Most people love the holidays and giving and receiving gifts. Some gifts are easy to determine, depending upon the person and the relationship, but some are more challenging. How can you be sure your gift is the right gift at the right time and conveys the right message? Here are three important things to consider before you make that special purchase:
1. Consider the Person and the Relationship
There is added pressure to give during the holidays. Even when you are just getting to know someone, you may feel uncertain if a gift (and what kind of gift) is appropriate. If you know someone very well, you will likely have a good idea whether a gift is appropriate or not. But if you have only known someone a short time, this can be a bit tricky. Let’s say your relationship is relatively new or perhaps you have been dating for a few months. Would it be wise to buy an expensive gift even if affordability is not an issue? It can be tempting, but such a gift can send the wrong message too early in a relationship. Your date may feel you are trying too hard to “buy” their affection or approval, or they may feel awkward or pressured if they are not feeling the same level of attraction or attachment yet for your budding relationship. The best rule of thumb on timing is this: if a gift can be misinterpreted, if it might overwhelm or cause any level of unease, take a more conservative approach. Go for the thoughtful gift over the extravagant gift until you have a chance to become comfortable with one another.
2. Never Give to Get
At times in relationships there can be a desire to move the relationship forward regardless of whether your partner is ready for the same. In other cases, one partner can become attached to a fantasy version of the relationship. In cases like these, there is often a temptation to give in order to receive. “I would never do that!” you may protest. Is that even possible? Yes, it is, and unfortunately it happens often in new relationships. Perhaps not always consciously, but it happens. Especially when one party is looking for a response or an outcome from the gift. Sure, a gift by definition is for the giving, but if the underlying motivation for the gift is to gain favor with the recipient, you are giving to receive. If you are hoping your gift will make that special someone have more love or gratitude for you, or you are seeking validation or forgiveness, then you are giving to receive, at least in part. The best gifts are given freely with the satisfaction that they will bring joy to the one we care about.
3. Does the gift send the right message
Like it or not, everything we say and do sends a message. This is especially true of gifts. We have all received a gift in our life that left us scratching our head thinking “what the heck possessed this person to buy this?” or perhaps a feeling that the gift was actually intended for another. A great gift sends a message to the one you love that you understand who they are and what is important to them. The best gifts demonstrate thoughtfulness and caring. Your gift may or may not have a high price tag (be appropriate here), but regardless it should always convey you took the time to consider what they will truly enjoy. Consider if your gift will be a good fit (figuratively and literally) and be cherished and appreciated. It really is the thought (and care involved) that counts. Sometimes you will want to be extravagant and sometimes more conservative in your gift giving approach based upon timing, circumstances and occasions, but if the gift is thoughtful and given with love it will convey the right message.
We wish you happy holidays in the coming weeks and the best of luck (and consideration!) in your gifting! We would love to hear about the best gift you have given or received and why. Please share your experiences with our readers below.