can’t believe she still married me. What a woman!

The funny thing: now, we pull out those ornaments and that snow globe every year at Christmas. She gives me a knowing, teasing glare. I shrug. We laugh. Memories.

I like to think about the good gifts I’ve received. They’re ones that hold particular meaning to me.

As a kid, I wanted a catcher’s mitt for the longest time. I kept asking and asking.   Finally, one day Dad took me on an outing to the sport’s store and let me pick out the one I wanted.

My dad passed away when I was a teenager. To this day, that mitt is extra special to me. It has invaluable meaning. The outing was a great one. So were all the days following when Dad and I would go out and play catch together.

The mitt represents the special relationship between Dad and me. Even before he passed away, that mitt had that special meaning.

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I’ll tell you, that was a good gift. But… what are the secret ingredients that make a gift a good gift? Is it how much you spend? How far you travel to get it? How big it is?

Why is gift giving so important? Is it to fulfill that materialistic instinct inside of each of us?

Well, no. Not at all. Gift giving is an important way to express your love and appreciation for someone. It comes naturally to some of us and for some of us, it’s a painful process. On the flip side, some of us love accepting gifts; others have a hard time accepting any type of gift at all.  For all of us, gift giving (and receiving) is a really useful tool to utilize in building meaningful relationships.

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I’ll share with you a leader’s approach to gift giving through 5 helpful tips:

  1. Intangible. Gifts shouldn’t always be physical. Consider gifting them with a memory. Sports tickets. Letting them use your pool. Hiring a babysitter to open up a night out. Be creative with your choice of gift. Show you are thinking outside the box to something that would be truly appreciated. Gift your time, not just your money.
  2. Thoughtful. Let your gift always be thoughtful. Use the opportunity of giving as a sign of your dedication and closeness to your relationship – whether a friend, colleague, significant other or family member. A thoughtful gift shows your attentiveness in communication, that you listen to and understand them on a personal level. Thoughtfulness shows that you are willing to go the extra mile to consider them as an individual in the gift.
  3. Flavorful.  If you are using gifts often to show love and encouragement, consider adding flavor into them. Meaning food. Food is a great gift because eating together is a shared experience that represents life and community.
  4. Fitting. Consider gifts that fit the personality. If the gift receiver is a fun-loving, adventurous character, reflect on what gifts would relate to them on their personality level. Doing this will ensure your gift will get more enjoyment and use – and the more use it gets, the more the person will think of you!  
  5. Personal. Be mindful of their personal space, pictures, collectables, food choices and enjoyments. Consider the kind of books they read or stories they like to tell. By having awareness of what they naturally surround themselves with, you will be able to tailor your gift to that person in a special way.

If you are like me and the process of gift giving can be difficult because you agonize over whether your decision is right or not, keep this list handy! Remember, even an ugly sweater, when packaged with a fun night out on the town and a memorable walk by the lake, can be special to that special someone.

Best of luck, and….

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