Once upon a time, in a world where people enjoyed giving and receiving presents, a boy was sitting in his room feeling very upset. He couldn’t quite understand the concept of gifts, and was worried that the ones he had prepared for an upcoming family celebration weren’t any good.
Luckily, his grandmother was there to console him during this unusually distressing moment, and, upon hearing the reasons for his sadness, walked out of the room and came back with a beautiful, leather-bound book. The book was titled, The Subtle Art of Gifts and, once she had encouraged her grandson to enjoy the scent and feel of the book, she left him alone to appreciate the wisdom that the book had to offer.
The Subtle Art of Gifts
Chapter 1 – Know Thy Gift
The very first thing you must consider when providing a gift is to know who or what the recipient loves. This is vital, as you can easily fall into the trap of buying a present that you love more than the recipient. This can be avoided by paying attention to what the recipient says and does throughout the year and keeping the things you notice in a special notebook. This will also ease the stress as the time to present the gift closes in.
Chapter 2 – Considerations on Handmade Gifts
It is important to note that handmade gifts, while significantly more meaningful than many other gifts, can be very costly in terms of time and finances. It is essential that you commence creating your gift well before the date it is to be presented to the recipient.
As a side note, creating a handmade gift is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have. This does not mean, however, that it is not without its negatives.
Firstly, it is with regret that I inform you that the recipients’ gushing may very well be faked. Under no circumstances should this be taken personally. It is simply a matter of fact that, when placed under social pressure, the recipient will over exaggerate their feelings to avoid any form of conflict. Given this fact, it should be noted that the larger the celebration, the more dramatised the emotions will become.
The second problem can lie in the hearts of the other guests around you, as they succumb to the natural feeling that their gifts now pale in comparison to your wonderful, handmade masterpiece. Neither of these facts should deter you from creating a handmade present for the very reasons outlined above.
Chapter 3 – Presenting Your Gift
Now that your gift is ready to be presented to the recipient, you can move on to enjoying the next three phases of gifting – Wrapping, presenting and acknowledging.
1) Wrapping – Consider the theme and colours of your wrapping. It should go without saying that you do not wish to accidentally present your thoughtful gift in a manner which does not reflect the celebration taking place. If in doubt, wrapping with a muted tone should be encouraged.
Your gift should be accompanied by an equally appropriate handwritten card and should not possess any contents of a gratuitous, unnecessary or crass nature.
2) Presenting – This is, traditionally, a rather awkward social moment for the person presenting the gift and the recipient. Neither party is entirely at ease for a number of factors, the main reason being the silence that takes place between the presentation of the gift and the completion of the unwrapping process. All eyes are on the individual unwrapping the gift, in the hopes of capturing the look of wonder as the present reveals itself. This book cannot provide you, or the recipient, advice on how to make this situation any better.
3) Acknowledging – The initial acknowledgement is brief, and usually consists of a thank-you and a hug between yourself and the recipient. For a more humbling experience, you may wish to make a sly remark on the insignificance of your gift.
You should be aware that the acknowledgement process does not end here and continues throughout several other cycles, including the expectation for the recipient to repeat the list of received gifts should other guests arrive and when seeing the person to the exit towards the end of the festivities.
Chapter 4 – The Art of Receiving a Gift
I leave you with a note receiving gifts: Receiving a gift is less about the contents inside the package and more about one person showing their gratitude for having another person in their lives. Therefore, all presents should be received with grace and humbleness and can be seen as a manifestation of the love or appreciation you share between one another.
You are now proficient in the art of gifts.
The boy closed the book, turned out his light and drifted off soundly to sleep, safe in the knowledge that there was no right or wrong gift to think of, only right and wrong ways to think of gifts.