Sometime in your childhood you probably experienced a gift that didn't feel like a gift. I know this varies wildly depending on your families income and gift giving habits. Most of us have had that moment of secret (or not so secret disappointment) when opening something like underwear or socks.
Here is some expert guidance:
Bonnie Wertheim wrote an article How to Give a Good Gift for the New York Times.
In it she says:
"Gift-giving is a love language and one that anyone can learn to speak".
Ms. Wertheim then gives us this excellent list of ways to think about the best gift for the your recipient:
- Think about the things they might need. Did they just move, adopt a pet or book an adventurous vacation? Gifting can be an opportunity to riff on the ways they’ve already spent their own money.
- When someone says they want something, listen. There’s nothing quite like finally getting the thing you’ve been hinting at for months.
- That said, don’t be overly practical. The point is to delight, not to restock your significant other’s toilet paper stash.
- What would you want? Has the person ever complimented your taste? It’s possible that something on your own wish list would make a great I-didn’t-know-I-needed-this gift for a friend.
- Consider the non-gift gift. Some people don’t want anything. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want anything. They just don’t want stuff. Experiences and perishables can be just as, and sometimes more, gratifying than a thing you have to keep forever, lest you insult an in-law.
I'd like to you to contemplate two points:
Consider the non-gift gift.
If your Mother or any friend or family member you want to honor on Mother's Day is at the stage of life where more things truly aren't appreciated, then a little creative thinking can take you to discovering the just right gift!
Although you never want to be overly practical sometimes practicality is the best gift.
My mother spent the last years of her life bedridden and increasingly unable to care for herself. The one thing she could do was lift a tiny plastic cup of water bringing it to her lips for a drink. This was only possible if she drank through a straw. Eventually, trying to steady the cup and keep the straw still long enough to get a sip became an impossible challenge. This is where two strips of tape became the best gift anyone could have given her. This simple life hack securing the straw to the side of the cup with the criss-cross of tape allowed her to easily get a drink without chasing the straw around her cup.
Imagine two strips of tape being an extraordinary life altering gift. The tape gave my Mom a touch of independence, a gift beyond measure.
The Non-gift can be a vast category. When it comes to someone older who may not get out as often as they'd like; a meal in a restaurant , a drive, a ball game, an afternoon at the park or museum there are countless possibilities. Or if they can't get out then bring the experience to them. With technology now you can bring so much pleasure to someone housebound: music, film, theater, virtual reality or simply playing a game, doing a puzzle or just being there.
Bonnie Wertheim ends her article with a sentiment I wholeheartedly endorse:
"Sometimes the best gift has no monetary value but is, instead, the free gift of presence".