When it comes to becoming a better gift giver this Christmas or giving the perfect gift, there are 3 ingredients you need to know to include in every gift. Every good Christmas gift has them, and every bad Christmas gift misses one or more. So be sure to save this list to learn the best way to choose a gift for someone really special, and avoid hurting your relationships with bad gifts.
Okay, gift giving isn’t THAT dangerous. But have you ever received a gift that fell flat, and thought to yourself, “wow, they don’t know me at all…” Yeah. Ouch.
A bad gift won’t end a relationship, but it could do damage when you were trying to connect instead! So that’s why you need to think through these 3 phases, and save this post for later so you can come back to it next time you’re shopping for a gift for someone you only want good things for.
Dr. Jennifer Rothschild, in her TED Talk called How to Give a Good Gift, breaks down the gift-giving process into 3 phases:
How To Become a Better Gift Giver in 3 Steps
1️. The Intention: This is where you are thinking about what you want your gift to say
2️. The Object: This is where you are thinking about what your recipient would like
3️. The Effect: This is where you are thinking about how the recipient will feel about your gift.
Great gifts take effectively thinking through all 3. Not-great gifts miss a phase.
For instance, you can think you’re giving a great gift by having a lovely intention of wanting to pamper your recipient with a spa day, and having a wonderful desired effect of them being relaxed. However, if you skip the step where you think through what the recipient will actually like, and forget to note that your recipient is highly allergic to fragrant soaps and hates strangers touching them, your gift will unfortunately fall flat.
Here are some winning examples of Christmas gifts that include all 3 ingredients:
Imagine you want a great gift for your sister, and she consistently invites you over for wine and cheese nights. Your intention is that you want to say thank you for how generous she has been, and to compliment her for being such a great hostess. So you think through what would make her life easier or her hostessing prettier. You know she has elegant taste but has a few plain boards that she typically uses, so you want to get her something fancier! She has been gA rateful for practical gifts in the past so you know she will feel assisted in her hostessing instead of insulted.
Intention: To show gratitude
Object: She likes elegant cheeseboards
Effect: Feeling special and supported
Sounds like a winner!
Imagine you need the perfect gift for mom. She is in her golden years and you want to show her what a beautiful life she has and encourage her to really enjoy it. So you think about what she likes, and you know she likes to have slow, meaningful mornings of drinking coffee and mentally preparing for her day. You know she talks about gratitude often, so she won’t take your gesture of gifting this Gratitude Journal as a guilt trip or anything of the sort. So you fill in the first page for her about what you’re grateful for about HER, and give her the rest of the pages to take it all in. For extra points, buy yourself a journal too, and check in often about sharing your gratitude and your questions to their amazing prompts.
Intention: To give joy to your mom
Object: She likes contemplative, slow mornings, which this journal can add to
Effect: Feeling seen
Imagine you have a grandson that loves to be outside, so you want the best gift for him. You want to give him something that you can do together, to make memories by sharing something that he loves. You know he likes bugs, leaves, and pretending to be a pirate and scientist, so you see this Explorer’s Kit will aid in all his imaginations. You know he will feel so excited to spend more time with you.
Intention: To spend quality time with your grandson
Object: He likes adventuring, which this kit will help him do more of
Effect: Feeling loved by quality time
Your turn. Think of an occasion you need a gift for--like a birthday or the holiday season coming up!
What is your intention? What do you want your gift recipient to FEEL, not just when they receive the gift, but weeks after?
What objects would your recipient like? Brainstorm their hobbies, favorite things and places. Bonus points if it’s something you have in common.
What is the likely effect? Ignore your intention for a moment. What could your recipient think of your gift if they didn’t know your intention? Could it be embarrassing for some reason, inappropriate, ill-timed, or otherwise communicate something you don’t want it to? If so, go back to step 2.
Choosing the perfect gift for someone really can be as easy as 1-2-3. Whether your looking for gifts for your mom, sister, husband, mom, or grandkids, if you make sure to include these 3 ingredients, you're a better gift giver already.