I consider myself a pretty freaking great gift giver. I mean, I’m no Meaghan Earley (Seriously. I’ve been on the receiving side of some of her extra awesome gifts and she is actually that good.), but my gifts hit the mark in a pretty spectacular way. I have two favorite types: the “Gift That Keeps on Giving” and the “Let’s Make Memories Together”.
The first is a multi-part gift that turns any occasion into a week/month/year-long celebration. I love this style of gift because my favorite part of any holiday is making other people smile when they open a great present. I’m a little selfish that way. Meaghan talked about this style of gift with her “14 Days of Valentines” post a couple days ago. She was right, one of the sweetest things you can do is show someone they are special multiple times with tokens of appreciation. The “Gift That Keeps on Giving” is just that: a series of gifts all wrapped into one present.
The second style of gift is one that means you and the receiver get to spend time together experiencing new things and enjoying each other’s company. The best gift you can give anyone is time. Time to learn new things about them. Time to fall even more in love. Time to just be together. Now a days, when you’re stretched between work, family obligations, and who knows what else, taking the time to be present in the moment with someone else is a very special thing. The “Let’s Make Memories Together” gift is an easy thing to do. It’s as simple as a pre-planned, pre-paid date to an event, museum, or restaurant. Or, maybe it’s a movie night at home with a bag of popcorn, a Redbox DVD, and sodas. You provide the details, the place, and the time and the memories will happen! Special gifter bonus: you get to enjoy the present, too. Again, I’m sort of selfish, what can I say?
This past Christmas, I combined both of my favorite gifts into the Ultimate Mega-Present for my boyfriend, Nick. A little back story: We both work retail, which means we almost never get to see each other. We seriously only have one or two days off together in a month and on days when we both work, sometimes we won’t see each other until 10:00 pm. So, I wanted to make sure we had times each month where we could be together.
I researched events, places of interest, and restaurants in and around our home city of Columbus. Slowly but surely I compiled a list of date ideas for each month for the entire year of 2014. Once I had the list finalized, I pre-paid for what I could by buying tickets or gift cards. For the dates I couldn’t pre-pay for, I printed little “gift certificates” explaining what the date would be and in some cases found some related trinkets to include in the wrapped gift.
Without giving away the rest of this year’s gifts, here’s some examples of dates I chose that Nick has already opened:
In January we went to the Columbus Winter Beerfest. It’s an event held downtown where craft breweries from all over the U.S. come together for a night of sampling. I purchased the tickets for this event online and booked a hotel room nearby so we wouldn’t have to worry about how we were going to get home. Nick and I love a good beer, so 300+ under one roof seemed perfect. For February, I bought a gift card to a very fancy schmancy Brazilian-style steakhouse. Because nothing says “I love you” to your boyfriend who used to be a butcher like the perfect cut of meat.
Once I had all the dates worked out, I had to find a way to make all these “Let’s Make Memories Togther” gifts into one big “Gift That Keeps on Giving”. To do this, I visited the neighborhood craft store and picked up the following items: 12 8×10 sealable envelopes in assorted colors, a fancy gold marker, some numbered rubber stamps, embossing glitter powder, a watermark stamp pad, and an embossing heat tool.
(A quick side note here: If you are not familiar with embossing, it is only the coolest way to turn ordinary paper crafts into unique and sparkly works of art. It involves stamping a clear, sticky outline using a rubber stamp and a special stamp pad onto paper. Then you add colored glitter powder, shake off the excess, and use a special heating tool to make that stamp a permanent embossed detail. Seriously awesome stuff. Check in with the ladies at any Paper Source store to learn how. But I warn you, it’s incredibly addicting. Ok, rant over.)
After compiling my supplies, I stamped and embossed the numbers 01-12, one for each month, on the upper corners of each envelope. I then inserted the items for each pre-planned, pre-paid date into their corresponding months. Because I was only letting him open each month’s gift on the first of that month, I wrote the particular day or set of days that my boyfriend had to request off in gold on the back flap of each envelope. You can leave this info off the gift if you want it to be a complete surprise, but we have to plan ahead when working retail.
With every envelope sealed and stamped, I wanted to write him a quick letter explaining what the random group of envelopes were.
I tied the letter and envelopes together with a little bit of colored baker’s twine and voilà, the Ultimate Mega-Present was ready to go! Needless to say, Nick loved it and continues to love it each month when he opens a new envelope. And I get to see the monthly surprise on his face as well as participate in these awesome dates. Everyone wins!
This gift is great for any occasion or time period. With Valentine’s Day coming up, you could make it a Valentine’s Week full of dinners out, movie nights in, and a weekend trip to a museum. Or, if a special someone has a birthday coming up, why not make it a Birthday Month with a new date each week? The possibilities are wide open. All it takes is a little planning and some gift wrapping pizzazz. Go on, impress someone special with your awesome gift-giving skills.
Question for Jess? Need some more inspiration or advice? Send her a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org