Friday, November 7, 2014

Tips for Giving Thoughtful Gifts

I have actually never taken the love languages test, but I'm pretty sure gifts are one of my love languages. (Although, I'm actually pretty sure all the languages are my love languages--which is why I refuse to take a test and discriminate). I really love giving good and meaningful gifts. I also love getting a gift that shows that the giver either gets me or was paying attention.

As I've gotten older, getting good gifts has gotten harder for me. I don't know whether it's the busy parts of life or what, but I know my gift giving abilities have taken a hit. I've been brainstorming for some ways to improve my gift giving skills and I'm sharing them with you today!

thoughtful gift ideas

Pinterest Boards
If the person you are buying a gift for is a Pinterest user, you have hit a gold mine in gift ideas. Many Pinterest users have boards titled "Wishlist" or something similar. If you browse the boards, you are bound to find one or two that will give you some good ideas.

One my students a few years back had a dad that got onto Pinterest and looked at all the yard/landscaping ideas his wife had pinned. While she was gone for  the weekend he gave their yard a makeover off of her Pinterest board. That's an amazing idea. There are so many ideas for home decor, home renovations, DIY projects, dates, and more. If you can't find a product on Pinterest, you can find something equally exciting, surprising, and thoughtful.

Amazon Wish Lists
This one is a bit tricky for just anybody, but I've specifically asked Zach to keep an Amazon wishlist and to share it with me so that I can keep an eye on the things he sees. W, we've also created a wishlist for JaiseAnn to potentially share with family--not sure whether or not that's appropriate, but we've started one and we'll see how it goes.

Keep a Running List on Your Phone and Listen
I love finding the perfect gift. One that I can give that shows I was listening and paying attention, but that the person never actually asked for. Those gifts are my favorite. When Zach and I were first married, I set out to do just that. I kept a "memo" on my phone for ideas for gifts for him. I kept that list running all year long. Anytime he'd mention something, I'd pull out my phone and jot it down. He never knew.

Sometimes it was something like wandering through a book store and he'd say, "I'd really like to have a really nice hardback set of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy someday." (Lucky for me, my awesome gift giving aunt had his name for Christmas that year and I passed that idea on--wish granted!)

Other times it was something really small like his mention of a flavored gingerale he drank with his granddad. I have been on a mission for years to find that stuff and surprise him with something little.

They won't always say they want it, but if you listen all year long, you are bound to come up with quite a few gift ideas. It takes the stress away from trying to go back in your memory and find something that was mentioned at the last minute.

 Memberships can actually be some pretty amazing and perfectly thoughtful gifts. Think of the person and the stage they are at in life, would s/he benefit from a Costco membership, a zoo membership, a triple A membership, a gym membership, etc.. These gifts are so useful and usually unexpected as they are not typical gifts.

Break it Down
If it's gift-giving time and I'm still at a loss I ask myself these questions:
*Is there a service that they are in need of? --This could be anything from an oil change to a hair cut--try to find a gift certificate or gift card for the service or if it's a service you can do yourself, make up a coupon.
*What could I personally do?--Along with the coupon idea, I like to think through the talents I have. One year my mom was super busy and every time I talked to her on the phone she was still trying to figure out what to have for dinner. I made her several freezer meals to keep in her freezer so she would have a few nights of dinner when she came home. There have been a couple of times I've come home to a house cleaned by my mom as a gift.

Being thoughtful in gift giving makes the giving part that much more fun. If you're on the receiving end of a thoughtful gift it is so nice to feel special and noticed.

What are some thoughtful gifts you've received? What are some ways you come up with thoughtful gifts to give?

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