In a New York Times article from a few years ago, a reporter interviewed a psychologist about the importance of gift giving. Among the historical explanations of gifts (such as finding a mate), the article listed some of the reasons to give a gift: it shows interest in your partner or friend, it teaches us social cues, and it even reinforces our own feelings of pride and feeling effective.
When you are looking for a present to give your friend, family member, or significant other this year, let’s try to brainstorm a little harder than just sneaking a peek at their Christmas list or, even worse, asking them directly. Instead, here are five tips on how to find a gift for anyone on your list that will make them feel loved, and might even make you feel better in the process.
1 – Find a gift that is unique to them
You might be thinking to yourself, “Um, obviously, what do you think I’ve been doing this whole time?” and you’re not wrong. This advice sounds a little too intuitive. However, let’s dig in a little bit. When was the last time the person you’re getting a gift for got really excited about something? Can you name a time that they told you that they couldn’t wait to do this activity or see that movie? What was the last show they told you they spent the whole weekend binging?
When looking for gifts, think about something that would, in the words of Marie Kondo, “spark joy” in your friend’s life. It does not have to be big or expensive, but it shows that you are doing more than waiting until the last minute to scour Target for something that “just works.” Instead, it shows that you are paying attention to their interests. And it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Maybe you have a cousin who loves streetwear and design, you don’t have to buy him a $300 shirt (or a $1000 brick, don’t ask). Instead, get him a look book of his favorite designers. This shows that you actually listened to them and found something that is unique specifically to them.
2 – Make the gift personal (or personalized)
(A person’s name is) “the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” - Author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
Simply put, people love personalized gifts (stats). A big reason for that love is because it shows that you didn’t just get something in the last minute. Even if it is as simple as putting someone’s name on a water bottle, giving someone a personalized gift shows that you planned ahead and took the time to get something specifically for them.
If you want to give a gift that is both personal and personalized, look at what that person may need or have a great use for. It could be a new toiletry bag, a new travel coffee cup, or a pillow to liven up their living room. Or it could be something less obvious or potentially cluttering. It could be a photo of the stars on their birthday, or a box of their favorite cookies, or a coffee mug from their favorite coffee shop. Whatever it is, make it something that is personal to them and their life.
3 – Something to that brings you two closer together
In the same vein, maybe that something personal can be something for the two of you to share. If you are looking for a spouse, maybe instead of getting something personal to them, you get something personal to the two of you, like a photo album of the locations you went on for your first dates. If you are looking for a friend, instead of just getting them a beer mug with their name on it, get a couple of glasses and new drinks to try. Or if you’re looking for a family member you don’t live close to, why not send them something that bridges the distance, like unique gifts from your state or something from your childhood?
4 – Something they can do, not just something they can have
And if number 3 is still leaving you stuck, then why not get that person in your life who is tough to buy for an experience either for them to do or something you can do together. This doesn’t have to just be a trip to the spa or tickets to a concert. It could be giving the person a journal with topics already picked to get them writing (and if you got one for yourself, you could compare responses). You could build a map of interesting things to do in your city and then spend a day going on a mini-road trip around town. Cooking classes never go out of style, but if they aren’t big fans of cooking, maybe look into a coffee tasting class, or a bartending class to learn how to make new cocktails? The joy of giving someone an experience over a material gift is that it keeps on giving. The memories they make in that experience both shows that you care and gives them a new story to tell.
5 – Finally, don’t be afraid to get sentimental
To cap it all off, there is also nothing wrong with being a little sappy. The gifts that mean the most are the ones that show you care. While all the other tips are great brainstorm ideas, the gifts that truly came from the heart are the ones that people will cherish. It can be as simple as a photo you took years ago that your spouse didn’t know you had. Even for friends, you could give them a keepsake from something you would do together (like framing a token from an arcade you would go to). Or a notebook full of things you appreciate about that person. Whatever it is, make it something that shows you cherish your time with them.
Quilted’s unique packages hit on every one of those five areas. Give the person on your list the gift of shared memories. Each package is full of questions that come from both professional interviewers and personally added by you. This makes giving Quilted to someone both incredibly unique just to them and incredibly personal, because it is a chance to tell their stories. And even more important, it is a chance for both of you to get closer. You can answer the questions together, or share your responses after, and giving someone the chance to share memories in a way that is captured forever? Well, you don’t get more sentimental or grow closer together than that.