I love Christmas, I love birthdays, I love weddings & I love Christenings. In fact, I love any occasion where I get to buy someone a present. I love buying gifts & the joy of giving. I’d like to think I am a thoughtful gift-buyer & take time to decide on the perfect present for the person receiving it.
I have been designated gift-buyer for our team at work whenever anyone gets married or goes off to have a baby, partly because everyone knows I enjoy it & partly because I do a good job, I think. I have been known to buy gifts ridiculously far in advance because they remind me of a certain person (although these inevitably get lost, so I don’t do it so much now; I will take a picture or write a note into the fantastic app Evernote, which is like a scrapbook on your phone. Recent highlights have included a personalised hat for a colleagues new baby from Charlotte Cot Blankets – these are great, especially if the child has a more unusual name, as these often aren’t available in shops. Not on the High Street is a fantastic place to look for unusual, personalised gifts too.
I think a good present should be something that the receiver would like, but is possibly seen as a bit frivolous, or something you would only buy for yourself as a treat. I often buy massages for stressed out friends or experiences, gig tickets etc for people if I know they like something in particular. You don’t need a big budget, just the time to really think about what that person likes (& – maybe even more importantly – dislikes).
Even if I don’t start buying until a bit later, I start thinking about my Christmas shopping in September(ish) & have a spreadsheet of what I bought for people in recent years, so they don’t end up with a hat & scarf 3 years running.
Unfortunately, just as driving a lot makes me a bad passenger, putting lots of thought into the right present for the right person can make me a bad receiver. I am never rude. Ever. But I do sometimes feel disappointed that the person giving the present doesn’t know me perhaps as well as I’d hoped, or just not given it much thought.
An example of this is smellies. Every year, I get bought smellies, despite not really being a bath person (although, as part of Project Happiness & my homework, I am taking time to do things just for me & a bath with a book & glass of wine is one on the list, so maybe they’ve seen into the future…?). If I never purchased another bottle of bubble bath, I genuinely think I would still have enough to last until I die of old age. It’s an easy present that takes little thought & everyone knows ‘girls like baths’ don’t they? Not this particular one, no.
So, what’s the secret to buying a good present? In my opinion, it’s simple: it’s time. The time to really think about someone before you go out & buy them a gift (or stay in & order them a gift). The time to remember conversations around their likes & dislikes. The time to order something personalised if that’s what you think they’d like & not have to have a coronary on Christmas eve because it’s not here (although the very word personalised is what should be applied to all present-buying – it should fit that person completely). The time so that you don’t end up in Sainsburys on Christmas eve buying all of the men in your family socks (unless you have a man in your family like Mr T, who’s socks are regularly eaten by our washing machine) & all of the women smellies (maybe I just stink & they’re trying to tell me gently?!).