Why do we exchange gifts at Christmas? Many believe it’s because we’re emulating the gift-giving by the Magi to Jesus at the time of his birth. In fact, Romans were giving gifts in December to celebrate the winter solstice long before Christianity began. Whatever the reason, here are six tips to help you choose an ideal Christmas gift that will be deeply appreciated.
It’s all about algebra
The curious folks at Debenhams asked psychology professor Karen Pine to come up with a formula for successful gift giving. Karen came up with (L x 2) + O + E2 – PD + EM = PP. L is listening, O is observation, E is effort, PD is personal desire, EM is empathy, and PP is perfect present. Listening, observation and effort might seem obvious, but personal desire and empathy are also important. If you buy a gift for someone because you’d like it, that’s personal desire rearing its head, whereas empathy can help you tune in to what others might actually want, rather than what you want.
What message are you sending?
“It’s the thought that counts.” While that may be true, making a last-minute grab of cheap bubble bath or a pair of musical socks from the display at the supermarket checkout doesn’t quite send the right message. Just a little forward planning can make all the difference, such as going round the Harrogate Christmas Market with a detailed list. A little effort can mean the difference between a polite smile and heartfelt hug!
It’s all about them
You really do need to have some inside info on a person if you want to hit the mark with a gift. Not knowing someone well is no excuse for an ill-thought-out purchase. If you need more insight, see if a mutual friend or work colleague can clue you in on personality, hobbies, and interests, likes and dislikes. Going that extra mile could give someone a much-needed lift.
If all else fails
Gift vouchers are totally unimaginative, aren’t they? Yes, if they’re from M&S or Boots, but a voucher for vintage clothing, spa treatments or a thrill-seeking experience can hit the mark, provided you’ve done your homework. If you’re not sure what gift to get, a voucher is an acceptable option. Just make it more original than M&S (unless they love M&S).
Actions speak louder than words
If you’re short of cash, or just prefer giving a gift that means something, why not donate your time? You could create your own voucher offering a service such as ‘designated driver for the night’, ‘garden makeover’ or ‘car valeting’. If you’re into DIY or handicrafts, a hand-made gift would also really increase your ‘E’ factor! An economical and eco-friendly idea for a Secret Santa could be that everyone buys an item from a charity shop.
Wrap it like you mean it
Everyone loves originally wrapped gifts. Oh sure, you can wrap a present in expensive paper and ribbon, but where’s the fun in that? Another option is to wrap the gift in several layers of paper, hiding token gifts or sweets in each layer. Then there’s the old trick of wrapping a small box in a series of successively larger boxes, but only if the eventual present is worth the ruse. For a change, why not wrap gifts in fabric, or parcel paper and twine for a vintage look? And don’t forget to make the gift tag interesting with a rhyming cryptic clue. It all adds to the gift-giving experience.
Putting thought and effort into gift buying (and presentation) is what people appreciate. It’s really not monetary value that’s important – it’s the value you place on the person receiving the gift.
The Harrogate Christmas Market is the perfect place for spotting original gifts. The market runs from Thursday, 15th November until Sunday, 18th November. Find out why our market is so special by reading Five Reasons Why Harrogate Christmas Market Rocks.
Author: Susan Scarre, Adrenaline Content Marketing