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8 Rules for Selecting Great Gifts

January 29, 2016 10:08pm
Great Gifts!Great Gifts!

How to Give Great Gifts - Part 2

This article is a continuation of a series, you can read Part 1 about Planning here.

The process of selecting gifts for loved ones is difficult for a lot of people. It doesn't have to be. Dr. Neel Burton, a psychiatrist, wrote a very nice article about the rules of gift giving. These are great to follow when you are selecting a gift and will help guide you to make choices that are meaningful to the recipient and something that you both enjoy. Here are 8 rules for selecting great gifts.

1. Don't give money

Giving money says "I didn't want to think too much about the gift, so this is what you are worth to me". There is no sentiment in giving cash.

2. The cost of the gift is unimportant

Spending more money on a gift doesn't mean that the person will like it more. Often times handmade things, or a gift that involves you giving your time will be the most treasured. When I was a kid, my parents made me a mini football field out of a green towel and some crafts. It stands out as one of the best gifts of my childhood.

3. The thought is what counts

It is cliché but true. You should think carefully about what gift to give. Pick something that the person really wants. This is when you should pull out your list from Part 1. Try to remember things that have come up in conversation with the person or things they have had their eyes on.

4. People prefer experiences to objects

Experiences tend to be preferred over and are more memorable than objects. The person will remember a concert or event a lot more than an object that they rarely use. Dr. Burton reminds, though, that some objects, like books and DVD's, can also be experiences as long as they are correctly chosen.

5. Give gifts that don't take up peoples' time

In today's world, many people are pressed for time. You should acknowledge this when you are selecting a gift. Don't give something they have to spend a lot of time to use (for instance a 1000-piece puzzle unless they are a puzzle enthusiast). Instead, give them something that doesn't take much time to use. Or better yet, give them something that saves them time (such as an upgraded gizmo) or can be used to fill in dead time (audio books).

6. Give something that you can share in

If you give a gift like concert tickets or a vacation for the two of you, you are demonstrating that you want to spend more time with the person. Also, as a bonus, you get to enjoy your gift along with them.

7. Don't wait

If you see something that you know would make a perfect gift for someone on your list, but you wouldn't be giving it to them for a few months, buy it anyway.  You are not likely to find something better, and by buying early, you won't have to rush around at the last second and perhaps choose something far less suitable.

8. Don't stress out

This may be the most important. Gift giving should be a fun experience both for the giver and the receiver. You are giving a gift to this person because you care about them and you want to express that to them. If you become too worried about what to get them and become stressed out then it is no longer fun. Remember, they don't want you to suffer to get them something. Always keep in perspective why you are giving a gift in the first place and have fun with it.

By following these rules of gift selection, you will be able to give great gifts and will have a great experience both in the selection process and when you finally give the gift.

We will discuss gift presentation in part 3.