Because no matter what people say, they really do want presents.

31 Dec
Photo by procsilas

Photo by procsilas

I will admit that I have not always been a great gift-giver. My biggest gift-giving fault is not that I forget birthdays. It’s not that I’m cheap, or that I’m lazy. I’m not a serial re-gifter. It’s not even that I give useless or tacky tchotchkes.

My gift-giving fault is a ridiculously high standard for “the perfect gift.” It runs so deep that if I can’t find exactly the right item in exactly the right size, color, material or flavor, I just won’t give a gift at all. Many don’t understand why I’d rather show up to a party empty handed than with something that’s not completely original and yet perfectly suited to the recipient’s tastes. The truth is this present perfectionism is one part utilitarian (why buy something if I know it won’t be appreciated?) and one part social awkwardness (I am incapable of feigning enthusiasm for bad presents myself, so I find the moment when someone is opening a gift I brought them to be nerve-wracking and cringe-inducing).

Mostly, though, it’s just bad manners.

So, as one more year of inconsistent gift-giving comes to a close, my resolution for 2009 is to conquer this once and for all. I hereby resolve to find a gift for every occasion where it’s appropriate. Here’s my plan:

  • Strategy 1: Plan ahead. There are many websites that will send birthday reminders. I think Facebook even has a birthday reminder application. I’ve just added all of my friends birthdays and anniversaries into my favorite productivity tool, Remember The Milk, and set up alerts for two weeks prior to each birthday.
  • Strategy 2: Never stop looking. If I see something in June that a friend would love, I will buy it right then even if their birthday’s not until October. I’ll keep a stockpile, and will never be caught giftless again.
  • Strategy 3: To find the perfect gift, I will remember that the “IFT” in GIFT stands for Interactive, Fun, and Thematic. Interactive because the best gifts are those that can be experienced, like skydiving or phone calls from minor celebrities. If the gift is a “thing” instead of an experience, then a pre-gift scavenger hunt, trivia game or clue trail will bump up the fun factor a notch. Finally, deciding on a theme for each recipient will cut down on your brainstorming time. My niece always gets something artistic. My best friend always gets something related to baking or cooking. My boyfriend gets a new musical instrument. 
  • Strategy 4: When in doubt, order a magazine subscription. Who doesn’t love magazines?

One Response to “Because no matter what people say, they really do want presents.”


  1. Five Unexpected Benefits of Travel « Everybody’s Invited! - January 14, 2012

    […] have a source of great gifts for friends and family. I’ve written about how I am an inconsistent gift-giver. One trick for no-fail gifting is to bring back awesome souvenirs from your travels. Now I pretty […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: