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It’s a gift, unless it’s not


Last updated 12/7/2018 at Noon

’Tis the season to be the Jolly Old Elf and bring some joyful surprises to a loved one. So if your goal is to give a gift that will lighten hearts and bring smiles to your gift receivers, then it can be helpful to keep these guiding principles in mind.

Learning what to give is as easy as using your eyes and ears. A case in point: My wife noticed that I was often plugging in my Android phone to a wall outlet to recharge it. Then, to my great surprise, she neatly wrapped a portable quick charger for me. So listen and be alert throughout the year. You will succeed in the art of giving since, more often than not, your loved ones will inadvertently telegraph what they would like to have by showing you something in a catalog, in a store window, on the net, or by telling you a long-held wish.

Along with those previous strategies, keep in mind these “To Do” principles.

If you must charge the present, use your own personal credit card, because if the receiver has to pay for their own present, then it just becomes another burden on the family bill that needs to be paid.

If you choose to leave your gifts out before that special day, then there is the chance your receiver, like my mother, will open them early.

My mother had a curiosity compulsion and a low anxiety tolerance regarding wrapped presents. She just had to know what was inside her wrapped boxes. So she would carefully unwrap her gifts and then, after seeing what her “surprises” were, and to hide that she had peeked, her packages were carefully re-wrapped. She was such a professional at hiding her tracks that it took us a decade or so before we realized she was a compulsive peeker.

If you have such a person, then inside a nicely wrapped box place a note. Something like, “I know when you are awake. I know when you are a sleep. And I know you are a peeker, so this is only a box and your real gift is hidden away, and for goodness sake our gift will be given to you at the proper time. Love, from your Santa.”

Remember the gift is for the receiver, not the giver. A bright, colorful, illustrated copy of the Bible may be something you would enjoy, but your atheist or agnostic friend will not be as delighted. Nor would a fundamentalist loved one appreciate opening a decorated box to find Charles Darwin’s “Origin of The Species.”

Keep in the forefront this truism: it’s not the monetary value of the gift that’s important, rather it is how much thought you put into the gift and how you present it that matters.

Use some originality – such as tickets to a movie theater that serves food and drinks; a High Tea in Seattle; one-hour Swedish massage; concert tickets; wine tasting and painting class; a train ride to Vancouver, Canada; a photography class; a special 3-day vacation – Victoria, Lake Chelan, Leavenworth, Oregon or Washington beaches.

Yes, timing is a key to gift giving; therefore, make sure you both are in a fun, loving and relaxed state when you exchange presents.

Even if your gift will fit into an envelope, take the time to decorate the envelope.

All of these extra steps show you took a great deal of time and care in selecting the perfect present.

Dress up and then ring the front doorbell and hand-deliver your surprise package with a handwritten love note.

Don’t forget to enclose the gift receipt with your gift. It is a thoughtful gesture in the event they get a duplicate gift or the present simply is not the right color or design.

The joy of giving should be in making others happy, so keep in mind that we are supposed to be giving gifts because we want to, not because we are obligated to do so.

There is a psychology to playful gift giving, and always use this “new” old adage: “If at first you don’t please, then you can always change the way you select, wrap and present your gifts.”

Darn right, when we keep our gift receiver’s interests in mind, there is a higher likelihood our gift will be a gift.


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