How to surprise someone with a gift
Who doesn’t like to receive a gift? That feeling of anticipation when we tear through the gift-wrapping to see whats inside brings out the child in us. We all love surprises!! And that is what a present symbolizes. Somebody cares enough about us to bring a gift and they have thoughtfully wrapped it up so that we get pleasure from unwrapping it and finding out whats inside. We love the suspense of guessing what’s inside and the climax of being proven right or wrong. But as the famous song goes ” You have got to give, Taking is too easy!!!” So lets discover some gift ideas, how to give, what to give and how to spice it up. In the end we’ll even discuss some cool DIY gifting ideas that don’t cost much money and finally we’ll indulge in some cooky psychology that claims to figure out who you are from the gifts you give to your loved ones!
Gift Ideas that hit the spot
One way of going about your gifting is to buy a gift you think would be appropriate, get it gift wrapped and make a ritual of handing it over without much fuss. But if this sounds too plain for your liking you can get elaborate and fancy with a bit of imagination and planning. Whenever special occasions like Birthdays,anniversaries etc approach, the person who is to be gifted has some inkling that a gift is on the way and that may dampen the surprise element somewhat. But there are ways whereby you can make things more dramatic.
If the recipient expects that you will be the person handing over the gift, you can easily arrange for a child, a pet or even a complete stranger to come forward at the opportune moment with the gift in hand. One idea is to have next door neighbors to bring the gift and say its a result of a mix up by the mail man, anything goes as long as it is least expected!
The outer packaging of the gift should mask the real nature of the gift. The box inside a box inside a box is a very famous trick but you can go for misleading packaging like a drab box of industrial equipment with technical stuff written all over which conceals the real package of a high end Fashion Store so that your special someone is completely flabbergasted accompanied by squeals of delight from the people around.
The Least Expected
You could also hide your gift in a place where it would be least expected but where the recipient would be sure to find it as they frequent it as a daily routine. Good places to place your present would be a drawer or cupboard favored by him/her, or his bike helmet, a shoe or her purse or on his car dashboard. Just don’t be too clever about it and make sure the gift is not too difficult to find or that it gets lost or damaged, When they find the gift in a place they never expected you can be sure you will have the element of complete surprise! Alternately you could also hide the present at a place which hold special meaning to you and the recipient. A place which hold special memories, your child’s favorite restaurant, the back garden of your home, the movie theater where you first watched a movie together. You can recreate the nostalgia of great times you had in the past.
Make the recipient sweat it out while he/she figures out what your cryptic clues mean. One clue leads to another and finally up to the discovery of the actual gift itself. My children, with my wife’s help once sent me on a treasure hunt and provided me with a scrap of paper with clues in the form of a little poem that had bits of information about me and little episodes about our family life. They howled with laughter as I jumped from one clue to another and collected a heap of paper slips until I finally managed to find the Prize. It was by far the most memorable Birthdays I ever had!
When using the above mentioned gimmicks to spice up your gifting it would be useful take proper note of the appropriateness of the gestures and the relationship you share with the person you are gifting to. While its fun when sharing these moments with loved ones, family and friends, it might seem a bit overboard to employ such tricks when dealing with business associates or with people with whom we have formal relationships.
The art of gifting
Gifting is as much about giving thoughtfully as receiving graciously. When selecting something to buy we are faced with myriad choices and its a tough task to select the appropriate gift for someone based on the occasion, the relationship we share with the receiver and also the personal likes or dislikes of the person for whom the present is intended. Choosing the right thing to give is highly subjective and we inevitably fall back on our image of the person we are gifting to. You may think that your cousin will love chocolate but when you buy her a box of Hazlenut Caramels you might find that she’s on a diet. Your aunt who dug into those cashew-nut cookies last Christmas may have lost her teeth in the meanwhile.
While its safe to buy clothes, jewelry, cosmetics or other fashion related products for women, you cant go wrong if you stick to wallets, belts or practically useful stuff for men. It gets a little sticky for teenagers as your gift needs to have a coolness quotient added to it. One way to hit the nail on the head would be to find out stuff they are crazy about like movie stars, bands they like or music the listen to. Fan related merchandise can really add a sparkle in their eyes.
The sweetest gifts are those received from little children ,be it a simple kiss or hug or something that they make on their own in their clumsy way. A hand scrawled crayon colored Card from my little daughter is one of my most prized possessions today. While wives,sisters and daughters can be depended upon to come up with the most perfect presents, husbands,brothers and sons may be excused for their lack of sentimentality and imagination in gift giving. Personally though I find buying presents for friends a lot easier than for family but that is only because I think I would get away with it if my gift idea for a friend bombed!
So what happens to all those gifts that were given to us in good faith and accepted with good grace but that we didn’t like? Some of them just gather dust in some dinghy storeroom down in the basement, some are used intermittently as was intended by the gifter, sometimes with ill-grace but more often than not, such ill-fated gifts are re-cycled back into the system and re-gifted. Realistically there may be merit to doing this but if the original Gift-giver were to learn of this he/she might really feel hurt and it has the potential to cause a major embarrassment to the receiver as well!
Gift me some love!
Whereas willingness to spend money on a gift for someone you love is an admirable emotion, the time and effort you put in to make something really nice just for that special person is really heart warming. Here are a couple of DIY Gift Ideas that work really well and are not very difficult to make but the effort that you put in would be well rewarded in terms of the love and appreciation of your near and dear ones.
Unique Photo Bookmarks: Get your kids/friends to pose as if they are hanging from someplace, with exaggerated and funny expressions. Prepare tasseled threads and hang these photos from them. Surely encourages a good read!
Cool Drop-Down Photo Album: Take some hard card paper and cut it into a long rectangular strip. Fold the strip into mini-rectangles, so that it is folded like an accordion. Get your favorite pictures and paste them onto these ‘mini-rectangles’. Finish off with little bows on either side. Sure to melt hearts!
Gold Glitter Bowl: Apply a paste of Mod Podge and glitter powder to a balloon. After drying, prick the balloon and let it deflate. Voila! Here is your gold glitter bowl, ready to dazzle everyone!
Planters from Floppy Disks: Use 5 floppy disks to create a cube with an open end. Stick the ends with glue. That’s it! Get your favourite desk sized plants, put some soil in a container small enough to fit into the disk planter and plant your greens. Put this container inside the disk planter. A cute way of greening up that table, indeed!
Sending Hugs: Get your kids/friends to lie flat on some decorative paper with arms outstretched, make an outline of the arms, and cut them out. Fold this ‘hug’ and send it in an envelope, and draw a face.
Gifter know thyself!
While we would all love to pick up gifts that would sweep the receiver off their feet but the reality is that sometimes we end up with egg on our face. Why is that so? I always feel that I have poor choice in this matter whereas others always seem to have the knack of coming up with the right stuff. As I confessed earlier I face some anxiety when picking out stuff for my family especially my wife. But guess what? I really feel vindicated after finding out about a Karen Pine of Hertfordshire, England who actually delves into the psychology of gifting. Here’s what she has to say “The more we value the other person, the more want the gift to be an accurate reflection of the strength of our feelings towards them. And what we don’t want to do is give them a gift that’s a poor symbol of the importance of the relationship”. In other words the more important the relationship the more we anxiety we feel about getting the right gift. So here’s a quick list from healthland.time.com of what it really means depending on the gifts you give or receive
1.Anxiety or confusion regarding what the other person would like:
An important relationship where you want to stress the importance of the relationship but get the feeling that you don’t really know the person yet you ought to. Anxiety and confusion may also be due to a new or a budding relationship where the boundaries are not yet formed and you don’t know whether you should gift something intimate or something more conventional.
2. Getting a present that you don’t like from someone who should know better:
What if your best friend since childhood gifted you something you hate? It may not necessarily mean he/she is selfish but it could reflect their perception of the relationship between you two. This may not be how you view things. However what is crystal clear in such a muddy situation is that you need to get together and spend some time renewing your friendship and all the things you have in common and celebrating all the things that you don’t!
3. What if your gift turns out to be a dud!
Imagine carefully choosing a present keeping in mind the peculiar tastes of the recipient only to get it all wrong? As I mentioned earlier people change and so do their preferences. It may be that we hold on to an image of others that may no longer hold true. People’s feelings are fickle and they may change without giving notice. So before you plan to gift something personal to somebody do get an update on their current state of mind.
4. Sentimental gifts vs utility:
Women go for gifts that are chosen specifically for them, it makes it more personal. Men on the other hand prefer gifts that are of practical value in daily life and useful. But the problem is they think the same way when buying gifts for people who attach sentimental value to gifts i.e women. Now a man might buy a kitchen appliance for the woman he loves to cut down on her daily chores but unless he stresses the personal attention and sentimental value of the gift, the woman is not going to value it that much is she now?
How to know if your gift is well received?
After gifting something we’re just dying to know how well our gift was received. Nobody believes the polite thanks that are offered to their face. Wouldn’t we love to have just a clue? May be just a tiny one?
And I offer just that! Its only an indication and not to be taken as gospel truth.
But the fact is that if you closely watch the facial expressions and body language of the receiver you might just get an inkling as to the reception of your gift. Usually people who love your gift will make eye contact with you while thanking you for the gift. They will also linger on with the gift, admiring it, talking about it, playing with it. If you have just been gifted with something you are proud to possess wouldn’t you like to exhibit it just a little while longer?
So now you know what to think if after opening his present your teenage son avoids eye contact and mumbles his way to something that sounds like thanks and just cant wait to put back the “Edith Piaf” Music Collection into its box and re-wrapping it back!!!!
Over to you
If you have some amazing ideas about innovative ways to spice up gifting or insights into the psychology behind gifting, please do engage with me and do let me know your thoughts by commenting below. I would like to follow up with more posts on Gifting and maybe deal specifically with Gifting ideas for different people based on their gender, the age groups, relationships and interests. If there is anything specific you would like me to cover please do let me know.