Dec 09 2018 0 Comments
Now that we are fully enmeshed in the holiday season--and the stores are packed with people snarling at one another for the last Tickle Me Elmo--it is time to brave the crowds and check your list for who in your life has been more nice than naughty. Gift giving is sort of a subtle art; you want to bestow a present that will elicit awe from the receiver, while also being thoughtful, and not so expensive that you can't pay your rent. If you are uber competitive, like myself, you want to present, in all its glory, the best gift said receiver will ever get--at least this year. Here are some easy things to keep in mind on your quest to become a great gift giver, or just a less stressed out one.
Bear with me here, this is going to seem like the most obvious advice ever, but shopping early for gifts will seriously cut your stress in half. It is, in all actuality, the best way to avoid drinking yourself into a coma the week before Christmas because you still haven't bought for your mother-in-law, and you know that whatever you get her will never please her after you stole her son. If that run on sentence hit too close to home, follow this guideline to avoid the shame. Step one: listen and file away when someone mentions being interested in an item, or experience, or even a vague notion. Say, if a friend mentions casually they have always been interested in how to brew beer, make a mental note. Also does anyone remember that Spongebob episode where hes trying to remember something, and he manifests his brain as a room full of on fire filing cabinets? No, just me, cool. Anyways, step two: if you see something that reminds you of said person's filed away interests, buy it regardless of the time of year. Literally those are the only steps to keep from feeling overburdened every time there is a holiday or birthday. Oh, wait, here's a bonus: shop smart. If you see that expensive set of wine glasses your bestie wants are on sale, put 'em in the cart and save yourself some trouble, and some cash later on. See, it's that easy. So put it into practice this year, and I bet you'll feel like the most accomplished person ever come next holiday season.
The absolute best way to be the greatest gift giver you can be, is to be thoughtful. Take the steps from above and really think about what your receivee has interests in. It's totally easy to feel like you need to purchase the most expensive, newest doodad out there, but it won't be worth it if they don't use it. It will also make you feel like a sucky friend if they present you with something super meaningful, and you gift them toe socks. Unless, they are like really into toe socks, then go right ahead. Here's an anecdote you didn't ask for; one year I spent a really long time curating a series of personal gifts for my "best friend" who we shall call Fran (not her real name). On the day we were supposed to do our exchange I present Fran with her gifts, and she is actually touched by how much thought I put into them. Fran then, reluctantly, hands me a recycled gift bag I had given her for her birthday, and to my confusion inside is a stuffed penguin and a holiday themed shot glass. Here's the thing, I think penguins are cute, but they are by far not my favorite animal, and I do not collect shot glasses. Now, before you think I'm being selfish, she could have handmade me a thoughtful card and I would have been deeply grateful. The price tag isn't the important part, its the meaning behind it. You never want your gift to make someone feel unappreciated, or like you don't listen to them. So listen, take notes--mental or otherwise--and it will pay off in the end.
Sometimes you really are at a loss and cannot think of a single thing to gift. In that case, here are some easy gift ideas sure to be a smash. For the person who has everything, or inevitably will just buy what they want themselves, find something that can be personalized. You don't even have to go the monogram route if that's not their thing. I've seen puzzles you can personalize with your own pictures or bracelets that you can put coordinates to your favorite place together. You also aren't relegated to buying just one large gift. Split it up into a cohesive basket of goodies. Say your friend is super into cooking Italian food, buy a cookbook, some fancy pasta, a mini colander, and one of those pasta serving size kitchen tools. Put it all into a box, slap a bow on top, and presto you've got yourself a relatively easy, and thoughtful, gift. You can also splurge on a couple months of a subscription box they will enjoy--you can find them for makeup, crystals/spiritual healing, beer of the month, and even books. Bonus, if they love it, they can continue paying for it themselves after the couple months are up. It's really about thinking a little bit outside the box (I usually do a web deep dive at 1AM when I can't sleep, but hopefully you are a less of an insomniac than I am).
Wrapping gifts can seem like a tedious task, which is why I usually break out my recipe for alcoholic hot chocolate, turn on a favorite Christmas movie, and go to town. A lot of us are not gifted in the gift wrapping arena, getting those sides to fold correctly can be a real pain. If your wrapped gifts turn out looking like they have been run over by a truck, here are some tips that can help. I've learned that if you buy the thicker wrapping paper with grid lines on the back side it'll be easier to get your measurements cut into a straight line. If you've bought a gift in an odd shape that you can't seem to figure out the physics for wrapping, go ahead and put it into a box that is a better shape and wrap that. Another tip, use double sided sticky tape and fold your seam under so it looks a bit more put together. You'll seem really impressive to whomever receives your gift if you forgo the usual shiny bows you get in those big packs, and buy some simple twine or ribbon that you can tie into a bow. For a more DIY look, recycle *clean* brown paper bags and use stamps of your choosing to make 'em special. You might have carve out a little time in you busy schedule to make them pretty, but the end result will make you look like you have your stuff together, even if you don't.
Feel free to use this gift guide for whatever season/occasion you come across. Gift giving is really an all year round thing considering those darn birthdays happen annually. Happy holidays from all of us here at Angel Wings. We hope someone gets you exactly what you want this year!