It’s the Thought That Counts

 My wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life and one heck of a party. We were leaving for our honeymoon at four the next morning, so by the time we got home, we had just enough time to get cleaned up and open the gifts. Between the bridal showers and the wedding, we received lots of gifts. There was one gift, however, that stood out from the rest. It was a handmade photo album, covered with thick batting and a bright blue fabric with teeny tiny flowers, trimmed in electric blue lace, with a heart cut out on the cover (also trimmed with the lace) just waiting for my brand new wedding picture. The first question I asked my new husband was “who are these people?” The next was “are we ever going to see them?” And finally “should I throw it away or put it in the backyard to scare away the rodents?”

   Now, it’s not that it wasn’t a thoughtful gift. To the contrary, it was very thoughtful because, as we all know, you can never have too many handmade, plush, electric blue, floral, laced-trimmed photo albums. I also know that the giver went to a lot of effort, spent a lot of time, and used a case of glue to make it. However, sad to say, it was not the most practical, or useful, or tasteful gift.  

   I am not relating this anecdote to embarrass anyone but, at one time or another, all of us have given somebody something that ended up in the recycling bin the very next day—me included. So since the fear of giving and receiving unwanted gifts is soon to be on everyone’s mind, this month we will discuss how to NestPretty with gift giving. For example, how do you become a good gift giver? What should you give as a gift to a host when you are invited over for a meal? How can you simplify wrapping? What are my top ten go-to gifts for all occasions? These questions will be answered throughout the month of November.

   So first up—let’s talk about how to become a good gift giver. Here are a few practical suggestions that have helped me over the years to improve this skill.

Give to yourself:

  • Practice giving. Being a good gift giver doesn’t come naturally to most people; it’s more of a learned behavior, so it requires practice. And there’s no better person to practice on than yourself. When was the last time you gave yourself a gift? This does not mean that if you like the gift you bought yourself you should buy your friend the same gift. That Squatty Potty that you’re just crazy about may not be appreciated by your dear friend. Instead, it could end up squatting in the recycling bin. So you need to:


  • Analyze your reasons for loving or hating the gift you gave to yourself. If you loved it, why did you love it? Was it practical, useful, beautiful? If you took it back to the store the next day, why? Was it too expensive? Too cheap? Not practical? Ugly? Cheesy? This will help you when you go to shop for someone else. By analyzing your reasons for liking the gift you gave to yourself, you will be prepared to look for the same quality, usefulness, practicality, or beauty for your friend.
  • The best gift I gave to myself this year was this Kit of Essential Oils which entitles me to 24% off the catalog and easy ways to earn free products a.k.a.  Useful, easy, thoughtful, healthful, fabulous gifts!

Meditate, organize, and take time:

  • Meditate on the person you want to give to. Hopefully, you know enough about them to know what they like—their hobbies, interests, or needs. It could be music, movies, food, books, candles, wine, scotch, sports, cars, boats, or electronics. For example, if they like to cook, you could get them a kitchen gadget or a unique or rare spice. Think and meditate on what you think they would like.


  • Organize yourself and your schedule so that you’re not meditating on your way to the mall. I realize that, at times, things happen all at once and you find yourself running through the mall like a one-legged man in a cockroach-stomping contest. But good organization will help you keep last minute shopping trips a rare occurrence. Planning ahead gives you a better chance of getting a gift your friend will love, and it will also help you enjoy the experience that much more. So take the stress out of gift-giving by being organized.


  • Take the time to do it right. It takes time to meditate and get organized, but it is so worth it. If time is money in business, then time is love in gift giving. Show your friends and family you love them by putting your precious time into their gift.

   So if you want to learn to become a good gift giver, practice by giving to yourself and analyze why you love it. Then let those reasons guide you as you meditate on your friend, organize your schedule, and take the time to do it right. Then maybe, just maybe, instead of a handmade, plush, electric blue, floral, laced-trimmed photo album, your friend will receive a gift that they can use and love—and appreciate and love the one who gave it even more.

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