Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Art of Gift Giving – How to Get it Right, Every Time, Every Occasion

Regardless of the occasion, the purpose of gift giving is to please the recipient. Whilst the reasons for gift giving can vary, the focus should remain on the other person in order to elevate your gift giving to an art. Well thought out gift giving is an art, and it’s more than just the physical exchange of something – it’s a way to communicate one of the greatest messages from one person to the other.

But, even for the best of us this ‘art’ can be stressful – especially throughout the holiday season, in a new relationship or when you have simply run out of ideas for the person who has it all. At any time of year finding the perfect present can be frustrating when you’re blindly walking around the shops desperately seeking some inspiration, but the reality is anyone can give a thoughtful present – all it takes is a little creativity!

Careless, routine and poorly chosen gifts can send the wrong message or cause the relationship more harm than good. So how can you master the art of meaningful gift giving? We check out a few hot tips to get those creative juices flowing.

A Gift from Observation

The biggest mistake people make when buying gifts is to buy what they would like, rather than thinking about what the recipient would want. The number rule of mastering meaningful gift giving is simply by observation – pay attention to what the person is interested in, what hints are they dropping about their likes and dislikes? Whether it’s a friend or a work colleague people are often dropping these hints when you least expect it.

Some presents can be easily identified by the occasion, for example a friend who has just moved house might love a well-chosen décor accessory, or someone who has been in hospital will enjoy a get well gift basket. By observing the person who you are buying for though, these presents can be specifically tailored by what they like and don’t like.

A Gift of Creativity

Unique gifts that have been cleverly crafted by yourself are especially meaningful because your time, energy and creative juices have been put together specially for your loved one. This is exceptionally good for the person that has everything and those that are hard to buy for.

You don’t have to be a creative genius to pull it off though and the possibilities are endless. Home-baked goods, photo memories or a box full of notes and sayings can be a good place to start or check out sites like Pinterest for inspiration and ideas.

A Gift by Personality or Niche Interest

Matching a present to the unique personality of a friend shows you really care about the person they are, and have taken the time to tailor a gift for it. Your bubbly friend who thrives of having guests over may appreciate new tableware or some nice wine glasses, while the music lover may love something to add to their collection or a piece of music memorabilia.

When it comes to the perfect gift, observing the person’s personality and knowing their hobbies can steer you in the right direction. Are they obsessed with travelling, a wine lover, adrenaline junky or a passionate cooker? Giving within a niche is a fantastic way to let them know you pay attention and appreciate what makes them who they are.

When it comes to personality and niche interests though, don’t overdo it. If everyone knows your friend is a travel fanatic or music lover, chances are most people are going to try buy a gift for that niche. Think outside the box for something that is one of a kind or a little different.

A Gift of Good Luck

Special occasions like a graduation, traveling overseas or purchasing a new home calls for good luck presents. Get creative and find things associated with good fortune – for example, owls bring protection and prosperity.

If the person is travelling on their first big adventure, something small and sentimental that they can take with them can make the perfect gift or a gift that they will need to use like a funky passport wallet. Good luck charms or traditional gifts can be perfect for weddings, exams, pre-hospital or housewarming occasions.

A Gift of an Adventure

Gifts don’t always have to be materialistic though and sometimes the most special ones are the gift of an experience or adventure. Again, observing the person’s personality traits and interests will go a long way here. Depending on how adventurous they are you can give anything from a skydiving ticket to cooking or language classes.

A Gift of Time

There is nothing more valuable and precious than time with loved ones. When material gifts can get too cluttered, or you’re struggling to find the right gift a weekend away together or dinner at a nice restaurant can make the perfect memory.

For friends or relatives that need their own time out, offering to take their kids for the evening or booking them a relaxing day spa for the day can give them a much needed chance to recoup.

Author Bio:

Corina Mentink is Director of, a leading online provider of Hampers and Birthday Gift delivery in Australia. Connect with Corina on LinkedIn.


  1. More people should read this. Most people I know give gifts that appeal to the gift giver rather than the recipient. Why do you think the returns line is so long after the holidays?

  2. This does help when trying to come up with a special gift for someone. I'm tagging this to keep handy for the next gift I have to purchase.

  3. These are great tips! There's nothing quite like the feeling of getting a gift that makes you know the giver REALLY knows you!!

  4. I'm totally gift-giving challenged. I'm certainly a giver by nature, and I love it, but I struggle on WHAT to give. This is so helpful. The gift by observation part made me laugh though - my 5 year old told my hubby he wanted to get me a toy train for my birthday ---- HIS favorite thing of course!! Cute! lol

  5. I am not too shabby gift giving although now so many are teens I tend to give gift cards

    ellen beck

  6. I have to admit: I HATE gift giving. These are some great tips, though! I just need to be more observant. :D

  7. I love giving gifts! I ALWAYS try to find something very unique from specialty shops!

  8. I do make notes throughout the year when I hear my daughters, or Mother, sister, etc, mention something they like or want and then go back to my notes for Christmas or birthdays to help buy gifts.

  9. Great guide, I usually make something as a gift.

  10. Thanks for the guide to this task.

  11. Awesome guide! I'll definitly use some tips I've learned here!

  12. I guess food is a great gift and you can never go wrong with gift cards if you can't decide what to get the person.

  13. Great tips! I personal choose A Gift of Time. Most valuable and meaningful!

  14. Gift cards are such a good idea for gifting! You can personalise it anyway the perosn wants :)

  15. Sometimes I believe it depends on the attitude of the recipient regarding their attitude toward the gift, but I like to do all I can to insure I've done my best on selecting an appropriate gift and this post is very helpful in that aspect.

  16. Great tips but you should really know your subject when you're buying a gift for someone is just my thoughts.

  17. Sometimes there is definitely an art to gift giving.