IT'S TRUE WHAT THEY SAY. WHEN A PIZZA IS GOOD, IT'S GREAT! BUT EVEN WHEN A PIZZA IS BAD, IT'S STILL PRETTY GOOD.
Gifts are kind of the same. Any gift you give is a nice gesture, sure…but if you hate kiwi on your pizza, for example, and someone gives you a pizza covered in kiwi slices, your good feelings about the person who gifted you the pie-from-hell might be slightly diminished from where they were pre-pie!
WHO ARE YOU BUYING A GIFT FOR?
Husband, wife? Friend, relative? Boss, employee? Kiddo's teacher? Mailman? That neighbor who found your cockatiel in their backyard and brought him home to you? Oh wait, I'm that neighbor. His name was Isaac. He was a nice Cockatiel. Isaac’s parents were very grateful, and did in fact give us a gift. Just saying!
Whoever it is that you are surprising with a physical "thank you" or "I love you" or "What would I have done if you didn't find my Cockatiel Isaac in your backyard and I was forced to tell my kids that their bird died, for the second time this year!?" deserves something that will bring them joy.
The best gifts are a little surprising. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when thinking of just the right gift (I mean, aside from ROONS obviously, because they are perfect every time)
DO THEY NEED SOMETHING?
Does your person have a new pet, a new kid, or a new hobby? A fun dog toy, a month's supply of diapers, or some beautiful salad tongs for their new healthy cooking habit. Buying something thoughtful and useful is always a plus.
I will also add that replenishing someone's supply of toilet paper could be a great funny gift during a pandemic, but the point of this kind of gift is not to be so practical that you buy them a gallon of milk in order to save them a trip to the grocery store, if you know what I mean.
DO THEY WANT SOMETHING?
Has your person recently said "Oooooooh, I'm totally obsessed with those new headbands from Lele Sadoughi"? Or did they say "Ohmigod, I somehow lost the bag of flossers I keep in my car and now I can't get stuff out of my teeth while driving"? Or maybe did they say "I'm craving a lobster roll from that restaurant I used to go to in Boston"? I'm serious when I tell you that whether it's a bag of $3 toothpick flossers or a lobster roll you order from Goldbelly.com, getting someone something they've been wanting is a major 5-star gift giving solution.
DO THEY BELIEVE IN SOMETHING?
Does your person want to save the Cheetahs? Or did they have a preemie baby? Or do they march for Black Lives? Donations to charities and non profits are always thoughtful and extremely meaningful. And the gift is not only for your person, but benefits someone else too.
DO THEY NOT WANT MORE SOMETHINGS IN THEIR HOME?
Some people who have children, and have been stuck with them at home for 20 months might be REALLY tired of accumulating things. Some people who are really smart and used the pandemic to Get Organized With The Home Edit (on Netflix) might have excellent willpower after decluttering and know that if they take something into their home, they will have to throw something else out.
For these people I find experiences or food always make the best gifts. Whether it's a gift card for a manicure, or their favorite local coffee shop, your gift can make an impact without taking up space.
WHY FOOD GIFTS ARE ALWAYS A GOOD CHOICE
There are quite literally no occasions where food gifts aren't a good choice. Ok, don't send food to someone who just had their jaw wired shut, fine.
In any other situation, a beautifully packaged, special gift of food - let's just say coconut macaroons for example - is always thoughtful, caring, unexpected and delightful. Which is the exact list of checkboxes a gift should be.
Supporting your local businesses, small businesses, women-owned businesses, BIPOC businesses, API businesses is an extra bonus. When you support your local economy the money stays in your town, creating more jobs and economic growth for your community. When supporting big box e-tailers, the money very much only goes one place and that is not your local community!
Oh and make sure to include a handwritten note! That's the personal, memorable icing on the proverbial gift cake.