Christmas Gifts Ideas – Ten Suggestions

Christmas gift giving is a beautiful tradition. However, the tradition of gift giving is thousands of years old. We hear or read of accounts of gift giving in ancient times also. People visiting dignitaries and kings carried appropriate gifts, while the dignitaries and kings also gave gifts to people on important or religious occasions. In … Continue reading “Christmas Gifts Ideas – Ten Suggestions”

Christmas gift giving is a beautiful tradition. However, the tradition of gift giving is thousands of years old. We hear or read of accounts of gift giving in ancient times also. People visiting dignitaries and kings carried appropriate gifts, while the dignitaries and kings also gave gifts to people on important or religious occasions.

In fact, when Christ was born he is supposed to be brought gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense by the Magi (incidentally, the English word ‘magic’ is derived from it) or three Wise Men or three Kings from the East.

What points we should bear in mind while selecting and giving Christmas gifts?

Here are my ten suggestions:

1. Go about it in an Organized Way: Christmas shopping is not for the last moment. You could buy future gift items all the year round, especially when there is some sale. Likewise, prepare your list of persons whom to give Christmas gifts and what items to give well in advance. Keep some margin for last minute additions, especially for reciprocal gifts.
2. Make Your Budget and Try not to Exceed it: In the spirit of Christmas one may be tempted to buy and give expensive gifts. On the other hand one should not be miser also. Try to keep a balance. If you give unique and personalized gifts even less costly things will be appreciated much.
3. Gift Wrapping and Presenting: Always gift-wrap your presents nicely. Don’t give without gift wrapping. Worse still, don’t wrap into an already used gift paper. Try to remove or erase the price tag/sticker. While presenting give with a smile!
4. Give Gifts in the Appropriate Price Range: While there is no price limit on gifts, one should not give too cheap or too costly gifts. Such gifts become a matter of embarrassment rather than joy because people think of reciprocity also. It is a good idea to give symbolic gifts of flowers, personalized or hand-made gifts to wealthy persons, as your costly gifts may seem cheap to them!
5. Don’t Reveal the Gift before Time: Always keep an element of surprise in your gifts. Don’t reveal before hand what you intend to give. Similarly, don’t take the gift recipient with you to buy gift for him/her, except in case of family, especially children who would not be satisfied with any other thing than what they really want. Taking a person with you for buying gift may also cause embarrassment if the person chooses a gift of higher price than you had intended to buy.
6. Keep in the Mind the Future of Gift Giving Tradition: Before giving Christmas gifts also think whether you are going to keep this tradition with the recipients in the future also. For example, if you are giving gifts to your colleagues in your old office where you no longer work, consider whether you would continue relationship with them.
7. Try to Find out What Gifts are Expected: In case of your family and friends try to find out what they might be expecting from you or what their secret wishes are. Don’t ask them directly.
8. Reciprocal and Last Minute Additions Gifts: Even if it is a reciprocal gift or a gift to a person who was not included in your original list, don’t let the recipient know this and feel unimportant.
9. Give Intangible Gifts also: The costliest gift given with an unsmiling face is worthless. The costliest gift given with a feeling of animosity is worthless. The costliest gift without love is worthless. A gift is a statement of love and a promise of continued love. Keep your promise.
10. Give to Needy and Poor also: Set aside a portion of your budget for the needy and poor whom you may not know. Make their Christmas bright. Also don’t forget utility persons-your driver, postman, plumber, gardener, office boy, waiter, etc.

I would highly recommend that you read, if already read re-read, the all time favorite and classical short story “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. This is about how a poor couple sacrifices their dearest possession for giving the best gift to each other.

On gift giving, there is a beautiful Indian story also. Once upon a time, there was a poor farmer who grew a beautiful lotus flower in his pond when there was drought in the region. He thought that he would get a good price for it. While he was taking it to the market for selling the riches man of the region approached him and asked the price. Simultaneously, the king of the region also arrived and he also wanted to buy the flower. Both of them competed with each other and offered higher and higher price. The farmer asked them why they wanted the flower so desperately. They told him that Lord Buddha was in the town and they wanted to offer the flower to him. The farmer thought that if they were offering such huge sums for a flower for offering to Lord Buddha, he must really be God. He told the buyers that he no longer wanted to sell the flower. He went and offered the flower at the feet of Lord Buddha!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
LIVE THE LIFE BEAUTIFUL!
BE HAPPY!
TODAY, TOMORROW, FOREVER!

The author is working in the field of happiness, health, and success. He is an expert Yoga and Naturopathy practitioner/guru and self-help and motivational writer. He is also a literary writer.

A Formula for Perfect Gift Ideas

How do you find the perfect gift for anyone regardless of the recipient’s age? I’ve always believed that the general principle for finding the best gift ideas remains the same: thought about the receiver comes first–the gift itself just takes second place.

That basic principle essentially implies that the idea of a perfect gift actually doesn’t exist as an idea that can be considered universal. Put another way, there’s no such thing as a standard “perfect gift” for anyone that matches a particular profile, demographic, or description. Every so-called best gift is as unique as the recipient and the purpose for which it is given.

To illustrate this, think of Christmas gift ideas to give to your spouse. If you intend to buy one online, you’ll probably browse tens or hundreds of gift registry sites that list Christmas gifts, gifts for husbands, gifts for wives, and the like. This pattern of gift searching relies on the process of elimination–that is, of narrowing down millions of gift items to just one or two–and then purchasing one while hoping that it will be the perfect present for the receiver. But, this method limits your search in a lot of ways. For instance, it limits your ideas to the season or holiday. Surely, you want to give the best gift not because of the holiday but despite the holiday.

An Easier Way

Is it wrong to search for great gift ideas in that manner? Of course, it is not. But, is there an easier, smoother way showing the deeper thought and reflection you’ve put into your gift giving act? Yes, there is.

Any present is perfect only insofar as it meets a specific purpose. Let’s take this statement a bit further. Different people have different purposes for the gifts that they give. Most of those purposes are practically laced with self-serving motives. Most people give gifts to satisfy another’s wants. Yet, the most thoughtful, noble, and special gift you can give is one that helps fulfill the recipient’s need.

Everyone has both wants and needs, and at the end of the day, it’s those gifts that fulfill a need that count and matter more (and are often fondly remembered). After all, everyone can live without getting what one wants. Imagine yourself as the recipient of a special gift. Can you say to the gift giver, “You do love me and care for me; you were there in my need”?

Taking the recipient’s need as your foremost consideration in deciding what gift to give lifts your gift giving several notches higher than routine, superficial, thoughtless, and meaningless giving. So, if you intend to practice a more loving and more genuinely human way of giving the best gift to your loved ones, try the needs-based approach.

The Liberating Formula

For brevity’s sake, I’ve summed it into a formulaic fill-in-the-blanks statement that goes like this:

“My gift’s receiver needs help with _____________________. I can help this person by giving her or him a _________________.”

That formula is a very liberating formula because it:

frees you from the constraints of holiday-themed giving;
frees you from the constraints of popularity-based gifts ideas;
gives you more leeway to come up with a more intimate, more meaningful, and more useful gift idea;
points you to a gift idea that fulfills a need (i.e., the receiver’s), for which the receiver will hopefully be grateful;
frees you from the time-consuming, hit-or-miss process of sorting out gift suggestions because right from the start, you already have a clear idea of the specific purpose for the gift item that you intend to give; and
frees you from the idea that a gift is always physical, material, or tangible. Not all gifts are tangible. In many situations, the best gift is the intangible kind: the gift of presence, the gift of time, the gift of reassurance, the gift of appreciation expressed in a handwritten note, etc.
Take note that the intended recipient may express her or his needs either explicitly or indirectly. Regardless, you have to know what those are. Sometimes, you even need to figure out those unexpressed needs on your own. Giving a helpful gift for someone’s unexpressed need often spices up your gift giving with the element of surprise, which always results in delight: “Oh, oh, oh! How did you know I needed this? Thank you! I do need this.”

In conclusion, do not start your search on a gift registry site or a themed listing of gift ideas. Instead, start your search from your mind and fill your thoughts with the recipient and his or her needs. Only then can you really begin a worthwhile search for perfect gift ideas for that person you care about.

How Women Hunt for the Perfect Gift

In late 2010, eBay released the results of a national study identifying different kinds of gift givers according to their holiday shopping styles. In the eBay-commissioned survey called “The Psychology of Gifting” conducted by Kelton Research, adult American women were asked to identify their holiday gift shopping behaviors. The study resulted in four types of holiday shoppers, each type corresponding to a distinct gift giving style.

eBay’s Survey of Gift Giver Types

According to the eBay-sponsored survey, American women can be grouped into four types of gift givers. Which group do you belong to?

Emotional Givers. About 4 out of 10 American women are Emotional Givers. They usually seek out unique gifts after giving much thought to the gifts and the recipients on their gift lists. Emotional Givers want to show how much they know the gift recipients, so they tend to plan their gifts, usually wrap the gifts themselves, and deliver the gifts usually with a handwritten note or card.

Practical Givers. About 1 out of 5 American women fall into this category of givers. When they give, the best gift items are either cold cash or gift cards (gift certificates or gift cheques). The rule of practicality dominates their gift giving, thus they give recipients the freedom to choose what item the receiver thinks is best. And, the perfect instrument for that sort of freedom is either cash or a gift card.

Convenience Givers. About 16 percent of the survey’s participants identified themselves under this type. Convenience Givers are efficient shoppers. They often prefer to buy gift items from only one store or source. For these women, looking for great gift ideas is a chore that they eventually have to (often grudgingly) accomplish. Most often, Convenience Givers hardly feel any excitement or joy in looking for the perfect gift to give.

Last-Minute Givers. These are the women who shop for gifts at the eleventh hour. They seem to enjoy the mad rush of last-minute buying. About 13% of America’s women fall under this category. These gift shoppers usually do not plan their gifts way ahead of the holidays.
It seems possible to exhibit several of the characteristics of the different types of givers. For most people, however, one characteristic dominates, while one or two usually are just secondary behavioral traits.

One blogger, for instance, wrote that he actually became a cross between Emotional Giver and Convenience Giver. Proof of that, he said, was that he shopped for Christmas gifts-all of which he had carefully thought out and planned for specific recipients-from only one online store. Before his transmogrification to the Emotional-Convenience hybrid, he claimed he was definitely of the Last-Minute breed.

Skepticism of Such Surveys

eBay’s survey appears to be well-designed and has been reported to have a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. When I first heard of this survey, my first impulse was to self-check and determine what kind of gift giver I am. Then, I slowly realized that I should take such surveys with a grain of salt.

First of all, this kind of survey, like many other similar surveys, emphasizes the material and financial/economic aspect of giving gifts-as if generosity can be objectively measured or quantified. By categorizing gift givers according to their shopping styles, the unspoken advocacy seems to be that “The perfect gift to give to anyone during the holidays is something that can be shopped from a store,” which is certainly not absolutely true in all cases. There are, in fact, limitless opportunities for anyone to give non-material, non-store-bought, non-monetarily-quantifiable gifts.

Yet, majority of people today feel compelled to give gifts to one another simply because of fear of social sanction. This brings me to my second reason for being skeptical: true giving-just like true love-conquers all fear, including the fear of social sanction and the fear of jumping off the bandwagon.

Seeming Lack of Spiritual Footing

There’s a spiritual dimension to the human tradition of gift giving, yet so many today have forgotten the true spirit of self-sacrificial generosity. Instead, we allow our capitalistic economy to encourage sentimentality in gift giving, as in the case of the Emotional Givers, who have to deal with the temptation of giving for the sake of giving-quite a big jump from the more noble and more thoughtful purpose of giving for the sake of assisting someone in need.

Or, take the case of the Convenience Givers and the Practical Givers who favor gift cards or cash. I can think of two possible motivations for this crowd to favor convenience when they set out to find the perfect gift.

One possible reason is that they haven’t really warmed up to the idea of holiday giving yet, or they just may be too lazy to sort out hundreds of gift ideas and find the perfect gift. They may possibly be generous in one way or another, although shopping for gifts for the holidays just might not be their idea of enjoying the holidays.

Another possible reason is that they feel obliged to engage in the social practice of looking for the best gifts to give during the holidays or on special occasions. They give gifts to avoid the societal frown that they would get if they don’t. This avoidance could be the reason for their preference to find the perfect gift from convenient, quick, hassle-free, and usually one-stop sources.

So, they seek the least troublesome road, especially the one with the sign that says “This way to the perfect gift idea that will take up just an iota of your thought, time, or effort.”

As for Last-Minute Givers, I believe they either just lack the time or shop at the last minute purely for the adrenaline rush. Nothing bad about the latter, but the former has question marks sprayed all over it. Truly loving persons are generous not only with their gifts but also with the time they use to find the perfect gift. If your gift is supposed to be a material representation of your love and concern for the welfare of another, then spend time to find the best gift. The time you sacrifice for finding the perfect gift is part of the gift itself.

Giving, in the true spirit of generosity and charity, always demands some form of sacrifice from the giver. It is a sacrifice that the giver willingly makes for the sake of the receiver. Generosity and giving are always other-centered. After reflecting on eBay’s survey, I am wont to say that unless you are inebriated by that self-sacrificing spirit, you will never be able to find the perfect gift at all.

Bring back the fun and joy into your search for the perfect gift for your loved ones. Visit Elmer M.’s site for inspiring articles about gift giving, great gift ideas, and special gift resources. Also check out his brilliant review of the Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor Watch online.