I did some really bad math and realized approx. 12 people in our 30-person marketing department have April birthdays.
Pretty cool month, if you ask me.
Here’s the thing about birthdays, though: Depending on how well you know a person, you might have to get them a gift.
Some people are really, really good at this. Others are very, very bad. There’s a small chance you fall somewhere in the middle, but at this juncture of our lives, you’ve likely formed a habit on one end of the spectrum.
What makes a good gift-giver? Someone who actually thinks about the person they’re buying for. What are their favorites? How do they spend their free time? What kind of things are currently going down in their lives?
Bad gift-givers think the simple act of spending money is thoughtful. Doesn’t matter what they buy, as long as they can put a bow on top and hand it over with a smile.
This is super lame and they’d be better off not buying anything at all. There’s a glaring lack of sentiment that ends up making everyone feel icky and unloved.
More often than not, this half-assed purchase is a gift card.
This doesn’t mean all gift cards are bad. Sometimes people ask for them. In those cases, good for you for listening!
Other times, they’re purchased with a very specific use in mind. Like a gift card to Target because you know they’ve been pining over a bookshelf they spotted while roaming the aisles last weekend.
Or a few bucks to the spa because they’ve never had a facial and they sound nice and grown-up and again, good for you for listening!
But if you’re buying a gift card because you can’t think of anything else to get them, try harder.
If you know them well enough to get them a gift, this shouldn’t be that hard. And if it is that hard, you may not know them as well as you think. And in that case, a gift wouldn’t be necessary.
See how this all works out?
Now, if you do know them well and are still struggling to come up with something, I have a few ideas. They’re not phenomenal or ground-breaking, by any means. But they should help spark somethin’.
Remember when I suggested you focus on something big they may have going on? This is exactly what I was referring to. Are they going on a trip overseas? Running a half marathon? Or maybe a baby is on the way! Put together a bag of odds and ends that could come in handy.
My amazing friend Falco put together this care package to help me prep for the dumbest decision of my life: running 13.1 miles for absolutely no reason. I actually cried. Not because of the race (though that was miserable), but because the thought alone meant so much! And the Gatorade chews were delicious.
Something that reminds you of them
Depending on what you come up with, this has the potential to come across as more thoughtful than the care package. No easy feat.
In high school, this meant a mix CD full of songs you’d sing together or lyrics speaking directly to their heart (or maybe the lead singer was super hot and you knew they’d appreciate that, too).
Today, it could be a cookbook from their fave celeb, a necklace that’s totally them, OR a framed pic of you two from forever ago. Because who doesn’t love looking back at their young, unwrinkled foreheads perfectly situated above bagless eyes shining like those tan, toned arms and this could be an existential crisis, I’m not sure.
THE POINT IS, these gifts are actually easier than you’d think. In fact, they could be right under your nose when you least expect ’em. Seize those opportunities! You don’t have to ship it their way right then and there. Just keep it as a backup for their next birthday or Christmas shindig.
This is different from whatever you include in the care package. This is pure, unadulterated nourishment gifted only to sate the person’s most unrelenting cravings. This could mean swinging through Chipotle to compose their favorite bowl or simply ducking into Walmart to grab a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. (But if it isn’t character-shaped, don’t even bother.)
Like the item that reminds you of them, this is a very personal gesture. It proves you know their tastes.
Is it 100 degrees on a Wednesday in July? Maybe they talked your ear off about a crummy day at work? You’re gonna deliver a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, no questions asked. Is their birthday on a Friday during Lent? The macaroni is a must!
Just think about the fare over which you’ve bonded. It’s always a safe play.
Something you can love, too
These are my favorite, because not only do they make the recipient happy, but also strengthen your relationship in the process.
I have no idea who loved this gift (from me to Drew) more. There was no way I would buy these for myself. That’s just selfish! Instead, I purchased them for him, knowing he’d enjoy them just as much, and we both won.
Another time this sentiment comes in especially handy: concert tickets. If you both love an artist coming to town, pull the trigger. Experiences are always better than things anyway.
Are those helpful? Terrible? Are you wondering why I’m still typing?
Actually, this could be my longest post to date—hopefully not for nothing. If you have a solid gift idea to add to this list, please comment below! We all know someone with a birthday coming up, so any tips would be greatly appreciated.
If not, I hope my meager list above serves a purpose. Maybe not right away, but like those special somethings, you can always tuck it away until the time is right.
Title Credit: Angus & Julia Stone