This year, we may not have a chance to see many of our loved ones or get together with clients and colleagues for a celebratory outing. But for many of us, we’ve never needed human connections more. No matter how much time or money you can spare, you can learn how to make your gifts more personal with an extra detail or two.
Useful With a Twist
For many this year, cash is what they really need. If it’s not appropriate to send money, a strategic gift card can be just as welcome. Give it a festive spin by packaging it in a jar you know they can repurpose to organize the kitchen, or with their favorite candy in a tray they can use. Or, keep it light by framing the money in a frame with the message, “In case of emergency, break glass.” You can hint that you’re hoping that they don’t actually smash it by sending along a favorite picture they can frame instead.
If you’re stumped for a more traditional gift, you can expand on the photo idea in endless ways. We take so many photos these days that exist only on the cloud, Instagram, or Facebook. So, send them a tangible memory. Go through an old album to find a photo they may not have from their childhood. You can even have a photo book created close to the last minute, arranging the photos yourself, or filling spaces in the book automatically. A reminder of time you spent together may be the most meaningful of all.
You can double the meaning of your gift with gift wrap that doesn’t look like it came from an assembly line. A little creativity can make it stand out and add to the gesture. Customize craft wrapping paper with their names and drawings or include a Bible verse that means a lot to them. Attach a small additional gift on top like a dated ornament or piece of jewelry. If you put some thought into your gift, save a few minutes to wrap it with some personal flair.
If you’re sending a gift, you probably know this person well. Trade on that information with something special for you both. Get inspired by their hobbies, work needs, favorite entertainment, food, or a throwback guilty pleasure. Forget about a target price range, or the “wow” factor, and shoot for a gift unique to them. You can send a map, marking important places for them. You can put together a gift basket with several little things they’d love. You can make something yourself. You can even give them something to look forward to, like a certificate to a favorite weekend destination.
Use Your Words
Show them and tell them how you feel. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean emotional distancing if you spend a little time strategizing about how to make your gifts more personal. A card that says, “Thinking of you” is a nice sentiment. However, a specific memory, such as something like, “Remembering the time we narrowly escaped death skiing the bunny hill” will make them laugh, and “Missing your insights and hugs” may bring tears to their eyes. If writing isn’t your thing, include a date and time you’d like to call to catch up, or a scheduled Zoom call with your circle of friends. Send a bottle of wine or dessert you can share via video. There’s a chance that, this year, the holidays can make you closer than ever.