Ever walk in to a party with a birthday gift and set it down on the table…
Only to see another gift that looks waaay more interesting than the one you brought?
You instantly know that's the one the birthday person will open first and the gift the party guests are most curious to see unwrapped. Suddenly, the gift in your hand that seemed great in the car pales in comparison.
If you’ve ever wished you could make a bigger statement with the birthday gifts you give, you may be making the same mistake that a lot of other people make.
The great news?
This common problem is easy to avoid. In fact, it's as easy as 1, 2, 3.
A Fun Gift Sets The Tone for the Birthday Party
At first blush, it may seem a bit...shallow...to talk about how you feel when you walk into a birthday party and set the gift you brought down.
But, if you’ve spent time, energy and money thoughtfully selecting something the birthday person will like, it’s only natural that you want the gift to be a hit from the moment the party starts.
Besides, bringing a gift that looks as great on the outside as it does on the inside, adds to the festive atmosphere. It's FUN to walk in with a gift that begs to be opened...and its sets the tone for you to have a great time.
Who knows? It might start a conversation with someone who becomes a new friend. Continuing to show up with gifts that garner attention from others might also further your career as an artist or a kitchen designer.
The Importance of a Good Presentation Extends to Gifts
There’s an old saying, 'We eat with our eyes.'
This proverb holds just as true for birthday gifts, though it may be easier to illustrate the point with food.
Let’s say someone prepares two identical burgers. Both are equally juicy, both are piping hot.
The first burger is placed upon a flimsy white paper plate with a such a sorry excuse for a napkin, you know you’ll need a handful of them just to make it through the meal.
The second burger is served on a gorgeous dinner plate with gold banding and has a crisp, linen napkin tucked under it.
Which burger would you want to eat?
Most people would be drawn to the more attractive presentation of Burger #2---for the simple reason that it looks better.
The really interesting part?
If you were to taste both burgers, you are more likely to think the second burger tastes better too.
Subconsciously, you think, “If they took such care in plating the burger, they probably selected the ground beef carefully as well and is that bun from that awesome bakery in the city…”
So if you want the birthday gift you give to make a big impact and "taste" great, the presentation matters.
The Most Common Mistake That Makes Some Gifts Look Unappetizing
When it comes to giving birthday gifts—or really any other gift---people focus almost exclusively on selecting and acquiring the gift and don't leave time to get the gift ready to be given.
It's a common mistake to make because sometimes, figuring out what to get and actually getting the gift can end up taking a considerable amount of time.
But without that last bit of energy, it's hard for the gift to scream "OPEN ME! NOW!"
It's really easy to see how this happens...
Pretend your cousin has a birthday coming up and you need to get a gift for her.
You spend some time considering various gift ideas and decide a bathrobe is something she’d like. You check online for some options, but since you’re heading to the mall the next day, you decide to get the robe there.
Good news! The mall has a good selection of robes in styles she'll like. You select one that is super soft and fuzzy. You’re excited to give it to her because you know she’ll love it. You can totally picture her snuggled up on the couch wearing it and watching her favorite Netflix show.
You cross ‘Get birthday gift' off your To-Do list. You're proud of yourself for taking care of this weeks ahead of her birthday.
Fast forward to the afternoon of your cousin’s birthday party. Your daughter’s soccer game went into double overtime, so you get home later than expected.
You get ready as quickly as possible for the party. You go to grab the birthday gift on your way out the door and realize…
That beautiful robe is still sitting in the shopping bag, just as it was the day you bought it.
It’s not wrapped.
You’re not sure if you have a box to put it in…and debate whether a "Congratulations" gift bag that's too small will do.
You look to include the gift receipt, but you can't find it. Did the salesperson hand it to you? What purse were you using that day?!
You realize you don’t have a birthday card for her. You grab the best option from your stash of emergency cards.
Bottom line: Just because you get the gift doesn’t mean the gift is ready to be given!
Three Easy Steps to Great Birthday Gifts
I always view gift giving as a three-step process.
- Ready-identify who you need a gift for and by when; brainstorm gift ideas
- Select-acquire the gift
- Wrap-prepare the gift to be given
Following these three easy steps ensures that you go from “I need a gift” to “She loved the robe!” in no time.
Step 1, “Ready”, starts as soon as you realize you need a gift for someone. This phase is focused on planning: who you need a gift for, when you need it by, how much do you want to spend, etc. This doesn’t need to take more than a few minutes, but it gets you focused fast
In Step 2, “Select”, find that great gift! Start by brainstorming gift ideas, pick 1-2 ideas and then get (or perhaps even make) the gift. Whether you shop online or head to your favorite shop, this phase ends with having found the item.
Step 3, “Wrap” transforms the item you selected into a gift. (Gift) bag it up, wrap it, add a card. This is a great place to inject some creativity and reinforce the connection between the giver and receiver.
Make Every Birthday Gift a Wow from Seeing to Unwrapping
To make it even easier to complete all three steps of the Ready, Select, Wrap Gift Giving System, try these tips:
- When you find the item, visualize yourself handing the gift to the birthday person. Will you tuck it in a gift bag? Do you have a box big enough to fit it? An example of what NOT to do: I found the perfect cake stand for a friend at Christmas time..and then spent way too long trying to find a box to put it in!
- Add two separate events to your calendar 'Get gift' and 'Wrap Gift.’ By putting these activities on your calendar, you set aside time to make them happen. This is great way to reduce gift-giving stress!
- Keep the "naked" gift in a prominent place in your house to remind you that it needs to be wrapped. Otherwise, out of sight out of mind.
The next time you see an upcoming birthday or another gift-giving occasion on your calendar, think Ready, Select, Wrap. The 3 easy steps will have you giving great gifts each and every time from the moment you walk into the party until the birthday person unwraps it and says, "I love it!"
For some creative gift giving ideas, please check out our sister blog, Wrap with Love.