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Unique Holiday GiftsGift Joy This Holiday Season

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AN UNBOXING EXPERIENCE THEY'LL REMEMBER


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Six Tips to Make Your Holiday Gifts Unforgettable

1. When creating a gift box, odd numbers of items are better

Like floral displays, gift boxes are most appealing when they contain an odd number of items. Our brains naturally look for patterns, and an odd number of items forces our eyes to move around more and makes for a more stimulating visual experience. (Interesting aside: even numbers of flowers are generally only used for bouquets for sad occasions.) 

2. Always include a non-consumable item in your gifts of food & wine

According to the Business Gift Strategy Report, adding a consumable item to a gourmet gift basket increases its memorability by 30%. That makes sense, because it serves as a permanent reminder of your gift long after the perishables have been consumed. So consider adding a related item such as a tray, bowl, tea towel or wine opener, depending on the theme of your gourmet gift. 

3. Add a “sprinkle”

Adding a dash of the unexpected will help your gift stand out. Include a small favor or trinket that fits with the theme of your gift - and don’t be afraid to have fun with it. A little whimsy shouldn’t cost much but can go a long way. For example:

  • If it’s an occasion for celebrating, think about adding items like confetti, poppers or party blowers.
  • If the gift is going to be opened in front of others, consider something the recipient can wear to mark the occasion, such as a pin or hat. Mini party hats and crowns from The Royal Touch are a particular favorite of mine (and they look downright adorable on dogs, too.)
  • And you can never go wrong with chocolate. My favorite are these gray and smoke salt caramels from Seattle confectioner Fran Bigelow.
4. Tell a story with your gift

The one thing I’m absolutely certain of after years in the gift business is that the most memorable gifts always have stories. Your recipient will form a more lasting connection with your gift if you give them an interesting story to pass along to others.  (Believe me, I’ve heard hundreds of them!)

The story costs nothing, and every gift has one if you know where to look.

  • Does your gift introduce the recipient to an up-and-coming artisan or entrepreneur they may not have heard of, but you know they’d love?
  • Did you find the gift under extraordinary circumstances? If it came from a one-of-a-kind market or merchant, or has an unusual feature you can explain to your recipient, it will be all the more compelling.
  • Does your gift have a philanthropic twist, such as products made of upcycled components or from merchants with a social mission?
  • Do you have a particular relationship with the merchants behind your gift?  Or does the gift include one of your own favorite things? If so, share your enthusiasm! 
5. Turn your gift into an experience

Customers naturally gravitate to gifts that embody an experience.  Sunday Morning Pancakes, for example.  The individual items are delicious, but by putting them together they’re really creating something more powerful: the hope that the gift recipient will enjoy the paper and the companionship of family and the well-earned leisurely atmosphere of a day filled with nothing but possibility. Or a nap.

Just BreatheChardonnay StaycationBetter Than TherapyThe Carnivore’s DelightPicnic Under The Stars. Even without seeing them, all of these gifts evoke a particular mood and have a natural experiential component to them.

It turns out that this gut instinct to give an experience, not just “stuff”, comes from a deep place in our psyches.  According to Tom Gilovich, Irene Blecker Rosenfeld Professor of Psychology at Cornell, experiences yield more and better stories, become a bigger part of who we are, and connect us more to each other. So by taking the time to evoke an emotion, experience or situation with your gifts, you’re creating stronger long-term connections with the people you’re gifting to.

6. Pack it with flair

There’s no rule that says gifts have to come in paper-wrapped boxes with store-bought cards or name tags on top. The manner in which you give your gift can make all the difference, and again, doesn’t need to cost much. Here are some of my favorite ideas, depending on the recipient:

  • Give your gift in an unusual container – a lovely glass jar, an old cigar box, a vintage birdcage…if the contents fit and the container is easy to send or carry, try it out. If it’s something your recipient can reuse, even better.
  • Think beyond wrapping paper. Why not wrap a gift book or an e-reader in the New York Times book review section? Or wrap a kid’s gift in the comic pages? Take-out menus, doodles…anything can be used to make your gift stand out in a sea of patterns and ribbons.  
  • Write your name tag or card on something unexpected – perhaps a vintage postcard or a piece of paper origami.
  • Skip the traditional card altogether and make your message an experience with a custom word search, crossword, word map or mad libs game. There are great free online tools to help you pull this together to make something especially fun for younger recipients.

Creative wrapping isn’t simply about making a gift look nice–it can set the tone for the entire gift-opening experience. Think about everything you can communicate with your presentation: do you want to hint at what’s inside, obscure the contents for the ultimate surprise, or leave your recipient with something extra they can actually use?