The Art of Gift Giving

Vegan Christmas Presents

I love giving presents. Growing up I was always the one in our family who was asked to wrap everyone's gifts for them. I liked wrapping presents, curling the ribbon, tying bows and adding decorations of cinnamon sticks or little twigs. With over twenty years experience working as stylist, personal shopping is second nature and finally I have the art of gift giving down to a fine science. Of course we all love getting a gift, but we love even more getting a gift that we love. Just think of all the times you've hidden your slight disappointment and wondered what were they thinking - do they know me at all?
gift, box, bedside table, Matthew Henry
So how do you find the perfect gift for someone?
The first question is - Why do you want to give them a gift? Are you giving someone a gift because it's Christmas or Chanukah and you're supposed to give them something? We often give a gift for the sake of the holiday and sometimes that's a good reason -but usually there's a deeper reason. We want to thank a colleague, express gratitude, or show someone we care.

The next step is to give a gift that means something to the recipient. 
If you have been listening to little clues thought the year you're ahead of the game and you're on the right track to find that perfect gift. Remember it's not about how much you spend, but what you spend it on. Thoughtfulness matters. Did your friend or colleague mention that they loved the mint tea they had on their trip to Morocco a few years ago? Do they talk about the need to relax - maybe a scented candle or some body butter might do the trick. Are they complaining of being a bit chilli - so maybe a scarf, thick hand knitted socks or a comfort blanket could keep them cosy. Do they wear statement earrings on every zoom call? In day to day life we all mention things that would make our life better, easier. Keeping listening - we are giving clues all the time.
gift, roses, ribbon
Every now and then I want to buy a present for someone I don't know very well - it's usually to do with work or business so I have trusted gifts that I love to give people and these same gifts I also buy for those who are quite precious to me. Buying vegan and sustainable gifts is a given for me, and one of my favourite items is scented vegan candles as they are luxurious and practical. I also like giving scarves. I think about what colour and texture would look good on that person so even though it's a practical gift the choice of colour and fabric isn't generic. I want that scarf to be their favourite scarf!

Zoom meetings can give you a lot of insight to someone's style and often a sneaky peek into their home. One of my favourite gifts to give people is jewellery - when in doubt I go with a simple beautiful chain. If you've had the opportunity to note their style choose a piece that is their style - not yours.

How do you actually give someone the gift? Does it matter?
Yes, how the gift is given, how it's presented is just as important as what's in the box - remember the sentiment is an essential part of the art of gift giving. Is the gift a surprise to be given over lunch, is it something to open in the morning or found under a tree? Did you ever receive a big box only to open another box, and then another smaller box, only to find another small box to open? The curiosity! Oh the joy! How a present is wrapped expresses the occasion and even your feelings but it's not just about the wrapping. How the gift is given is part of gift. It's all in the gesture. Is it given with hesitation or even a bit of embarrassment, or pure joy. Take a moment before you give a gift to think of how you are giving it. The act of giving is so powerful and the recipient can take away so much more then just their 'gift'. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture but gift is a gift!

Samantha Hurley, gift, love

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