Like a dish at a 5-star restaurant, a great gift requires the right ingredients, preparation and presentation. If a meal has high quality ingredients but is way over or under-cooked, it won’t make a good impression on the palate or the brain. Great presentation but sucky ingredients? Fast food - satisfying for now but ultimately forgettable.
Here’s a “recipe” for how to achieve the trifecta and give a gift that’s sure stick:
- List 10 of your friends’ favorites - color, snack, band, movie, hobby, etc.
- List 5 inside jokes that could translate into an object
- List 5 particularly fun memories you’ve shared with this person
- Stir in some potential themes. Could you weave small gifts into a story? A scavenger hunt? Is there a major life event happening soon for the person?
- Mix well.
- Let your lists guide the search. Start with specialty or online shops that might sell more creative or “out-of-the-box” gifts. If a friend’s favorite snack is chocolate chip cookies, you could look for a recipe book detailing a myriad of chocolate chip cookie variations. If another friend has a “thing” for an actor or singer, a cardboard cutout could be a fun addition to their existing home decor.
- Package your items so they all make a meaningful contribution to the gift as a whole. Did you land on a central theme that? A “favorite things” theme is easy to pull off. Could you create a “kit”? A collection?
- Top off a card or note with language that is consistent with the gift. Choose words that will help your friend understand your thought process when scouting each component.
- Arrange inside a fun presentation method. Forget gift bags and wrapping paper, why not present a bottle of wine in a stocking or a new tackle box in a fishnet? Making the “outer cover” part of the gift itself adds to the overall experience of “unwrap, open, surprise.”
- Let sit for one to two days, just in case you stumble upon any unexpected but necessary additions.
Still stumped? Here's a hint. Experiences win over physical objects. Always. Some ideas include:
- Tickets to a concert/play/sporting event
- Admission to a gala or ball
- Bicycle, rollerblades, scooter or skateboard
- Lessons or a class
- Books and movies
- Passes to a zoo, museum or amusement par