Discover what echo gifts are and how they deliver joy--repeatedly. Learn ideas echo gift ideas you can give for a milestone birthday, or any other.
Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big, some are small. Some deliciously handpicked at a local shop that excels in customer service, others purchased with one click on Amazon.
But my most FAVORITE gifts of all? Something I call "echo gifts."
Echo Gifts Deliver Joy Multiple Times
Just as an echo reverberates, echo gifts keep on giving, long after the wrapping paper has been thrown away. The recipient gets a megadose of happy upon opening the gift, and over time, the same item delivers additional hits of happiness. It's the most powerful type of gift there is.
Let's say you have a friend who loves flowers. You could give her a bouquet of beautiful roses that she would enjoy. If instead you gifted a rose bush for her to plant in her garden, she'd appreciate roses for many years to come.
Another example of an "echo" gift would be giving your make-up loving cousin a subscription box of beauty products for her birthday.
When she opens your gift, the first "Wow!" is delivered--the prospect of all those beauty products delights her like a kid in a candy store.
Each month when the box of goodies arrives, it's another "Wow!" as she opens the box and is delighted with the samples of purple mascara, coconut oil-infused lipstick and bronzing powder for that sun-kissed look.
The Exponential Benefits of Echo Gifts
In addition to enjoying gorgeous roses for many years, or the delight of opening up the mailbox and seeing something fun every month, echo gifts pay dividends in other ways too.
Every time the roses bloom or the monthly subscription box arrives, the recipient will flash back to when they first received the gift and be thankful once again to the giver---YOU! It's as if the echo effect of the gift came bouncing back and showered you with goodwill.
For years, my mom sent my son a subscription to Sports Illustrated for his birthday. Each time an issue arrived, he would invariably say something like, "I'm so glad Grammy gave me this for a birthday present."
If magazines seem too...old-fashioned...here's another example.
A 50th Birthday Gift for Him that Keeps on Giving
A while back, my friend Scott was turning 50. The invitation to his birthday party read, "No gifts please, though alcohol is always appreciated."
I ran with that direction and put together an assortment of vodkas and mixers and added in a few festive touches. All of the items were tucked into a handsome fabric-covered box. (Truth be told, the box was chosen primarily because it was strong enough to hold the weight of the liquor bottles!)
A 50th Birthday Gift for a Vodka Lover
Mixers and some festive touches made for a fun presentation.
(Tip: writing on fruit always makes people smile! )
Fast forward: Scott's birthday party was really fun. Afterwards, I received a lovely thank you note, along with this very fun picture. I was tickled to see the birthday boy enjoying his gift.
Now that would be a nice enough story, but you might be wondering, "Where's the echo?" Wait for it...
Three YEARS later, I received this email and photo:
The box that once gifted vodka has a new life as a repository for dog toys
Echo Gifts are Perfect for Milestone Birthdays
Echo gifts are particularly well-suited for milestone birthdays. The person can appreciate the gift upon opening, but the effects reverberate into the new decade of their life.
One of the best, most thoughtful, most generous gifts I've ever received was an echo gift that broadcast joy for many months.
For my 50th birthday, a friend gave me a GIANT basket filled with 50 birthday gifts--each one wrapped, numbered and containing a note as to what lay inside.
I was blown away. Gob-smacked. Speechless.
A giant basket of 50th birthday gifts
The most amazing part? The friend who gave it to me hates to go shopping and abhors little "stuffs"...yet she saw past all that and took the time to find FIFTY things she knew I would enjoy, and in some cases, even get a good laugh from.
[Yes, I do think it's nuts that she did all this. But it's part of her charm. ;) ]
Fifty birthday gifts...actually, 52! My crazy generous friend miscounted.
An Echo Gift Can Deliver Joy Far into the Future
At at my friend's urging, I opened gifts #1, #2 and #3 on the day I received the basket. The first two were birthday cards and the third gift was from Ginger Elizabeth--my most favorite flavors of French macarons. Yum!
As tempted as I was to dig in and unwrap the remaining presents at once, I found myself doing just the opposite. I placed the gift-filled basket in a prominent place in my office so I could see it, and every so often, I would select another three gifts and open them.
Seeing the basket itself brought me tremendous joy--each time I looked at it, I was reminded how lucky I was to have such a incredibly thoughtful friend.
Each time I unwrapped a trio of gifts, I was like a kid on Christmas morning, excited to see what Santa brought. The items ranged from a handy kitchen tool to fun cocktail napkins to a notepad and so much more.
In fact, I loved the experience of opening the gifts so much, I deliberately slowed down my pace. Opening gifts became a thrill I saved for special occasions--whether it was to celebrate an accomplishment or because I needed a bright spot.
The basket of gifts wowed from the moment I saw it and its lovely echo lasted for many months after my birthday.
One of a trio of gifts that brightened my day
Gifts YOU Can Give That Will Delight Again and Again
Some gifts naturally create an echo, while other items can be packaged so that they create an echo effect.
3 Easy Echo Gifts to Give include:
- Monthly subscriptions to anything-there's a wide option to choose from-farm fresh produce, LP of the month, clothes
- A gift that helps someone learn a new skill or hone an existing one-perhaps it's piano lessons for someone who always wanted to take them, but never did. For the budding chef, it might be an online cooking class.
- An item that has growth potential, whether that's a live plant or some shares of stock
You can transform almost any gift into one that reverberates. The secret? Make sure the gift can be used again, or at least revisited, in the future.
Some ideas for creating an echo effect with any gift:
- Wrap the gift so the recipient can use the packaging in the future-there's no rule that says you have to wrap a gift in wrapping paper or tuck it into a gift bag. You can use a scarf or a dishtowel in place of wrapping paper or hang a smaller gift from a beautiful orchid plant.
- Select several gifts and include directions on when the recipient should open each. Including notes such as "Save this one for a rainy day" and "Open on the first day of summer" builds the anticipation of opening the individual items.
- Gift several of the same item-the key here is to make sure the item can't be used all at once. For Christmas one year, Santa gifted a friend's pre-teen daughter, a budding young baker, a collection of various cake mixes and frosting. It was a hit.
The next day someone you love has an upcoming birthday, see if you can select a gift that echoes. Not only will you delight them when you give the gift, you'll also be giving giving them many doses of happiness in the future.