6 Suggestions for Successful Gift Giving


Giving gifts is a way to show you care. It is a love language we all can speak and understand. As much as I love receiving gifts, I feel there is greater joy in giving. When I see the faces of the people light up as they are opening my gifts, it makes me truly happy. Their excitement is uplifting and infectious.

My favorite story of gift-giving is O Henry’s Gift of The Magi. The two main characters are poor financially but rich in love and they sacrifice what is dearest to them to buy gifts for each other. Delia sells her hair to buy Jim a platinum pocket watch chain and Jim sells his watch to buy ornamental comb clips for her hair. Sadly, the irony is that their gifts cannot be used, but the story encapsulates all the beautiful emotions that should exist behind giving presents.

Kahlil Gibran, a sensitive and sagacious Lebanese American writer, and poet insightfully says,

There are those who give little of the much which they have—and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty. There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

Here are six tips that can help you when you are thinking about giving gifts.

Pay attention to what they like

Giving gifts is not about you, it’s about the person for whom you are buying the gift. You should pay attention to their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and interests. In the absence of a wishlist, consider what you can get them that will be something they want.

If someone likes to cook, you can get them cookbooks and cooking utensils. If someone likes art, you can get them art supplies. If someone loves to shop at Target, give them a gift card to that store. My son’s friend likes to crochet, and he got her a bunch of yarn, which will always be useful.

Think back to conversations where they might have mentioned what they wished they had. A friend of mine complimented the candles I had in my house, and I gifted her those from Amazon. She was ecstatic when one fine day, out of the blue, she saw the shipment at her door!

Get creative/Give handmade gifts

Taking the time to make a handmade gift or a memento is priceless. I always thought I was not crafty enough to make a gift myself, but I have realized that it is more about the gesture; that you took the time and made the effort rather than if the product you made is perfect or not.

Homemade chocolates, cookies, cakes, and snacks can brighten a friend’s day. My children always made me customized chocolates by melting chocolate and then adding almonds in abundance, which are my favorite. The fact that they remembered I love chocolate with almonds filled me with delight. They also made me a coupon-filled jar, and each coupon had some gift like a chore they could do, or I could get a foot massage! 

A family friend knitted a blanket for my son when he was younger and to this day it is his favorite blanket since he knows Nana made it by hand, even though she was not in the best of health. A friend of mine always makes scrapbooks and photo albums for her family after they visit in order to commemorate the memories. She also made a fantastic family tree for her family members. 

My nineteen-year-old son, who is at college, is working on making a spice rack for me from wood. He is also going to program it so that the spice tray will revolve and stop at the spice I ask for verbally. I am so touched by his gesture and waiting to see how that will turn out. I will treasure his gift regardless of whether he is able to program it to perfection or not. It really is the thought that matters.

Presentation and delivery matter

Presentation is like icing on the cake. Gifts that are wonderfully wrapped make you feel loved and appreciated. Handwritten notes are heartwarming. Even if you are giving cash or a gift card, you can put it in a box and wrap it with beautiful paper and tie it with some shiny ribbons and bows.

One Christmas, we gifted a phone to my then fourteen-year-old son. He was not expecting it as we had told him he would have to wait another year to get a phone. Right as he was about to open the wrapping paper from his gift, my husband, who had already set up the new phone, called his phone and it started ringing from inside the box. As soon as my son heard the ringtone, he immediately understood he was getting a phone, and he was so thrilled! I still remember his precious smile.

Give gifts that keep on giving

Gifts that keep on giving are those which can be enjoyed for a very long time. My husband loves to give me perennial plants, which grow and flower and come back every year. If you give someone a fruit tree, they will enjoy the delicious fruits for years to come. Other examples include certificates of deposit that grow annually, yearlong zoo or museum family passes, Netflix subscriptions, a Kindle Fire to read books, a laptop to do homework, and so on.

Is regifting a cardinal sin? 

The answer to this question is debatable. Regifting definitely defeats the purpose, as you are not taking the time to buy a gift, and you are just recycling what you got and hurting the sentiments of the person who gave you the gift originally.

However, if you have gifts lying around that you do not like or use and are unable to exchange, I see nothing wrong with paying it forward and gifting it to someone who will use it and appreciate it. The thing to be careful about is that you cannot give it to a common friend, you can only give it to someone who does not know the person who gifted it to you, so the original gift giver never finds out it was regifted. However, do what’s best for you. If you think regifting should not be done and you will feel guilty about it, don’t do it.

Gift Experiences

Instead of giving a regular gift, you can also give people experiences. Who does not love a gift card to the spa to get a facial or a body massage? I love it when people give me experiences, especially when I would have never taken time to try those particular experiences otherwise. Examples include travel vacations, concert tickets, Broadway tickets, paint and pour, wine tasting day trips, a yoga class, a pottery class, rock climbing, horse riding, and so on.

With the holiday season around the corner, a time of giving and generosity, I am excited to buy gifts for my near and dear ones and I look forward to spreading some cheer on Christmas and beyond. I completely agree with Maya Angelou who said, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” 

What tips do you have for gift giving?

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Growing up in a small town in India, Mona Verma never dreamed that she would immigrate to America. She came to Columbia in 1996 when her husband found a job here and they were newly married. It was an arranged match but she did get to meet her future husband and give her approval and there has never been a shortage of love in their marriage. With a Masters in English and a Masters in Library and Information Science, Mona divides her time between being a part time Reference librarian and a part time writer. She is however, a full time mom to three teenagers, a girl and two boys. Volunteering, gardening, reading, binge watching her favorite TV shows and drinking wine with girlfriends spark tremendous joy in her. She is a very laid back person who likes to live and let live. Cups of hot ginger tea and hugs and cuddles from her family keep her going….


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