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I'll be honest with you guys, I kinda wish I was the sort of person who could grab a giftcard, stick it in an envelope, biro a name across the front and call it a present. I kinda wish I wasn't the sort of person who decides to handmake all of her christmas presents (for an extensive family btw) with a three month old and an impending cross country move. But two Christmasses ago, you would have found me under the tree, filling jars, stamping cards, painting pottery and making chocolates.
And let me tell you, the effort truly goes unnoticed (in my family at least). And really, I think most of them think I do it because I am cheap (my visa bill from the craft store begs to differ, but whatever)
And this got me thinking, about how to make an appreciated gesture, what the perfect ingredients are for the perfect gift. I came up with this dichotomy:
You will forgive the non-sensical entirely unscientific doodle-agram I hope, but the basic premise is the three elements: Money, Time and Effort - and I think a good gift incorporates at least two of these factors.
See, putting cash in a card fulfills the money aspect, but requires no thought or effort. A gift voucher generally falls under the same category. But say, your friend has just had a baby, you know she is inundated with teeny tiny sized clothes in varying pastel colours and you don't want to contribute to the pile of "thanks but he'll never wear that" - you can supe up your giftcard with an offer to drive her to the store and take care of the little one while she picks something she loves or actually needs. With no extra effort than if you went to the shops to buy something yourself, you have the money input, plus the thoughtful factor and therefore have a great gift.
And of course, with thought and effort you are not required to ease your guilt at crappy gift giving by spending the big money. So when your grandparents are celebrating their 40th anniversary, instead of splashing out on ruby coloured stemware, you could bake a cake inspired by the one they cut on their big day all those years ago.
Which, in a round about way, brings me to a little series I am doing. For a couple of weeks I will be featuring gifts and projects that need a little effort and thought require even less monetary input from you, and are always sure to delight.
So friends, let me know what are your favouritest gifts recieved? What do you think are the key ingredients for a great gift? Oh, and for your inspiration, some budget friendly ideas from the archives: