Special Gifts

Written by Linda Alexander
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Most people struggle with finding the right gifts for special occasions. It's not for a lack of sensitivity or understanding. Gift giving brings with it a fear of rejection. You want to get the person the perfect gift, the one that will put a smile on the recipient's face and light up his or her eyes. You fear that flash of disappointment in the person's expression before he or she tells you, "No, honey, I really do like it. . .really."

If you're lacking the gene that allows you to buy the perfect gift for every occasion, take heart. It's a gift itself that most people don't possess. Purchasing the right gift involves foresight, listening, understanding, and a knack for shopping in the right places.

I know people who have their Christmas shopping finished in July. Similarly, I know people who aren't finished yet the day after Christmas. If you're waiting for the perfect inspiration to strike you then you will probably be waiting a long time. You need to pay attention to detail a few weeks or months before the special occasion.

The Simple Approach: Ask

The easiest way to find out what somebody would like for his or her occasions is to ask. Many people will tell you straight out. If you're not involved with people who are that open, then listen carefully to what they say or do in the weeks before the occasion occurs. Chances are, you'll pick up on subtle hints. If not, you will still learn a lot about the person by listening carefully to their conversations with you. You will find out about their likes and dislikes and perhaps get some ideas.

Another misconception gift givers have is that shopping in the mall is the answer to their prayers. Most malls have the same old stuff in different stores. Shopping on the Web, you have access to thousands more ideas and unique presents. Some are every day items that you can give as gifts, while others fall into the "gift" category and were created specifically for handing to other people on special occasions.

Getting somebody a gift that they will like is usually enough. Things that are useful strike a chord with practical people, while more lighthearted types like gifts that they would never buy for themselves because they're frivolous. Other times, you really want something unique and unusual so that it will stand out from the other gifts the person receives. Or you might want to do it because you care and want to do something truly special.

The Sentimental Approach: Do it with Feeling

Sharing your feelings through a gift tells your recipient how much you care. For example, the gift you give can tell your children how proud you are of them upon graduation. A gift can express how much you love your sweetheart or how glad you are to be with your spouse through the years. It doesn't have to be a special occasion. Gifts can say you're sorry or that you hope a person in the hospital gets well soon.

Timeless gifts are classics that never go out of style. Gifts the recipients can keep for years to come will continuously remind them of you, their special days, their accomplishments, and their relationships with you. When choosing to go this route, remember to get a gift that is pleasing to the eye and long-lasting so it does not get tossed away after a few days like flowers do. A gift from your heart, expressing your true feelings is something your recipient is likely to hold on to and look at, use, or re-read many times in the years ahead.

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