Life throws us lots of curveballs, and one of those curveballs is when you’re faced with buying a gift for someone that you don’t know very well. Sometimes it’s purely out of obligation–like a Teacher’s Appreciation week gift. Or sometimes you just want to be nice–like with your son’s new girlfriend. But the problem is the same. What do you do when you want to give a sweet gift to someone you don’t know, but don’t want it to come off as generic, boring, or insincere?
The upside of generic gifts is that they’re cliche’s for a reason–mugs, candles, scarves are all used by most humans at some point in their lives. The downside is that they can highlight the very awkward dynamic that you’re in–that you don’t know them better to get them something more specific!
This can lead to thoughts of “Did they put any thought into this gift?” or “They’re just giving me junk.” Yikes! That’s the opposite feeling that you want someone to feel when you hand over a present!
So how can we avoid these reactions? Try these 4 simple ideas, using this adorable mug for example.
1. Add a Sweet Card to Share Your Sentiment
Gifts are just one way that we extend our appreciation and friendship. You can write a card with words of affirmation to double the dose of love language!
The card doesn’t have to be too mushy or personal. You can just express whatever it is you’re hoping the gift accomplishes. Do you want your gift-recipient to feel appreciated, special, or welcome? Do you want to get to know them better in the future? Let them know! Don’t leave them guessing.
The words in the card can help fill in the gaps that you’re worried your generic gift is leaving.
Bonus points if the card is unique or from a local artist, like this one!
2. Add Local Flowers to Your Gift
Flowers are such a universal, safe bet! But sometimes they’re not *quite* enough of a gift by themselves, so it is better to pair them with something less temporal.
But because they’re such a universally understood token of goodwill towards another person, they can express genuine care and make your gift into a gift-set, which always feels more special and intentional!
You definitely add bonus points when the bouquet is from somewhere novel, like the farmer’s market or a local grower. It shows that you went out of your way to create this gift set, negating some of the negative thoughts someone could have about an otherwise generic gift.
3. Add Cute Little Additions to Your Gift Set
Even when it’s something as simple and inexpensive as an extra little sticker, keychain, or candle, adding a small gift or two can make your gift go from “meh” to “this person really cares!”
It takes just a smidgen of creativity to pick something that makes sense and ties the gift together. But even this little bit of extra thoughtfulness goes a really long way.
The instant someone realizes that it’s not just one gift, but has bonus gifts, it immediately feels more abundant. Plus it’s obvious when someone has a fun time while putting the gifts together! This adds to the feeling of connection between you and the gift-recipient.
Other small, cute gift ideas:
4. Make It a Theme!
Similar to the little additions idea, making a gift set into a theme creates the feeling of intention, care, and creativity. The theme can be something as simple as a similar color scheme, or something more creative like every item starting with the letter L.
When they’re generic items, but generic items that go together in an intentional way, it makes the gift recipient feel like you really care. And even if they don’t end up using the items for whatever reason, your gift stays in their minds as memorable and unique.
Part of the fun of gifts is the moment of realizing what you got. And when the gifts are all related for some reason, it adds to the wonder and excitement.
Other theme ideas could be: items to bring to the beach, a coffee-lover’s gift set, colorful/rainbow items, at-home spa gifts, or gifts from local growers and artists.
All in all, the trick is to make it as obvious as possible that your gift had tons of THOUGHT put into it. This way, even if it doesn’t quite make the mark, which is a risk every gift-giver takes, it’s clear to your gift-recipient that the care is still there. They’ll leave that interaction knowing that you’re a considerate person and want to get to know you more (making it easier for the next gifting opportunity! Added bonus).
Plus, as risky as it is giving gifts to someone you don’t know, you’re hedging all your bets by making the gift universal, sweet, and fun. That’s all anyone can do!
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