The True Secret To Successful Gift Giving
The true secret to successful gift giving is generosity. It seems to have become a very intricate part of who we are as a people. Of all the creatures on the earth, humans are the only ones that actually have taken gift giving to the level that it is. Anthropoligst Terry Y. LeVine said it best:
The practice of giving and receiving gifts is so universal it is part of what it means to be human. In virtually every culture, gifts and the events at which they are exchanged are a crucial part of the essential process of creating and maintaining social relationships…
Most cultures exercise their gift giving practices at specific times and occasions and while there is clearly a gift giving season around the world there is no reason why our generosity should end after the holidays. There are numerous reasons why we may want to give gifts throughout the year, aside from the standard and agreed upon occasions. But when you give a gift or even the occasion for giving has little to do with how well your gift will be received. The key to making your gift giving a success does not depend on the holiday or any special events associated with the person, but actually depends more on you and your motivation when you give. So before you go out to buy a gift for someone here are a few things to think about.
What is Your Motivation?
Of course, we all know that we’re buying a gift for a birthday, Christmas, a graduation and so on, but you should have a deeper meaning than that. Understanding your inner feelings for purchasing the gift will help you to choose one that reflects your real feelings about the person. The deeper your feelings the more time, energy, and money you will be willing to spend to find the right object for your recipient. According to Laura Vanderkam, author of All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending says,
What makes gifts really exciting is the idea that somebody spent time thinking about you, pondering what you’d like and what would make you happy, and hopefully actually got it right.
How Well do You Know This Person?
Choosing something that reflects their favorite things will provide that personal touch. Think back on your past conversations and call to mind the things they have admired or respected in the past. If it’s someone that you don’t know well but would like to, try asking their friends about their personal likes and dislikes. Most people will be more than willing to help you if they understand your true motives. Etiquette expert, Judith Martin (“Miss Manners”) notes,
Gift giving is all about the other person….for the right person, even old shoes could be appropriate.
The secret here is to be thoughtful in your selection and give from your heart. The best of intentions can win over even the most difficult of persons if you’ve taken the time to give a little thought to what they would truly like.
Also, take into consideration any cultural, social or background differences that may come into play. We live in a very diverse population with all sorts of mixtures. While most people may appreciate a gift even when it presents a cultural conflict they will appreciate it more if you’ve taken those things into consideration. Think about their ethnicity, religion, and social practices when you are searching for the right present. You may be surprised at what you’ll learn if you do a little research before you buy. Susan Kurth Clot deBroissia explains it simply,
Gift giving customs vary greatly from country to country. What is considered appropriate in France may be entirely inappropriate in Japan.
In order to know that you are not infringing upon cultural barriers it is important that you do a little research to make sure that what you’re offering will be received in the right way.
The Wrapping Should Match the Occasion
Presentation should be another key factor in your giving; a package that is just handed over to someone without any fancy frills and bows gives the idea that the gift was an after thought. While that may not have been the impression you intended, it is what will be reflected. You can buy the cheapest little bobble you can find and put it in a fancy box with a bow tied around it and you will bring out the same laughter and joy that a true diamond would bring. Depending on the occasion for the gift, make sure that the wrapping matches that occasion. You don’t want to use funny clown paper for a business gift, and you don’t want to use somber colors for a birthday celebration. The presentation should be well thought out and suitable for the recipient and any onlookers as well.
Also, whenever possible try to present your gift in person rather than through a third party. As is the custom in China, gifts should always be presented with both hands giving the recipient a high level of respect. While this custom has been practiced for centuries in Asian countries, it has grown in popularity in most parts of the Western world.
Nearly everyone loves gifts whether it is to give or to receive them; as Terry Y. Levine believes, it is part of being human. The idea of gifting is steeped in rich and cultural meaning no matter where you live in the world but many people do not really realize that gifting has little to do with the gift and more to do with the giver. Taking care to choose a gift that the receiver will truly value and appreciate says more about you as a person that a gift could ever do. If you keep these valuable points in mind, you will certainly find the joy that comes with giving.