Gift Ideas

By Antony M Barnes

The most important question regarding gift giving is really “what makes a good gift?”

One simple answer would be anything which pleases the recipient. However, closer analysis throws up one or two delicate problems. Most importantly, though one would wish to please the person you are giving to you must also be sure not to embarrass them. Too lavish a gift can leave a person feeling beholden or even guilty, whilst an unwise choice can lead to disappointment, discontent, or even anger.

A gift should aim to be appropriate, both in its monetary value and in matching the recipient’s taste. This on occasion can call for some tact since the object should not be to instruct them on your own personal preferences, nor to point out where their tastes fall short of yours. If someone likes reading comics don’t give them a book on philosophical treaties.

So what to give? Many people have collections of things – glass animals, model soldiers, beer mats, you name it – and to add to these can give considerable enjoyment. Others prefer the opposite: an uncluttered home. For this type of person consumables are recommended. Alcohol, cosmetics, their favourite luxury foodstuffs are all old favourites, as are socks which, if like mine, never seem to last very long.

Another type of gift is the practical sort: gadgets and gizmos. If you find a gap in a person’s arsenal of tools and labour-saving devices and fill it for them, satisfaction is guaranteed. But beware; gardeners and DIY enthusiasts can be very specific about the exact tools they wish for. Do your homework.

Other types of practical gift can be as simple as a pen or letter opener, and these can be given a considerable lift by having them engraved. There are many ways of personalising a gift, and this additional aspect impacts very favourably upon the recipient.

Finally, presentation. Remember that the simplest of presents can become an object of desire by paying attention to the way it is wrapped and presented. It’s in the details. And a card carefully chosen is always likely to be well received.

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