Say It In Words

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Perennial holiday problems will always include what food to serve, which guests to invite and – more to the point – which gift to give. Of course, we all like to think that we are the perfect gift giver but sit back and take a look at the gifts you have received yourself over the years. Do they give you that soft ‘loved’ feeling, or do they leave you cold? This is a common feeling experienced by so many and yet, the choice could be made easier by just preparing a little in advance.

I don’t condone doing what some people do. That is, buying up the January sales, wholesale, for gifts to be given throughout the year. This saves some dollars, accepted, but does it do what a gift should do? To my mind this is buying gifts and then trying to fit it to a friend or relative, instead of the other way around. Sure, if you have your list of things you want to buy, and those gifts are on sale – then dig in. But sales are notorious for getting rid of old stock, things that were not best sellers and other bits and pieces that are usually past their ‘sell by’ date.

Buying for younger people is also notoriously difficult. Fads come and go in the blink of an eye and your reputation would be absolutely shot if you gave a ‘January Sale’ gift to a hip and with it young person. You are likely to be told that the gift is ‘so yesterday!’

So what do you do? First and foremost, make a list of everyone who is to receive a gift. Split the list into family, friends, and work colleagues and so on and then put the names of the most important at the top of the list. This will give you the opportunity to add or delete from the list as you go along and will at least make you feel that you are doing something towards the ‘big event’. Some people do this on wall calendars, put reminders one month in advance and so on but this is a bit over preparedness. This is normally the domain of moms or dads who have their work day mapped out already by their kids’ routines. It doesn’t hurt to follow their example but some would view it as overkill. If you have a desk planner, or year planner in your diary, then marking in special occasions like birthdays and such is great, with a symbol or name one month before to remind you of the upcoming event is a great visual tool to get you organized.

The next question, naturally, is what to buy as a gift? This is where your detective skills will come in handy. It doesn’t take much to talk to people close to your ‘victim’ and who will have some idea of what they have been talking about of late. If it is a young woman, she may have well been talking of a piece of jewelry that she would like to get and the friends and close family are the best ones to tell you of this. Men, also, usually talk of what they have been thinking of buying so take a little time to investigate.

One of the favorite pieces to buy as a gift – and is usually welcomed by most – is something with a name engraved on it. Some ladies necklaces come in the form of the name itself and make a welcome addition to any woman’s collection. But something that is engraved, perhaps with a poignant message, shows that you really went out of your way to make sure the gift was personal. Indeed, this is why many wedding rings will have words and dated engraved inside to remind the couple that someone loves them!

Engraving is not isolated to jewelry though. Practically anything made of metal or glass can have anything engraved on it. Even trophies and cups have team names, dates of win, or just ‘world’s best dad’ engraved on them and this makes the gift just a little more special.

One of the favorite personalized gifts in past years was a pocket watch. These could be given from a wife to husband, a company to a retiring employee, father to son, and so on. The message was usually personal to the recipient and they were so valued that they were passed down to later generations. Indeed, if you were the recipient of grandfather’s watch, you knew you were something special!

Many men will choose a heart pendant, in gold or silver, to give to their wives or girlfriends. These lend themselves perfectly to engraving and can have ‘I love you’ or ‘Forever yours’ type messages added. In fact, anything that means something to the couple can be engraved. Even coded messages have been engraved on jewelry or articles so that no one else can work out what is being conveyed! This makes it even more special since no one can decipher your own personal code.

The act of engraving also lends itself to gifts for weddings. Some have the bride and groom’s names and date of the wedding engraved on silver or glass photo frames. This is an excellent reminder of the joy of the day. Even groomsmen’s gifts and bridesmaids gifts have been produced to be engraved with initials of the bride and groom or the date of the wedding. Some will present the bride and groom with silver wine goblets, engraved with their names, to toast the day with champagne. These normally take pride of place and are usually handed down to following generations if kept in good condition.

One thing to remember is that if you intend to give an engraved gift, you must check all the details are correct before the engraving is done. There are no return policies unless the engraver has made a mistake! Also, these things take time so you must plan in advance if you want to give this gift for a particular occasion.


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