The Art of Personalized Gift-Giving

Before there were mass-produced products, many objects were handcrafted by artisans devoted to making unique items ranging from wooden furniture to clothing. More recently, things seem to have come full-circle with more of a demand for personalized items, including gifts.

Personalized gifts have been around for a long time, and with good reason: it’s easy to pick up something generic, but personalized gifts tailor a specific item to the recipient in a way that shows genuine consideration and care.

Making Vs. Buying Personalized Gifts

While there’s nothing like a handmade gift, there may be times where you’re low on energy or time but you still want to get them something meaningful. Companies like Catstudio are perfect for this, offering a range of gifts organized by theme.

If you have the option to make your gift, try to do this in advance: while it’s the thought that counts, the stress of rushing a  project the night before can take all the fun out of the process  and could result in a poorly-made present.

How to Personalize a Gift

There’s different levels of personalization, depending on how well you know the person. If you’re on first-name terms, a monogrammed wallet or cute letter necklace can be good options, or something practical, like a pair of handmade coasters in a neutral style and color.

The more you get to know someone, the more you find out about what they like. This is where a little detective work can come in: keep your ears peeled to try and pick up on certain themes, like a certain movie they really like that you could use a quote from, or a love of gardening.

The Four-Gift Rule

Typically used around the holidays, the four-gift rule states that in total a person should receive four types of present: something they need, something to read, something they’ll wear – and a surprise gift that they’re likely to enjoy, but maybe haven’t thought of themselves.

If you want to give just one gift, you can use this to identify the type of item you think they might enjoy. This can depend on how well you know the person: as we’ve covered, if you don’t know a person especially well it’s best to stick to more practical, general gifts, but if it’s a good friend or close relative, you can opt for something that suits their personal taste. Here are some examples:

  • Something they need: Functional, everyday items like tote bags or coffee cup cozies Something to read: A personalized book (you can purchase these, or make one yourself)
  • Something  they’ll wear: Depending on the season, knitted items or personalized tee shirts are good options..
  • Something they’ll enjoy: This last one is a little more tricky to define, but as a starting point, consider gifts the recipient might not think to buy for themselves, for example a set of bath products for a busy mom, or a pair of cool cufflinks to add a little pizzazz to a plain shirt.

Personalized gifts are a little like compliments: while most people appreciate a simple “looking good”, offering a specific, positive and sincere statement can have a greater effect. Similarly, personalized gifts are meaningful because they celebrate what makes a person special. 

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