Giving the perfect gift to a special person is something that requires thought. And not much of the latter—thinking—is happening anymore in a wired world where searching for gifts ideas can be done with a click of a mouse button.
“It’s the thought that counts” is a lousy excuse for giving a present that hardly has meaning for the recipient. Sure, everyone enjoys receiving gifts, both big and small. It is a big ego-booster that makes you think, “Awwww, that’s sweet. You’re thinking of me.” And that’s usually the end of it. The present usually ends up in some lonely corner on a shelf or in some dark, musty spot in the closet. It is hardly the perfect gift. It’s not just the thought (of the person or of giving something to that person) that counts. The thought put into selecting the perfect gift also matters much.
When looking for gifts ideas for your special person, what thoughts need to run in your mind? Here are the most important ones, arranged in order of importance:
- Why are you giving a present?
- Whom will you give to?
- What gift will you give?
- Can you afford it?
- Where will you buy the perfect gift?
Why are you giving a present?
People give gifts for various reasons. In the modern, materialistic world, the most common reason is self-gain. A lot of people actually give presents without consciously knowing that self-gain is the underlying motive:
- “I’m giving you a gift so you will like me or think better of me.”
- “I’m giving you a present because it makes me feel nice about myself.”
- “I’m giving you presents that will remind you of me and how much I care.”
- …and the like. You get the idea.
This kind of giving is a one-way street. Only the giver stands to benefit from it. In this kind of giving, the giver is simply giving back to himself or herself—the recipient is merely an instrument to the selfish act.
There’s another type of giving—one that places the recipient before the giver. This, for me, is what true giving is all about. Thoughtful giving is an other-centered phenomenon. You think of what the recipient will gain from the gift long before you even start thinking of what you yourself will gain from it. You give for the sake of the receiver—that is true generosity.
Thoughtful giving requires you to examine your motives for giving the perfect gift. If you want to master the art of thoughtful giving, you need to see giving from a different mindset, a different viewpoint, a different lens. That is where all true giving starts.
Whom will you give to?
Quick answer: anyone who has need of the gift you can give. This implies that having a relationship with the recipient is not a requisite to giving at all. Gift giving is not about relationship. Rather, gift giving is about the generosity and goodness of the giver.
In a majority of cases, though, people usually give presents only to people that they know, or to whom they want to cultivate a relationship with. There’s nothing wrong with that, although giving in that manner reflects a limited reach for one’s kindness and generosity. Or, worse, it could possibly reflect an underlying, often unconscious, selfish motive.
Give because you can—and to anyone that will benefit from your present.
What gift will you give?
The best gift to give to someone you care about is something that has meaning to the recipient. If you can find a present that has meaning for both of you, then that’s better because both of you will delight in the shared meaning and shared significance. Or, at the very least, find a gift that will be of use to the recipient, or will fulfill a recipient’s need. That would make the item the perfect gift for the receiver.
Gift giving is all about the recipient, not you. The moment you start thinking first about yourself when looking for the best gift to give, you fall back to the self-gain zone. So, forget yourself when giving a present.
Can you afford it?
Never scrimp on the perfect gift. Once you find the right gift idea, go ahead and splurge. True and thoughtful gift giving is lavish without being wasteful nor being impractical. And, because giving in this manner benefits the receiver more than you do, true and thoughtful giving also has a sacrificial nature.
Does this mean that the best gift you give needs to be expensive? Yes! True giving will always be expensive, but then again, the term “expensive” is subjective and relative. For instance, the perfect gift worth 10 dollars may be very cheap to someone earning four digits monthly but may be very expensive to someone earning a pauper’s income.
As applied to giving presents, “expensive” also does not just refer to monetary cost. So, when I say never scrimp on the perfect gift idea, it actually means spend time, talent, and treasure to give it. However, it does not mean spending beyond your means. After all, you can only give what you already have.
Where will you buy the perfect gift?
Who’s saying that you have to buy it? In most cases, you buy a product or service to give as a present, but there are times when doing so is not necessary. In cases when you’re giving a product or service as a present, you’ll be able to find a lot of gifts ideas from almost everywhere. The item doesn’t have to be complicated or complex, but you might want to spice it up with a little bit of your personal creative touch.
Most people shop in stores to look for the best present to give. Others try online shopping. Department stores aren’t the only places to look for gifts either. Service establishments also are potential starting points, as are novelty shops, antique stores, and the like. Just remember to tailor the gift around the receiver, not the other way around. Think about the receiver first, then the gift.
In summary, the real cost of giving the perfect gift is not entirely monetary. It’s about the thought that you put into choosing the best gift to give. It’s about always assessing your real motive for giving a gift, as well as about the person you’re giving the gift to and why you are giving such gift. The only requisite to giving the perfect gift is your generosity and how deep your generosity is.