Have you ever been wowed by a Christmas (or birthday or wedding) gift you’ve received?
If you’re in touch with your gratitude, you probably realize that you’re lucky to get gifts at all. But there have probably been one or two times in your life when you’ve been in love with a gift you’ve received. What sets those gifts apart from the more humdrum ones?
Here are what I consider to be the five characteristics of the great gifts we receive:
1. Thoughtful – The best gifts tend to take a lot of time and research. A gift recipient should be able to detect that you listened well to their needs or thought hard about their desires before purchasing.
2. Unique – Time-bound, specific, hard-to-find things—from antiques to the newest products—will always be popular. They have an element of rarity that makes a gift more valuable. This is not the sort of thing that someone would be liable to find on their own.
3. Surprising – If there is no element of surprise, there is little excitement. The best gifts should surprise recipients in their nature, their timing, their size, or all of the above.
4. Useful – Beyond just enabling consumption, your gift should make the recipient better in some way. A useful gift will be one that plays a bigger and more frequent part in your recipient’s life.
5. Meaningful – The best gifts are tied to memorable moments, occasions, life stages, initiations, etc. Using your gift should remind the person of a deeper inner or human connection. Those connections will give the gift greater significance and staying power.