At this point in my (very) late thirties, I don’t necessarily relish the anniversary of my birth, but I do confess to loving a beautifully wrapped, satisfying gem of a gift. My dearest friends certainly delivered last week, cushioning the cruel blow of thirty-nine.
As I opened one particularly thoughtful gift — a pair of fine cotton, drawstring pajama pants and a lovely-scented travel candle from two gal pals who know how much time I spend in hotels — I thought of what makes the perfect gift: an indulgence that you are thrilled to receive but probably wouldn’t buy for yourself.
Here are five specific gifting tips:
- Buy in advance — or at least take notes. How many times have we found the perfect card months before our cousin’s birthday? Or heard our best friend muse in a department store that she really “needs” to spice up her underwear drawer? Seize these moments and either buy in advance, allocating a drawer or shelf in your home for the collection, or record the idea in a “gift” notebook. An extreme example: I recently bought a darling Sweet Sixteen card for my Goddaughter who is only seven — but I know I will be grateful to have it in 2020!
- Gifts aren’t just for birthdays. I have two friends who always gift me upon the publication of my novels. An engraved bookmark, a bouquet of fresh flowers, or a sweet token that coordinates with my book jacket art, e.g. a tiny bootie for Baby Proof with a 2006 penny inside (the year that book was released). I cherish these gifts and love the generous spirit in which they are given. So go ahead and celebrate your friend’s new home, job, or car (or help ease the blow of a bad break-up). She will never forget the gesture.
- Try to avoid the generic candle or bath product and choose something that reflects your friend’s personal style. Having a gift monogrammed or personalized will show you thought of her way in advance of her day. And if you simply can’t resist the candle-bath product route — be sure to pick the perfect scent or color.
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- On a tight budget? Think homemade. I received two CD mixes this year — and absolutely love both. After all, few things can capture the essence of a relationship like a collection of handpicked tunes. If you want a homemade twist but aren’t creative yourself, check out etsy.com. Who wouldn’t love a one-of-a-kind picture frame with the perfect photograph, capturing a favorite memory, inside?
- Presentation matters. Make it extra special with beautiful wrapping paper and coordinating raffia (PaperSource is my favorite), complete with a special handwritten note in a fun color (I heart teal or violet LePens and lime green extra fine Sharpies).