The Present Environment
When you cast your mind back to the Perfect Present, the Past Present or the Present Perfect Continuous tenses in your English classes and all you can think of is the perfect present that was given to you in that fabulous corporate gift or from your friends on a very important occasion, you know you have forgotten all the grammar you learnt and are rather more absorbed in the art of present giving or receiving.
In today’s mass-market, internet-controlled world, the art of present giving has lost much of its personalisation, and yet surely both the joy of giving and of receiving gifts that have been personalised to make you feel special, is what it should be all about.
Present Giving 101! Let’s go Back to Basics; the Etiquette of Giving.
The ideal gift is one that someone has given a lot of thought to, makes you feel important and pampered and, more to the point, that personifies you, your quirks and your likes. Imagine if you could post an emoji on that the gift you just received. Like, unhappy, cross, impersonal or worst, the dreaded indifference. Rather how much nicer to post ones that say: it touched my heart, it made me feel special, how clever, wow that was just for me!
Remember that the key here is the individualisation of the gift – for instance luggage is personalised, advice is personalised. It is not mass or common. A teddy bear that has a heart on it made in some mass produced factory is fine – but how much better would it be to have a teddy bear made for you that had your name on it and a label saying this was handmade for you especially by Mary.
Time of Course is the Main Culprit in Giving that very Personal Gift
Christmas, birthdays, and other special gift giving occasions like weddings, Christenings, anniversaries, and 21st birthday celebrations, sneak up upon us so quickly that we simply rush off to the nearest shop and purchase that not-so-perfect present. You see it in the business environment as well as amongst friends and family. Those useless mass market calendars, cheap smelly soaps, gimmicky desk organisers, bottles of cheap wine that have unrecognised labels that you store away for the casserole and would never pass on. No real thought goes into these indifferent, impersonal gifts and it is obvious that they were purchased at the last minute. How many of us have a bottom drawer for bad presents – and they are kept for just in case you are able to give them away, albeit reluctantly, to a not-so-close friend or colleague? Yes, we all do. How many times have you passed on that not-so-good looking bottle of wine you got when you hosted a dinner party and inevitably the new recipient says “I am going to open this wine especially for you, seeing that you kindly brought it!” Yikes! Caught red-handed giving someone something they did not want. If you don’t like it, you can rest assured your recipient won’t either. So don’t give presents that make you feel bad. Rather put some thought into the gift you want to give, big or small and feel good about yourself. Want to give a good personal present? Plan ahead and make it match the recipient’s character, the reason for the celebration or activity, and the particular space or mood that person is in. Think of that emoji he or she might post!
Gift Giving is an Important Tool in The Corporate World
Whether it is for a friend, or for your serious customers, remember the more personalised it is the more you are able to establish a relationship, to be remembered, to be top of mind and to create a partnership with those valued associates. Good, cost-effective, marketing tools should utilise corporate gifting as part of the program. The key is to recognise your target market and the activities that they appreciate in order to affirm and enhance the personal connection between giver and receiver. No, they don’t want a mug with your logo on it, they want a mug with their name on it. I had a mug at work with my name on it, nobody dared touch it. It was made for me by a woman I did not know personally, I knew her husband who was a business associate. What a fantastic present! Simple but effective – it was for me, no-one else.
Some of My Best Personal Gifts Received Over the Years
- Homemade liqueur made from cumquats which were grown in the giver’s garden.
- A case of wine for my 30th birthday party with my name on the label and of course a payoff line that said something about “wine ages well, like you should!” I still have a bottle left and it will be opened only on a special occasion. (Hope it has not gone off! Or that I haven’t.)
- A clay pot made on the wheel by a friend who said it had started off as a platter but ended up being a small olive bowl. It had my name on it and her name on the back.
- A corporate gift from a big airline which I used on my business travels to and from the east. It was a personalised apron and an invitation to attend a top cookery class on one of the most famous wine estates in the country. We picked grapes, stomped on grapes and learnt lots of fab culinary tricks whilst sipping glorious wine. I still have that apron and it makes me feel very special wearing it.
- Gift cards that were designed and painted by my arty friend. I don’t like using them because I treasure them too much.
- On leaving a job I was given a montage of photos of the office friends and colleagues I worked with and each one of those people wrote a personalised note to me on the label underneath the photo. They had personalised the gift or memento in such a way that it still makes me think back on them and remember what fun times we had together.
Present Creative rather than Past Present
There are hundreds of ways of making your gift more personal and therefore more special – just search some creative sights on the internet for more ideas. Remember that giving cash to someone is a no-no. It will give a bad miserable emoji – not enough time to think your present through and not enough creativity to come up with something special and personal in that gift, is not good enough.