Holiday season is around us and so is gifting. All of us have been givers and receivers. We know how tough it is to choose a gift; how thoughtful we were while choosing the right gift and the compromises we made while making the choice. When we have been a receiver, we know how eager we were to unwrap the gift; the excitement when we liked the gift and the disappointment if it wasn’t to our liking. Gifting is complex!
What’s the right gift? Is it a gift voucher, a boquet of flowers, a book, a knickknack, cake, chocolates, dinner set, scented candle, a showpiece, pen, tie, a dress, a bottle of wine, jewellery or perfume? Seems a long list of choices! Should it be an item that is useful for the receiver or an experience such as a movie ticket, spa voucher, holiday coupon, night safari, wine tour or a guided tour of a tribal village or an ancient monument? Can it be a gift that I received from someone else and didn’t like much? The challenges are endless. So, the giver is in a state of quandary.
We gift someone because it’s customary and/or we want to express our emotions towards the other person. The gift must reflect our thoughts and association with the other person. In our e-world today, there are ways such as a video message or an e-mail that you can take to the e-life of the person. Of course, the traditional methods such as a letter, a greeting card, meeting in person are significant as well. We have seen, senior managers greeting their employees on their birthdays, anniversaries and the days of special achievements by sending them a pre-printed card and some gifts. I wonder if this serves the purpose of making the person feel special, honoured and gifted! Rather, a phone call or an email or a small celebration to commemorate the occasion can have a lasting impact on the employee as well as many others. I think, the tool or the method used to express our feelings towards the other person is important. That’s possibly more important than the gift per se. Deliver a lasting impact on the receiver of the gift by the way you deliver it!
Let’s now think of the gift which is supposed to express the giver’s feelings towards the person. Should it be an item that has utility value or should it be for decoration or should it be a medal or what? I think, the gift should be such that the receiver values it and it fits the context. Every receiver sees the value in a gift differently. For example, someone might value a dinner voucher in a 5-star hotel to be a great gift while someone might think it to be a wastage of money and time while a piece of jewellery of the same value could appear very valuable for the other. So, one needs to know the receiver well. In corporate gifting, this is not feasible always. Hence, the pragmatic approach is to create an experience of being special rather than emphasising much on the gift per se. Hence, the gift should be something that is valued by the recipient rather than what the giver thinks from her perspective.
Last but not the least, amongst several things that a recipient values, the giver could do well to choose the gift that stays long and fresh in the minds of the recipient. For example, flowers are beautiful; they look good while gifting and are very commonly used gift. However, it has a very limited shelf life; moreover, at times, the recipient has to travel a long distance after receiving the gift and hence, has no option but to leave them behind somewhere. So sad! Hence, it’s important that the gift is right for the context and has a life long enough to refresh the warmth of the feelings towards the recipient.
The complexity of gifting can become impactful. Go ahead and deliver the right impact!