There's nothing like the satisfaction of giving the perfect gift. Smiles and hugs of appreciation or a phone call saying, "Thanks, it's great!" can make you feel great, too. For too many of us, that feeling eludes us. We feel frantic, searching for the perfect gift at the last minute. If this sounds like you, Try this convenient guide on how to give great gifts and when to give them.
Step-by-Step Guide to the Perfect Gift
The three keys to gift giving: prioritize, plan ahead and personalize.
Prioritize special dates on your calendar and add others as they come to mind. Stay on top of your gifting needs by checking your calendar at the beginning of every month.
You've got time to order a special gift, plan a long weekend away, or reserve tickets to a popular show, ball game or concert.
Still may be enough time to have something sent overnight, make reservations for a nice restaurant.
Give your florist a call for a last-minute gift that's easy, but sure to please.
If you plan ahead, you'll have plenty of time to find something that is perfectly suited to his or her interests, personality and style. These tips can get your thinking on the right track:
Does he or she have a special hobby or interest? Add to an antique lover's collection with a replica Antique Clock. Present a set of new canvases to the hobbyist painter. Or give an avid reader the latest best-seller.
Would they prefer a quiet and romantic celebration? Try tickets-for-two to a special event. Send a dinner invitation delivered to his or her door. Plan a leisurely picnic for a few friends, or go out for an old-fashioned sundae.
Do they want to learn a particular skill? Give a gift of training: perhaps a ballroom dance class, a pottery workshop or a golf clinic.
In addition to the three keys of gift giving, keep these tips in mind:
Be impractical, give the gift they want, not the gift they need.
Shop for gifts without leaving home, Shop online.
Seize the moment, when you see the perfect gift, buy it.
Present your gift with style, wrappings, bows and imaginative packaging add to the fun of opening it.
Give something only you can, the gift of time. Participating in the celebration makes it more precious.
Go the extra mile, If you give someone a picture frame, put a special photograph inside; if you give a cookbook, include some of the harder-to-get ingredients, like fancy olive oil or sun-dried tomatoes.
Remembering Special Days All Year-Round
So just when do you give that special gift? There are traditional occasions and, equally important, special days that celebrate personal milestones.
Few people want their birthday to slip by completely unnoticed. But different people have different tastes. Some might like an office full of balloons, a funny T-shirt to wear on their big day, or on-air wishes from their favorite radio DJ. Others might prefer a quiet dinner for two, catching a classic double-feature, or something to add to there home decor.
Whether you've been married for five years or 50, there are still ways to make your anniversary as wonderful as the day it commemorates. Send an arrangement of roses-one for every year. Or ask your florist to recreate the bride's bouquet. Rekindle romantic memories by flipping through the wedding album, presenting a love letter or piece of jewelry, or raising a toast at the place where you got engaged. See if your bakery can make a "mini" wedding cake you can share at evening's end.
Celebrate other intimate anniversaries, like your first date or the first year in a new house.
Anniversaries and birthdays are special occasions-but they're not the only times when giving a gift brightens the day. Celebrating a long friendship or shared accomplishment can renew and strengthen relationships with friends and family.
Don't let personal milestones go by uncelebrated. Be sure to note upcoming events like graduation, new baby, new home, new job, promotion or well-deserved retirement on your calendar. And add new occasions as they occur, such as: first recital, finishing an important work project, quitting smoking, losing weight or passing the bar exam. Your gift adds to the sense of accomplishment and increases the enjoyment of a job well done.