Today at coffee hour (yes I made it to coffee hour 🙂 we were discussing giving gifts and all the different cultural norms for the amount to spend or what is considered a good gift. This conversation was a parallel to ones I have been having with family and my roommate lately. Personally I love finding special presents for each person on my list and knowing that I can give them something that they might not give them self. However I am one of those weirdos who shops all year round. I often have multiple presents for someone or multiple people wrapped in the back of my closet. When I see something really special for a particular person I tend to buy it and keep it till the next time I would like to give them a present.
This year I decided to make necklaces for the 3 ladies in my life that I give larger Christmas presents to. I made them all similar necklaces using the same methods/techniques but by the time I was done each one had a personality like each of my girls does. It was so obvious to me as I looked at each necklace who it was for. Other than these, and some t-shirts I designed for my dad and brother, I got my aunt and uncle in Sweden each a small gift based on things we talked about when I lived with them to say thank you for everything. However instead of buying people I work with or peripheral friends small tokens that don’t cost much or aren’t very personal I love to give gifts of experience. For each of my Swedish cousin’s I promised a dinner where we can hang out and I can help prepare/cook/make desert/bring the wine.
One of the girls at work was trying to figure out what to get her 11 year old goddaughter who only wants make-up and clothes that she (the godmother) thinks are inappropriate for her age. I suggested a night out at the ballet or shopping in the city or high tea at a nice restaurant. By giving the gift of something you can do together or experiences that are special you not only get a present but a memory. The next time you go to buy a present that is random or not something the person it is for will use/love think about giving the gift of a shared experience.