The art of gift giving - how to choose the perfect present for any occasion
Learn how personalising the gift giving process brings joy to you and your loved ones
Love or hate it, every season brings with it an abundance of occasions that offer us the chance to show love through gift giving.
While we usually enjoy the day itself, choosing the ‘perfect gift’ can often cause great stress. So we want to let you in on a little secret…The art of choosing the perfect present isn’t so much about the item, it’s all in the thought.
By mindfully choosing a gift with the intention that its an act of love, it will change your tune entirely. In fact, gift giving is proven to make us happy, with science finding when we spend money on others - be it friends, family or strangers, we not only feel happier but more socially connected too.
And with an abundance of occasions - weddings, birthdays, baby christenings - there’s always ample opportunity to show our love and practise the art of gift giving.
Yet while learning it ‘feels good to give’ versus knowing ‘what to give’ is often a challenge.
So first things first - forget the monetary value. According to the same study, it's ‘how’ you give rather than ‘what’ you give. When people were offered either $5 or $20, it didn’t matter how much they had, if they spent the money on a gift for someone else, it brought more meaning to their lives than if they spent it on themselves.
So with the price tag not at the centre of your mind the art of gift giving essentially becomes all about how you show love when giving or choosing your gift.
To ease the stress and allow you to experience the true joy of giving, we have compiled a list of things to consider when creating the perfect gift experience as well as thoughtful suggestions to suit every occasion.
- play 20 questions...
Take on a little detective work and casually find out your loved one’s likes, dislikes, favourite colour, fashion style, favourite animal or activity (remember: subtlety is key here!). With an arsenal of personal information, the perfect present is likely to appear. For example, if a girlfriend's birthday is coming up and she’s loves to hit up yoga and brunch on the weekend perhaps a unique mantra charm and an avocado toast on you is up her alley.
- set the scene
If you’ve ever seen The Bachelor you’ll know, it’s all about the romantic backdrop. Whether it’s an ocean view, a bespoke cocktail or a string quartet, if the atmosphere is oozing love and effort then the present is ultimately a cherry on top. However, if it’s an engagement proposal gift, it’s worth putting a little extra effort into the ring and experience. For lovebirds set to pop the question, romantic gestures are key. Personalise the scene and create their ultimate happy place - whether with candles and rosebuds or a pajama party with jazz music and red wine, create a bespoke experience that shows attention to detail. Additional things to consider may be - the invite, words you carefully string together, your/their outfit, recording the moment, people invited to share it with etc. Once all set, make sure your chose a jewellery piece that reflects them. We recommend visiting a jeweller or boutique jewellery store - and if diamonds are on the cards, keep in mind the higher the carat value, the higher the ‘wow factor’ (we love the solitaire pave ring).
- understand the occasion
Attending your first ever Bar Mitzvah or Christening? Take the time to understand the significance of the ceremony and any customary rituals that may be expected. While birthdays can be open to interpretation gift wise, religious rite of passages often have important symbolic gestures. For example, did you know it's customary to give money in multiples of $18 at Bar Mitzvahs’ as the Hebrew words behind the two numbers create the word ‘chai’ (aka life)? Whereas at a Baptism or Christening, the cross symbol is considered highly significant and is gifted in the form of either a charm bracelet or necklace, a statue or with rosary beads. Note though, if it’s a Greek Orthodox Christening and you are honoured with being chosen as a ‘Godparent’ then make sure to go with a gold cross.
- get personal
The sign of a true friend or lover is knowing the quirky little details that make up someone’s personality. What do they love doing? What makes them ‘them’? Do they have a spiritual side and read their star sign daily? Or do they have an affinity with words and enjoy doing crosswords in the paper every Sunday morning? If they are into any or all of the above, it’s safe to say they care about symbolism and hold a spiritual connection to words, letters and symbols. So, giving a gift that appeals to their spiritual or personal side and allows them to stay connected to their identity will bring them true joy. And what gift intertwines the two? Personalised charm jewellery. Whether a birthstone charm (symbolising their birthday month), letter charm (symbolising their name or nickname), charity charm (symbolising a charity close to their heart) or a destination charm (symbolising their home origin, favourite travel destination, etc) having something so symbolic close to them will always be a reminder of what’s important to them and ‘who’ is important to them (hint...you!).
- show your sentimental side
Weddings are one of the most wonderful occasions to indulge in the your inner sentimental side. Whether you are the bride, best friend or have been married for ten years, honouring such a significant occasion will naturally bring warm and fuzzy vibes. Gift wise - ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’ is a great sentimental source of inspiration for friends or bridesmaids of a bride-to-be (we love this guide). Conversely if you are soon to tie the knot, you can choose to go with an outward display of affection such as a classic wedding band (we love the Manhattan) or give a private token of love - i.e. if you and your partner say ‘I love you to the moon and back’ then perhaps moon studs are a personalised touch to give on your wedding night. For those already wonderfully wedded, each year anniversary the gift is made easy, as every year is associated with a different gemstone - i.e. 1st anniversary is gold jewellery, 5th anniversary symbolises sapphires and the 10th anniversary is diamonds.
With all this in mind, choosing the perfect present for your loved one can be really simple and stress free too. For more tips on mindful giving, we love this guide from The Chopra Centre.
Note: most places can do the gift wrapping for you or take out the hard work and provide a gift card option (just remember to present it in a meaningful way).
Whatever you choose, just come from a place of love and just enjoy the process along the way... ‘Afterall, ‘for it is in giving that we receive.’ - Francis of Assisi