The crazy thing is, as I have been typing this blog, my friend Heather Bishop came and presented me with this gift basket from our eGroup! The Lord works in mysterious ways!
So, here are a few things I came up with...
1. Pay attention. Listen to little things. Like, "I shrunk my favorite t-shirt." Or, "Your house always smells so good, do you have a special candle?"
2. Personalize. This can be as simple as monogramming a bag or as thoughtful as engraving a piece of jewelry. A few years ago my sister and I bought my mom a necklace for mother's day with an engraved disc for each of her grandchildren. She still loves it and wears it often.
3. Think small. Sometimes the most thoughtful gifts are not big or expensive. A framed picture, a fridge magnet, some type of reminder that you are praying for that person or thankful for them. And also, little gifts, just because can say more than a birthday or Christmas present.
4. Take a risk! When buying a gift, a risk says you tried really hard. I cannot tell you how many times I have taken a risk when giving a gift and the person loved it. This year for Christmas I took a big risk with my husband's gift. I designed a key chain for him that goes a long with a sermon he preaches. I think he was shocked when he opened it, and I know he likes it. Giving a gift like that is so much better than getting him a new pair of shoes. The bigger the risk, the bigger the payoff.
5. Spend enough but not too much. When buying a gift for our spouse, or a friend, if you spend too much it can make the person feel bad, guilty (or even angry if it is your spouse). But if you spend just the right amount it can express value for the other person.
6. Try to buy something they would not ever think to buy themselves. This would vary from person to person. Maybe your friend would love nice perfume but would never buy it for herself, or maybe a gourmet treat. My friend Amy hates to buy herself socks. After seeing her wear socks with hole in them for too long, one year for Christmas, I bought her a bunch of socks.
7. Know that if you try to replace a favorite, you run the risk of not measuring up. For instance, I have a favorite bathrobe. I got it for my 17th birthday. I have had multiple people try to replace it but I am still hanging on to it. It still means a lot to me that my friends know that about me and have tried to replace it.
8. If you are going to do something for them then do it. Don't leave it up to them to ask you for it. What I am saying is never give an IOU. If you want to clean up your friends iPod and give them new music then do it. If you want to give free babysitting, then give the person the dates you have blocked off that you are available. Don't leave it up to them to cash it in, that is just awkward.
9. Be unpredictable for once. Let other people add to your mom's pandora bracelet this year, get her something different. Let other people give your husband a gift card to Bass Pro Shop, get him something different this year. Don't use every gift giving holiday as an opportunity to add to someone's collection, be more creative at least once or twice a year.
10. And finally, don't go to so much thought and effort of giving a gift, and not bother to present it well. Wrapping a gift says, you put a lot of thought into what you are giving. If you are a guy, get some help.