How to Find the Perfect Gift
You know the feeling.
As you place a meticulously wrapped gift on a table filled with
other presents, you can't help but second-guess your choice.
"Will they really like it? Did I spend enough on it? I wonder
what's inside that one..."
The reason we give gifts--whether for weddings, birthdays,
retirements, or holidays--is beside the point. The best gifts
are those that let the recipient know you had no one else in
mind when you chose it.
By following a few simple guidelines, you can avoid any
second-guessing yourself the next time you shop for a special
Who are you shopping for?
Consider the recipients' ages, the hobbies they enjoy and their
profession when thinking about gifts.
If you're buying a gift for a close friend or relative you have
the advantage of knowing his or her interests and hobbies.
Depending on the occasion, this may be the perfect opportunity
to recognize a significant personal accomplishment he or she has
If you are shopping for someone outside your circle of close
family and friends anything too personal should be avoided.
Clothing and jewelry, for example, are items for which most
people have very particular tastes. In cases like this, a safe
bet is to "shop by occasion" for items that have been
established as appropriate for specific events.
What is the occasion?
Shopping by occasion can help you locate a great gift in a short
amount of time. As an example, let's say you are invited to join
in the celebration of a coworker's 15th wedding anniversary. You
are friendly with this person at work and have met his or her
spouse a few times in a social setting.
Some quick research on the Web might lead you to a short list of
today's most popular anniversary gifts, including:
* Clocks * Picture frames * Crystal items * Ice buckets *
Serving trays * Toasting flutes
Any of these items would make great gifts by themselves.
However, there is one additional step that can transform a great
gift into a one-of-a-kind gesture.
Is personalization needed?
When your search leads you to items like those listed above, the
opportunity for personalization is always available. Crystal and
glass can be etched, metals can be engraved--these days even
wood can be directly engraved with precision detail.
You've decided on a stunning set of crystal toasting flutes for
your coworker's celebration, and have opted to personalize the
gift. This leads to another important topic.
The Name Game
If you're not sure what verbiage to use when personalizing a
gift such as toasting flutes, you're not alone. Here are the
Initials: This can mean a first name initial, a last name
initial, or first and last name initials of equal size. Stay
away from using punctuation (periods) and suffixes (Jr., Sr.,
III, IV, MD, PhD, etc.).
Monograms: Traditional monograms are created with the
last name initial centered and larger than the other characters
around it. The "other characters" are either the first and
middle initials of an individual or the first initials of a
husband and wife.
For an individual named Theodore James Newton IV, a traditional
monogram would read as TNJ.
If Theodore James Newton IV is married to a woman named
Dori-Anne, their monogram would read as DNJ. Most often, the
woman's first name appears first (although there is no rule
keeping the man's name from appearing first).
Other traditional layouts include a diamond monogram, a panel
monogram, and the circle monogram, all of which are artistic in
Messages: The golden rule when writing an engraved
message: when in doubt, keep it simple. For example, "Happy 15th
Anniversary" may seem unimaginative but it stands the test of
Another engraving taboo is "signing" the message as if it were a
letter (i.e., "Love, Mom & Dad"). Save that sentiment for the
gift card that will accompany the item being personalized.
For birthdays and anniversaries, be sure to use the year the
gift is being presented and not the year the event took place.
The End Result
Taking all this into consideration, the crystal toasting flutes
for your coworker might read something like this:
Happy 15th Anniversary Anthony and Kim 3/11/06
The end result will be a gift that couldn't possibly be for
anyone else and won't leave you second-guessing your selection.
After giving such a good gift you should be prepared for
invitations to more events hosted by the happy couple!