The science of gifting: How to pick the best present

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The gifting season is upon us and I must admit, a mild sense of panic has set in! I can only attribute it to the thought of facing the noisy crowds at shopping malls in order to complete my seemingly endless list, which itself is a task as I keep asking myself over and over again… “What do I get for X, what about Y and Z .” Taking a deep breath I told myself that I was not alone. After all, just like me, there must be many out there struggling with what to buy when a special occasion draws near.

So this year I decided to put my thinking hat on and do some research. Somehow, the same old trinket for mum or yet another colourful tie for my brother seemed so been there, done that. Well, the good news is I did end up with some gorgeous ideas, which I’m happy to share with all of you! I hope they satisfy you as much as they did me. The best part, you can use them all year round, not just during the holidays! And yes, I’m no longer in panic mode 🙂 Don’t forget to jot down names and make a list of the recipients.

Idea 1 – Experiential Gifts

During my research, I found that while people love receiving things like an expensive pair of earrings or a branded watch, what they actually look forward to receiving is an experience as it forges a deeper and stronger emotional connection between the giver and recipient.

But what is an ‘experiential gift’, you ask? Well, let me give you some examples to make it easy to understand:

  • If your friend loves music, concert tickets to a music festival would really excite him or her.
  • If your sister adores croissants, a gift certificate to her favourite French restaurant would do the trick.
  • If your bestie is a thrill-seeker, how about a sky-diving experience or a hot air balloon ride over the city.
  • If your husband loves to experiment in the kitchen, get him a couple’s cooking class for two and enjoy it with him!

The biggest reason why gifting experiences are better is because you always have that memory to return back to.

Idea 2 – Handmade Gifts

Nothing says ‘personal’ more than a handmade gift… and we all know how much people love to receive one. At least, I know I do! When my little one comes home from school with a handmade gift, it just melts my heart! I treasure these items, as they are so much better than anything else I could ever receive. The best part, homemade gifts work all year round – holidays, birthdays, special occasions and even those ‘just because’ moments. Plus, there is something so personal and meaningful about a gift that you took the time to make it yourself.

Here are some ideas that will help you grant the people in your life that extra special feeling of love and attention:

  • Forget the expensive items from a trendy soap store and learn to make your own fizzy bath bombs and beauty scrubs at home. These DIY products are quite popular and they make an exciting yet simple gift for almost everyone in your life. These would be especially great if matched with Yardley Body Lotions, Soaps and Talcum powder. Find some easy-to-make recipes for DIY Body Scrubs and Bath Bombs here – http://bit.ly/2tiojww
  • Sweet smelling potpourri makes an excellent and personal gift too. The best part is, it can be personalised with any scents that you love. So the potpourri can be refreshed over and over again.
    • What you’ll need – Flowers, sheet pan, parchment paper, scissors, essential oils, spray bottle, citrus fruits, fresh herbs and whole spices.
    • What to do – Gather your flowers, especially ones with strong scents, such as roses. Preheat your oven to 200˚F. Cover a sheet tray with parchment paper. Cut the flowers right below the heads and place them on the tray, or remove individual petals and place in a single layer on the parchment paper. To add scent to your potpourri, cut and add thin slices of citrus fruits, or tuck in sprigs of rosemary, lavender or thyme. You can also add whole spices, such as cinnamon sticks or cloves . Add 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil to one tablespoon of water in a small spray bottle and spritz the potpourri ingredients. Then pop the potpourri into an oven. Dry in the oven for at least two hours or until the flowers are brittle but not burnt. When the potpourri is ready, remove from oven and give another spritz of essential oil. Once it’s at room temperature, gently mix the potpourri and place it in a bowl or small satchel. I love the scent of Lavender Potpourri which reminds me of the lovely Eau De Toilette from Yardley and brings a smile reminiscing fond memories.
  • The holidays are when you want to shower absolutely everyone you know with gifts. This ‘Mason Jar filled with Cookie Mix’ is a unique yet inexpensive idea, which will guarantee that you make everyone happy!
    • What you will need – Quart size Mason jars with lids, scrap fabric, ribbon, glue, paper, recipe and required ingredients.
    • The ingredients – 2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup white sugar and chocolate chips as needed.
    • What to do – Start by layering the ingredients in a quart sized canning jar in the order listed above in the ‘Ingredients’ list. Finally, print out the recipe and include it with your cookies in a jar gift.
    • Here is the complete recipe – Ingredients: 1 cup butter (room temperature), 3/4 cup sugar, 1 1/4 cups brown sugar (firmly packed), 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 to 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips. Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350 F. In large mixing bowl cream butter and sugars until light. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well blended. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder & baking soda. Stir into the first mixture, blending well. Fold in chocolate chips. Then use a cookie/ice cream scoop and place 2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are light brown.

3 – Material Gifts

While making something from scratch or gifting something experiential will work for most people on your list, there are those who you know will love something more tangible. Interestingly, during my research, I discovered a way to make these gifts more personal and memorable, as well. For example, if your husband loves his Yardley Gentleman Perfume and can never get enough of it… get him the entire collection, which includes the EDT, Body Spray and Roll-On Deodorant, and make it more meaningful by placing a beautiful handwritten letter along with it. In the letter, you can tell him how much he means to you, how every time you smell the fragrance it reminds you of him, about how you met, how he’s been your constant, etc. The best part? Whenever he uses the products, his thoughts will wander to you and what you said in your letter!

In this manner, you can always add a personal touch to any gift you give someone in your life.

  • A watch can be more meaningful for your mother or father if you add a note saying how you love spending time with them.
  • A sweater is a lovely gift for your friend if it goes with an invitation to join you for a cozy time of coffee and conversation on a cold winter’s day.
  • A set of scented candles for your spouse would be really exciting if it includes a candlelit dinner at home with romantic music and dancing.
  • A ‘Personal Care’ basket filled with his or her favourite Yardley products. For inspiration, visit http://www.yardleylondon.me

 Just remember, any gift can be made extra special with a little bit of attention-to-detail. Hope you enjoyed this blog.

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