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A (Self-Titled) Professional Shoppers Guide to Gift Giving

on January 24, 2014

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This is a print.

A signed print by a local artist of a local subject matter.

A historic ice cream parlor with the view to our capital.

 

I am psyched (does that word date me?) to have found this as a gift for my step-mother-in-law.

A lady who has everything and needs nothing.

What started as concern,

“what could we possibly get her?”

has ended in confidence that she will love this.

 

I mean we haven’t given it to her yet, but still…

I just know it is going to be loved.

 

I consider myself to be a shopper.

A professional when it comes to Black Friday,

Standing in line to wait for a big deal,

and shopping for gifts.

This does not mean that I am always perfect at it and that I don’t have a problem finding that perfect something 

for the hard-to-shop-for people in my life,

but it does equate to hours, if necessary, devoted to the art of it all.

 

I can be a perfectionist,

questioning my gut,

feeling overwhelmed by my choices or lack of,

nearing tears as I sort through my cart.

That decision,

the one that ends in parting with that all too precious money,

can seem as if I am in a game show.

The spot light brightly glowing on my face as I make my decision,

the timer running down and music playing anxiously in the background,

the host and audience waiting for the final bell to ring and for my all too important pick to be made.

Is this the perfect gift?

 

I have to go through those emotions though to get to the part where I connect with the right present.

 

Honestly,

my mom has taught me the gift of thoughtfulness.

To listen and ask questions and get to the heart of who someone really is.

Once this is done,

you forever have an image that reflects not necessarily what someone says they want,

but the inner sanctum of their very being.

 

I start out with a panic.

Oh my gosh,

I forgot so-and-so’s birthday and have to find that gift that says ,

“I am thinking of you and not just anyone, but YOU.”

There is pressure,

I have given a lot of good gifts in my life 

and probably a lot of not so great ones.

 

So I have to stop and get in the mood

by remembering what I know

not only about that person but in general.

 

I have learned through experience that if you can give personally by making a craft or food item 

it must be to someone who really does appreciate that.

Do they have that around their house?

Even if it is thoughtfully given because your literal blood, sweat and tears went into it,

if a person doesn’t like knitted hats and has never worn one they may not appreciate the effort and time and love.

Normally I don’t have to worry about this as I am not much of a “crafty” person.

 

You can often see what someone wants in what they give to others.

Do they often give you books or movies or candles?

Those are probably their interests.

 

Do they love to spend time with you?

Sometimes a person really wants to just go to lunch or for a coffee together or 

to have a game night or gab session.

Truly my sister is someone that would rather have you give the gift of time,

preferably an activity like ice skating or bowling or a fun dance class.

 

What do they converse about?

It is so sweet when you speak to a family member or friend or stranger and suddenly their eyes light up and they can’t stop talking.

Everyone has interests.

Everyone.

 

It’s about finding what makes someone want to get up in the morning.

Coffee?

   Is there a local coffee shop that has special coffee beans or scones?

Numbers and science and geeky things? (Nothing wrong with that.)

      There is a great series called “Brain Games” (Nat Geo channel) that you can find on DVD.

Books and language and poems and writing?

        What about a writing workshop magazine or new pens and paper?

Technology or religion or soap or cleaning or games or music or photography or sports?

 

I ultimately go through a process.

Here it is:

1.  Panic.   Uh-oh.  What do I get?  It has to be perfect.  

2.  Where do I go?  O.k.  my favorite shops (mostly local), which I love more than large chain retailers,

are going to be number one on my list.

3.   Go to the shops and start thinking of that person.  Truly who is she/he?  Likes and dislikes.

Love language and what they give to me.  Have they mentioned anything recently or have we done something together that was special.

Example:  when we went to a play with friends, we picked up an ornament from the venue while they weren’t with us.

(I love this part and spend a lot of time just concentrating on all of the beautiful aspects of this person.)

4.  What do I NOT want to get.  This is huge in eliminating shops and aisles.  Things they already have.

Things they dislike or don’t have any interest in.

5.  Go through the store I am in-   slowly.  

Praying that God lead my decision, I often look at an item for a while.

Actually I don’t see people around me or pay much attention to others because of my focus,

which is why I may ignore someone calling my name until they are in my face. (Sorry.)

6.  I put something in my basket/cart/hands and just keep looking.

All the while trying to connect with what they will do when they open the gift.

Does this sing to my heart?  (As cheesy as that sounds, it has to really get me excited to give this gift to a particular person.)

7.  Just get it.  Make the purchase and leave the store.

(This may take me a while and it may mean texting/calling others to get their opinion, but ultimately my heart does know.)

8.  Wrap it up and anxiously await the moment it is opened.

9.  Now sometimes on the rare occasion,

I may find something else and have to return the first item but most often I am happiest with the very first thing that spoke to me.

So, just keep your heart open.  

 

Now I will say that most of the time

if I go through the process slowly,

the person I am giving a gift to is surprised  and happy and says the fated words that my ears long to hear,

“You always know just what to get me!”

 

The secret is knowing who you are shopping for and there are people closest to me that are harder to shop for than others,

(Why is my husband harder to shop for than a stranger?)

but at the end of the day,

I must say that I can shop.

A self-proclaimed professional.

And you can be too!

Get out there, go on,

you can do it.

 

 

 

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