Thursday, December 17, 2009

5 Qualities to Look for When Selecting a Gift

With Christmas barely a week away, and the busiest shopping day of the year coming up on Saturday, I know many people are looking to pick out some gifts for people quickly. The good news is, gift-giving is not as complicated as the people who want to sell you the gifts would have you believe. You can’t go too far wrong if a gift has these five qualities:

  1. It’s pretty. Above all else, gift-giving should be pleasant, and the easiest way to make this happen is to give something that looks nice. This means, for example, if you’re giving tea, you might pick out tea that’s packed in a tin, rather than the usual paperboard box.
  2. It’s something you can hold in your hand. The most emotionally compelling way to “present” a gift to someone is to hand it to them, and even if you’re not there to do this personally, someone else may do it. If a gift is too large, presenting it becomes awkward. Get something smaller instead, if you possibly can. If it is too small, put it in a pretty box that is large enough that it can’t get lost.
  3. It’s easy to understand what it is. This is so a person’s reaction when they first see it won’t be, “What a nice . . . um . . . um . . . well, what is it, exactly?”
  4. It expresses something of the personality of the person giving it. This is easier than it sounds. Anything you pick out is the result of the way you see the world.
  5. It matches up with something in the personality or lifestyle of the recipient. This is mainly a matter of not going overboard with point #4. Set your own preferences aside just enough to give a different thing to each person, based on who they are.

And there you have it. Time is running out, but with this checklist, you won’t have to resort to gift certificates, magazine subscriptions, or any of the other things you might offer as your way of saying, “I’m sorry I couldn’t find the right gift.”