How I Shop for Memorable Gifts

'… because I don’t want my gifts to have (a) sad ending.'

By: Aimee Morales | June 06, 2017
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I have received far too many t-shirts, mugs, towels, and picture frames in my lifetime that I have forgotten where most of them came from. While the gesture itself is always much appreciated, often these items end up being re-gifted or gathering dust in a corner of the house. After a few months, they are either thrown out or donated to charity.

how to shop for memorable gifts

People love receiving gifts that are well thought out, it makes them feel really special.

So because I don’t want my gifts to have this sad ending, I try to make it a point that the gifts I give out are well thought out. I don’t always succeed, especially when an occasion comes up unexpectedly, but I try. First of all, it feels good to know that the money and effort spent on the gift are worth it. And, more important, it is always a joy to make someone feel special about receiving something he or she actually wants.

I don’t believe in last-minute shopping, especially if it’s a gift for a special person. There needs to be time spent thinking about what he or she might like or need, what the person’s interests are, what would fit into one’s budget, and where to shop for the item that gives the best value for money. If you can’t give enough time for all these, then you could indeed end up settling for a t-shirt or a mug.

how to shop for memorable gifts

'I have lots of artistic friends who can make art for gifting; they take a photo, write a song or poem, or make a painting and have it framed—it’s the perfect gift!'

Some of the most awful gift-opening moments I have experienced are usually when I realize, upon seeing the content of the box, that the gift was obviously picked up without a thought. A magazine lying around the house, an old choker that the owner wanted to dispose of, giveaways with brand logos or corporate stamps, clothing that is off-season or oversized, or old food items about to go bad. Then I would think, not without guilt of course, that it was given just for the sake of having something to give.

Those who are into crafts or are artistically inclined will probably have no trouble making their own gifts. Song writers can compose (or perform) a song for someone special, poets can write a few lines of verse. Visual artists can paint a portrait of the receiver, and photographers can frame a photo of a friend, or something he or she might like to hang on the wall.

Since I am into necklace and bracelet design, I have found that working with a person’s birth gemstone or favorite color and incorporating these into the design of the jewelry is something that is always appreciated. There are some bead shops in the malls where you can get special gemstones for a bracelet, for example. You can even do a little online research as to the meaning and purpose of certain crystals or gemstones so you can work with something that would fit the intentions of the person you are making it for.

how to shop for memorable gifts

'There are various gift items that are fun to make. For example, I use my friend’s favorite colors to make a santosha necklace like this.' (Image: Writer)

Another creative way to give a personalized gift is to put together a goody bag of the person’s favorite things. For example, if your friend loves to write, prefers the color green, and is into handcrafted soaps, then you can purchase a lovely basket from Dapitan Arcade and fill it with soaps in two different scents, and probably have a nice scented candle to go with it for a lovely bath experience. You can include a green notebook and a green pen in the basket, and maybe a box of tea for when she would really be sitting down for some quiet writing time. It doesn’t take a lot to put together a gift package that your friend will always remember.

Speaking of memorable gifts, two of the most special ones I got were both collections of music/audio that I liked. On two occasions, a couple of friends created a playlist for me: one was a series of spoken poetry written by a favorite poet, and the second audio gift was a compilation of love songs by another favorite singer. They designed and printed out a personalized jacket for the CDs and I still have these gifts with me to this very day.

If you are really pressed for ideas, personalized items are always appreciated. For example, engraved pens, embroidered pillowcases, initialled towels, and printed shirts are just some of the most popular gift items. National Bookstore offers engraving on pens. Personalize It and the other custom gift kiosks in the malls are perfect destinations for personalized gifts. You can even make your own digital design or drawing and have it printed on a shirt, bag, or cap. The receiver will surely appreciate the fact that the giver took time and effort to find and create the perfect gift.

how to shop for memorable gifts

'Those who are into baking or cooking can prepare someone’s favorite dish to be given as a gift. I know I’d love this gesture. :)'

On my last birthday, I had a friend who went out of her way to prepare a special dish to bring to my birthday dinner. To me it was a wonderful gesture because she could have easily bought something from a store, but she chose to work on the dish for a few hours to come up with a gift that I and my guests would enjoy. Giving food items that you made yourself, or presenting something that the receiver really likes, is another way to make someone feel special. Cookies, breads, jams and preserves, pickles, pastries, or cakes make great gifts.

Whenever you are out of the country or out of town, go through the shops to see if something strikes you as a perfect gift for a loved one. You can keep it and wait until Christmas or his/her birthday before presenting your gift. It will be really special not only because it came from a place far away, but more because you were thinking about the receiver while away on your trip—who wouldn’t be touched by the gesture?

The next time you find yourself reaching out for an unimaginative gift, stop. Think about the person you are giving the gift to and try to get something that he or she would really like. You don’t always need a lot of money to buy something that is truly memorable. If your budget is tight, a little imagination would go a long way.

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About Aimee Morales
Aimee Morales is a freelance writer and editor. She is the founder of FLOW, a small community of writers who write for healing and inspiration. She started the Freelance Writers' Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) in 2010 and served as its president until September 2020. Balangay Productions published her first book, “Why Mandaya Teens Have Sharp Black Teeth” in 2015. Five years later in 2020, she published her second book (an eBook) titled, “Alignment: Lessons on Writing”. Aimee is a single mother, tai chi and eskrima practitioner, and creator of the #santoshaproject - a personal effort to encourage more people to incorporate the Santosha gratitude practice into their daily lives.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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