The Art of Gift Giving


Yes, gift giving is an art, but mostly it is an acquired skill. A very valuable skill. A good gift makes the recipient feel validated, love an appreciated. Right? Gifts can either cement relationships or cause the fissure that eventually makes them fall apart. I am sure you are thinking, “Ugh, such materialism. My relationships have nothing to do with such hedonistic thinking.” Well think again, my friend. I LOVE the Christmas holidays. I am sure if you visited our online store at Lady Builder Shops, you are aware of my obsession. But, I totally understand Christmas decorating and gifting is not every ones forte. That said, we all have to do some gifting during the holidays, so why not be the “Good Gifter?”

So what is the difference between a good gift and a terrible gift? Surprisingly, it is not money. It is usually about an investment of time and thought. So let me help you get started on your quest to be the best possible gift giver you can be. Purchase a charming notebook to make your list. You’ll need one just like Santa, except yours is not to list those who are naughty or nice. Separate your list into tiers—family, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, your loving spouse, etc. Don’t forget your mailman, Pilates instructor, manicurist and hairdresser. They are all important in your life, after all. I hate to use this truly ugly word at my most favorite time of the year, but it’s necessary. BUDGET. That hideous word can ruin everything. However, it’s out there and it’s real, so let’s just deal with it. Now, in your new elegant notebook, with the pen that makes your handwriting look fabulous, write down the amount you are going to spend this year. Be very strong and write $$$ by each name. (Then forget about it. The economy needs help too, you know.)

Think about all these special wonderful people in your life. Think about what they like, not what you like. It takes a lot of time, thought and awareness. But, if you listen closely, you can give the perfect gift to the ones you love.The Good Gifter realizes that there is a difference between needs and wants. A gift, by its very nature, is about want. A little “need” is always appreciated, but it is hard to get excited over gold toe socks.

Now, lets address the classic Bad Gifter. Some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. There is hope for the Bad Gifter, though. I am not saying it is easy to convert this breed into excellent giver, but I personally have witnessed a few transformations.The first step is always to gift the Bad Gifter with the perfect present. Do not forget to wrap it in such a way that it is obviously a gift meant for them. Get creative. Remember, you are the Good Gifter! This is fun for you! When everyone in the room praises your keen insight, your perfect appropriateness, and silently takes note that the success of your gift was not about spending lots of money, the Bad Gifter will want to switch teams and receive accolades too! Of course, they will not get it right at first. It takes time to develop this skill. However, if they persevere, eventually they will experience an epiphany. That’s the hope, at least, for those on the receiving end.

Things that every good gifter knows:

  1. Know your audience. Give them what they like.
  2. Men, try and stay away from electric cords. Trite, but true.
  3. Women, the day of the tie is over!
  4. Don’t give anyone anything with nuts in it. Everyone is allergic to nuts these days.
  5. Gluten is only a few steps behind.
  6. When gifting co-workers—go online. Get a little humorous. (Not personal, just a little funny.
  7. Forget about being practical, as long as the recipient doesn’t live in a homeless shelter.
  8. Someone likes to entertain? Go online and purchase 12 napkin rings that match their decor. Stay away from any skull and crossbone motifs.
  9. For the “always golfing person:” stay away from the golf paraphernalia. Believe me, they already own it.
  10. For the mom: Don’t say she has everything. She doesn’t. (Have you seen her ratty looking robe?)
  11. For the mother-in-law: Ditto.
  12. For the wife: Jewelry is always accepted. HINT: Do not buy her your mother’s Perfume because it smells soooo good to you.
  13. For the husband: Don’t spend any money. You know…
  14. For the father: Hmmm. Take a good look. Maybe his 100 lb. Golf bag from 1997 should be replaced. (This is the only exception to the Golfing Rule).
  15. For the father-in-law: He kind of sets the tone with this one. Take a hard look.
  16. For clients: Depends on what kind of client he is. Is he a can of popcorn guy or a unique wine taster?
  17. For the boss: All they want from you is for you to work really, really hard and never talk to them. Tough gift.
  18. For the little kids: Just punch their age into the search engine on Amazon and create a toy fenzy. Build a charming vignette of giftsfor each child in their own special wrapping paper.
  19. For the grown kids: Since you spend so much quality time with them, you know exactly what they would like, so go online and please them.

For more great ideas, check out our gifts on Lady Builder Shops.

Here are some examples of great gift ideas :



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