Gift giving is part of the fabric of American culture. It’s nigh impossible to find someone without a stray gift bag or wrapping paper, just waiting to conceal a gift in a hurry. The tradition of wrapping a gift so you can hide it in plain sight, building to the moment the gift’s recipient rips it open, is a long-standing one. Overall, gift giving has a real, indelible rhythm to it.
When taking part in this gift-giving tradition, gifters want to choose or create something remarkable for someone’s birthday or holiday. You don’t necessarily want to stand head and shoulders above the gifting crowd, though some do. Your true goal is to bless someone else with the complete surprise of a perfect gift. The elusive “perfect gift” usually involves some degree of personalization—this is how a gift comes to represent a relationship, memory, or quality they care about. If you’re interested in all the ways to make your gift more personal, read through this exhaustive guide.
Buy Their Gift Locally
One option you have to secure a personal gift is buying something from their locale. If you live in the same area, you likely know where to shop, but otherwise digging into the best local gift shops will help you find an item or even an entire store that fits the person you’re giving to. Many people would love more unique home gifts to adorn their house with distinctive details from their home state or town. These gifts could feature a town motto, their state flag or animal, or even a regional saying or trope. Everyone gains part of their identity from where they live, work, and play. Celebrating this by buying a gift from your recipient’s hometown is a great way to make your gift more personal.
Add Your Own Flair
Also, adding your own personal touch often makes your gift more meaningful, illustrating the time and effort you lovingly invested in selecting the gift. In a gifting culture that can involve hastily bought gifts, this is important. There are several ways you can leave your mark on a gift.
Your Wrap Job
Decking your gift out with unique wrapping paper, or wrapping gifts in a fancy fashion, is one. Buy high-quality wrapping paper, sink some time into some tutorial videos on gift wrapping, and don’t settle for merely containing your gift. Wrapping a gift so someone hesitates, not wanting to ruin your beautiful masterpiece, is your goal here.
Include a Card That Starts the Waterworks
Additionally, including a nicely worded congrats or well-wishing in your card allows you to lend your voice to the gift. This is your space to gush about them and their indomitable spirit or amazing accomplishments, your canvas for explaining the sentiment behind your gift, and your chance to put into words what you feel. You know, it’s common for people to save precious cards they receive, so that may very well end up being the more important part of your gift. Aim to make them cry.
Modify Your Gift
Another way to add your own flair is to modify your gift by engraving or embroidering it. This way, you can add your own permanent message or reminder to a gift, something that endures much longer than a card. Both options allow you to employ your own creativity and craft something with your recipient’s interests—their favorite color, perhaps, for an embroidery project—in mind. Also, choosing to go this route hits a sweet spot where you put in effort but don’t exhaust yourself making the entire gift.
Make Their Gift
Maybe you don’t have any qualms about putting in a lot of time, though. If that sounds like you, consider making their gift from scratch. Your options for creating a gift are plentiful, but art is a go-to for many with some art expertise. Considering their identity, interests, loves, and more provides solid material for a painting, sculpture, or other piece. Your creation can also be very practical. If they need a new table, for example, and you have experience with woodworking and the tools to boot, carve out time for some shop work, and they’ll be really thankful. Going this route produces a gift that is sure to be personal to them.
Gift a Memory
If you don’t have the time to personalize a gift, another way you can buy something personal to them is by searching for a way to gift them a memory. Hearkening back to a toy, game, or clothing style from the distant past helps you find something that means a lot to them. Bonus points if you gift them something that not only hearkens back to a time but also a memory they share with you. You are, after all, the only person who can give certain gifts effectively because you share a valuable association in their mind with these things. Think back through your shared experiences together to find the perfect memory to gift them.
Craft a New Experience
Though this one takes some creativity because of the limitations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, crafting a new experience together is another way you can tailor a gift to someone. Some people particularly value times spent with their loved ones and feel appreciated when their loved ones dedicate their time to them. So, if possible, get food from somewhere they love (or help them discover a new beloved restaurant), have some fun together, and allow for the space to talk and laugh together. Visit a drive-in theater or go to a forest preserve to venture around. You don’t need to plan out every last detail—the best memories often aren’t spelled out on a schedule beforehand.
Get Other Loved Ones in on It
In the end, though, personalizing a gift doesn’t need to involve a lot of extra effort to mean something. The value of a gift could simply point to the fact that the person you’re celebrating sees their loved ones came together to get them something. Knowing that there was a measure of careful planning and coordination among many people is touching in and of itself. Buying a gift together also widens your gifting options greatly. Going this route gives you the ability to buy something the recipient always talks about but never in their wildest dreams expected to receive.