Now, this post isn't too late. After all, Valentine's Day is coming up. And lotsa birthdays, weddings and parties, too! So here's my ultra-long post on gift giving. But before that, I'll give you a peek at what Vince and I want.
For Valentine's Day, I don't have anything for Vince yet. But for his birthday, I got him a set of really cool toy lens for the Olympus E-PL1.
For me (ahem ahem), I'd love one (or both!) of these:
|Baby giraffe ring holder |
Vince knows I love rings but he will get why this
particular animal--and not rabbits!--is so perfect for me.
|Necklace with hand-stamped pendants|
So charming and sweet and simple! And I love
hand-stamping. I made a pewter bowl and
hand-stamped it with our names. My necklace
would read Vince, Frances, Vito
1. They must not be useful.
By that we mean, they have to be fabulous! When our friends Mariel and Alvin got married, we didn't give them a rice cooker or a wall clock, we gave them a fondue set. Frivolous, I know, but fun!
We don't give socks or underwear or mouthwash. Gifts aren't supposed to be stuff your loved ones can buy for themselves.
2. If they must be useful, they must be OTT.
That's Over The Top. This past Christmas, my sister-in-law Lizelle wanted a card holder to organize her many credit and discount cards. I searched far and wide till I found an exquisite card holder made of supple Italian cowhide. The awesome smell of leather was seeping through the gift wrapper! She loved it!
So if the newlyweds asked for cutlery, give them silver-plated heavy ones. If they asked for bedsheets, give them the high thread count. If your friend asked for a journal, give a Moleskine.
3. Add a little extra.
Some people really know what they want so if you give them something else--no matter how fab--they might not appreciate it. My family-in-law is very specific. Vince's niece Elizabeth wanted a Sylvanian doll. Vince gave her a pair, and since Elizabeth is a musician, he added a little baby grand piano and vintage microphone for the dolls. Elizabeth was delighted!
So if your friend asked for a book, give the book and throw in personalized book plates. If she asked for a pen, have her name engraved on it. If she asked for a blender, add some fruits!
4. Personalize it.
And I don't just mean the engraving and monogramming part. My sister Jacqui, being 21, wants clothes. But I don't want to choose her clothes for her because young women that age don't like to be told what to wear! So I got gift certificates from Forever 21 and The Ramp so that she can shop for herself. It doesn't have to be GCs. Remember my new Kate Spade Sutton Place Marielly bag? Sutton Place is a New York suburb. I have a stylish friend who lives in New York City named Mariel. So I bought her that bag. She loves it!
So for your foodie friend, buy her a dinner at a nice restaurant. For your spa-holic sister, get her a massage session. For your movie buff brother, get him passes to a 3D theater.
Giving gifts is an exciting thing to do. I always enjoy the hunt for the perfect gift. I like making people happy! Gifts that are whimsical, frivolous, fun and entertaining are a joy to give and receive. Here are more suggestions for certain occasions that always befuddle people:
For a housewarming
Make sure the recipients aren't sensitive to scents!
Choose neutral tones like white and cream.
A collection of simple ones looks nice. Or you can
get one fantastic piece in silver or enamel.
For the hostess of the party
|Potted flowering plants or herbs|
Do not give a bouquet because then she'll have to find
a vase and water them when she should be with her
guests. Potted plants will be enjoyed way after the
Guests usually volunteer to bring dessert but these
chocolate-covered strawberries are best because your
hostess won't have to bring out plates and spoons
and knives and wash up!
A bottle of wine is a usual hostess gift, too. Why not
add a little extra? This graceful decanter set is love.
For a baby shower
|Turtle night lamp|
A night lamp is very useful--for parents getting up in
the middle of the night to change diapers and for
little ones who're afraid of the dark. Remember to
add whimsy to the usefulness!
|Baby bath robe|
Again, very useful. So make sure the robe is the
softest you can find and personalize it with the
little cutie's name or initials or nickname.
Maybe not for the shower but for a new mommy to
a little girl. This will definitely be a prized set!
Then there are truly some gifts that are useless. Figurines, for example! Try not to give those unless you are positively certain that the recipient collects them!