Gifting is my Love Language; I take great pride in a thoughtful gift. I always want to make sure that any gift that I give is memorable. Did it touch their heart? That doesn’t mean that I don’t give gifts that are material items. It just means that I’m trying to think about what they would like for themselves and may not splurge on. Or maybe it is more sentimental if that’s the type of person that I’m gifting. Not everyone is good at gifting. It requires intentionality and thought.

Time for a funny story. A few years ago, it was around Christmas and my little sister was chatting with my older sister. She was heading to Costco, so our little sister asked her to pick up some dishwasher tabs while she was there. My older sister decided to wrap the dishwasher tabs up as a Christmas gift. Needless to say, the gift did not go well. Now I know what you’re thinking, Kam, some people just aren’t good at gifting. That’s OK. But there are some serious doubts that I think we should all be conscious of when we’re gifting.

Here is my list of dos and don’ts when you think about buying a gift for someone:

  1. Any gift bought at the pharmacy does not count. This applies all year. So no, do not pick up those chocolates at CVS for Valentine’s Day. Make your way to a Max Brenner or Godiva store and find something nice. Now you may be thinking, Kam, I buy my gift cards at the pharmacy. In that case, see point 2.
  2. No gift cards. In my world, a gift card is a cop out. It’s basically telling someone that I didn’t want to take the time and effort to think about what would really impact you. Now I get it that there are times when we do give gift cards to a favorite store, but an actual gift is always nicer.
  3. A bottle of liquor does not count either. When we do our Secret Santa at ITBD, we have a strict rule, no gift cards or liqour. Now you may be thinking, what if we have a brandy connoisseur. Buy him/her an engraved snifter set.
  4. Always include a card. This is the ONLY thing you can buy at the Pharmacy, but make sure you take time and effort to actually read it. I have kept every one of the cards Sunny has bought me over the past 24 years. He knows how much they mean to me, and always writes a touching message inside. I will sometimes open up the cards now and read through them again – oh the journey we’ve had.
  5. I’m not a big fan of flowers. I think they are pretty for a few days, then they die – and have you seen how much they cost now? Phew! I’d rather spend that money on something that will last longer.

I know, you are probably thinking, Kam, you have given us your list of don’ts, but what about our list of how to be a better gifter. Let’s go!

  1. Do your research, if you are gifting something to a friend, you should know what kind of things they like to do. I have one friend who loves scarves. She has so many of them and she is always wearing a different one. So, when I traveled to France last year, I picked her up a scarf at the Palace of Versailles.
  2. Sometimes you have to gift people you don’t know well – don’t be afraid to ask for help. For example, we were buying some gifts for our team in the Philippines. Now I don’t know every single individual in that team. But Rency from my team does. So, I called her up and started to ask her questions about each of these individuals. What are their likes or dislikes? How old are they? Do they have a family? What do they do in their spare time? This really helped me in trying to figure out what would be a good gift.
  3. Always listen. I was on a call to do a recording with our podcast manager a few weeks ago, and he mentioned that it was one of his dreams for him and his wife to go to Peru. I had recently traveled there, so I had bought some memorabilia back with me. When Sunny went to the Philippines for our annual party, I bought James a wallet to save up for his trip and included some items from Peru to keep him focused on his dream.
  4. When gifting for your team, an easy way to figure out what to get for someone is by looking at their life plan. This is a document that we have created that employees fill out with their goals are for their personal, professional, health, and personal legacy for the next year, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years. It’s your life roadmap. You can often learn a lot about a person from their life plans. (if you would like a copy, message me, we would be happy to share). When I was reviewing Rency’s life plan, I saw on it that she wanted to be able to download more books and invest in her professional growth. So, for Christmas I bought her a Kindle with all the trimmings. She can now download all the books she would like.

As the holidays are upon us, I hope many of you leaders are also thinking about what you will be gifting your team members. You see, even though the organization may be providing corporate bonuses, it’s your responsibility as a leader to also think about how you can make your core group feel appreciated. A simple way to do that is to think about a thoughtful Christmas gift. Just thinking about what’s important to them, and giving them something extra special, from you personally goes a long way.

Hope these tips help. For the men reading this article, this is also useful advice for a long and lasting marriage. Happy Gifting everyone 😊 !


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