The art of gifting
The science of gifting is so complex that, if left in the hands of a supercomputer, would take days to sort out. There are no logical solutions or fixed set of rules that can assure you of the ideal result. Gifting, however, is a subtle projection of the relationship you believe you share with the recipient, as well as the significance of that relationship.
It isnʼt just about the blue Tiffany box or red Cartier case that makes it a sure win, although we have been informed on several occasions that they definitely help with scoring points. No, gifting is a gesture of thanks. Throwing money at the process simply shows you value things in a financial sense. Instead, choose something you think they will love.
KNOW THE RECIPIENT
First of all, you have to understand the relationship you share with the giftee and the level of intimacy in your relationship. Work relationships (bosses, peers, subordinates and the secretary, who stands in a category of his/her own) should not be confused with personal relationships (parents, friends, best friends, significant others and relatives near and far).
The first golden rule of gifting is to vive from the heart, not from the head. The second is to never repeat a gift, unless you truly believe both recipients will love the item. In that case, be upfront about it. The final rule is to never ask what someone wants for a gift. You will never get a straight answer, or if you do, it will probably be something you wonʼt purchase, and the result can be awkward. Besides part of good gifting is in identifying a suitable gift.
Finally, donʼt wait till the last minute to find a gift. Plan it out so that you have ample time to find the right item for the person.
WHAT TO BUY
There are no hard and fast rules. The best approach may be to engage in a bit of snooping to learn about the personʼs interests and passions, and find a gift that appeals to those. If this proves too challenging, we have some excellent ideas.
YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER Breakfast in bed is a surefire way of igniting joy and appreciation, or a candlelight dinner at a restaurant (or if you ʼre a good cook, at home). Flowers are also an excellent idea. Just remember to stay away from the carnations and peonies, and stick to roses, lilies or tulips. Jewellery is an excellent choice as well, but one that speaks to her or yourself more personally adds to its appeal. Avoid lingerie or clothing in general unless you are absolutely certain of her sizes.
BEST BUDIES Something that you both enjoy doing together, be it tickets to a sports game or just a great bottle of whisky to indulge in at home. Whatever you do decide to get, make sure itʼs something that you can share, a bonding experience that you can reminisce after itʼs over. Other alternatives include a yacht party or a concert performance.
If it is to commemorate an anniversary, a good idea might be to offer something that brings the family together, like a framed portrait or
perhaps a family lunch. If itʼs for a birthday, flowers and Sunday brunch with some champagne is a good idea, or a sweater or cardigan. For dad, a good gift might be a nice bottle of wine or perhaps a piece of equipment for the sport he plays.
WEDDING Some people may register for gifts at a store or communicate frankly about what they wish to receive to close friends. You should offer something that will be useful for their new life together, perhaps china or some wine glasses. If you are not certain of what they like, find out from a well-placed enquiry with the groomsmen or bridesmaids.
BUSINESS ACQUAINTANCEAvoid buying articles of clothing. A nice bottle of wine or writing instrument works generally, or stick with hobbies or he enjoys, such as a good book. It shows youʼve been paying attention to him.
ASSISTANTA bouquet of flowers and something that she enjoys doing outside of work, coupled with a handwritten note, offers a personal touch. A holiday or a small item of jewellery is also an excellent option to show that you appreciate her help at the workplace.
WHEN TO BUY
Sure, conventional rules indicate that you should buy presents for someone during the holiday season, on notable days such as Valentineʼs Day and anniversaries. But that doesnʼt mean that you should only restrict yourself to these occasions. It is sometimes appropriate to make up a reason to present a gift rather than follow convention. It will certainly yield more surprise and pleasure than just offering a standard holiday gift.
WHEN NOT TO BUY
Certain jobs, such as those in the government service, restrict employees from receiving gifts up to a certain value so as to ensure there is no impropriety. You should take note of that if you ʼre picking an item for a friend working in such an environment. In this case, it may be wiser to simply invite them to a meal, rather than offering a gift that may put them in an awkward position. Otherwise, clear the gift with them.
Always Wrap It Up
You’re not a Neanderthal. If you’ve gone to the effort of getting a present, make the effort to have it wrapped and write a note.