Tips For Better Holiday Gifting

Podarok-14Only 371 shopping days until next Christmas!

Too soon? Okay, maybe.

But there are freaks out there who think like that, I’m just sayin’.

Not me. I don’t even have all my Christmas gifts ready for this year yet. But luckily there’s still time to prepare gifts, and to prepare to be better givers of gifts.

We all want to be that person who just knows exactly what someone might want or need, exactly the right sentiment, color, fit or style.

But to quote Marie in the movie When Harry Met Sally when she’s trying to dissuade her significant other from putting a tacky wagon wheel coffee table in their new apartment, “Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste.” And they couldn’t possibly all be good gifters.

Hence, the reason “regifting” is an actual word.

Never fear, gifting skills can be learned. I’ve had lots of experience with both sides of gifting over the years. I’ve given gifts that were epic, and given gifts that were epic failures. I’ve received gifts that I treasure, and received gifts that I had to perform an Oscar-worthy performance of fake happiness about. Through all this, I’ve gained some sage wisdom about gifting which I will now pass on to you, my Padawans (token Star Wars nod, since it’s taken over the world).

#1. Give a gift they would like, not a gift you would like. If you haven’t read about Love Languages then do so ASAP or you’ll never be a good gifter (or have a successful long-term relationship).

My sister once cleaned the garage for her husband as his Father’s Day gift. She thought he would love that since she’d been nagging him for months to do it and now he wouldn’t have to. But when she presented it to him he said, “This is a gift for you, not me. You wanted the garage clean. I don’t care if the garage is clean. That’s why I didn’t do it.” She defended with, “Well, then my gift is that the nagging about cleaning the garage will now stop.” He agreed that would make him happy, so he gratefully accepted.

#2. A gift is something you’ve given away and therefore relinquished ownership and usage rights to the recipient. You can’t expect people to use, wear, display or cherish something you’ve given them the way you want.

I once gave a friend a handmade rug I spent hours making, which I thought would look darling in her kitchen. She thought it looked darling down in the corner of her unfinished basement under the kitty litter box. Apparently it wasn’t her style. Apparently she doesn’t love handmade things like I do and expecting her to do so was unfair. I enjoyed making the rug and I enjoyed giving it to her, so that had to be the satisfaction in that gifting scenario. Well, and knowing I brightened a cat’s life a little.

Hopefully these insights will help with last minute gifts as you finish preparations for Christmas this week. Next year we’ll address the topic of “Christmas Lists: Here’s the Stuff I Want You to Buy for Me.”

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