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Gift giving season is soon upon us and if you’re like me you want to get ahead of the game before stress and lack-of-time get in the way of delivering less than perfect gifts. I like to consider myself a very excellent gift-giver but I credit this skill to the equally excellent gift-givers I have surrounded myself with.

I love giving and receiving presents because it is an absolute representation of how well I know someone and how well he or she knows me. There is no better feeling than knowing you could not have picked out or made anything more perfectly tailored to that individual. I say made because most of the best gifts I have received, in fact all, were not purchased at a store.

So for your own inspiration and to up your gift-game this holiday season, let’s begin. 

 

The Time Capsule

This was given to me as a High School graduation present by my neighbor and best friend since grade school. Inside she wrote up specific instructions about what should go in the jar, including detailed writings about where I was in my life now and where I expected myself to be ten years later. She wanted me to include photographs, recent movie tickets, and items from the guy I was dating at the time, and anything else that I felt was relevant. From there I was supposed to seal the Mason jar until 2023. I didn’t bury it in the yard, but it will reside on the tallest shelf in my parents’ home for another eight years.

 

The Tulip Bulbs

Not just any tulip bulbs, but tulip bulbs from Holland. Plants make excellent gifts because it’s like an easily maintained puppy and a room decoration at the same time. Tulip bulbs are great because they last forever and bloom every season. I am a big fan of being able to say something is from a foreign country, even if it’s as something as universal as flowers. My grandmother is a big traveler and brings us a Christmas ornament every December from wherever she went that year and it always means the world to me. Even though you’re on vacation and you may be very far away from the time you’ll actually be giving the gift, take the souvenir shopping up a notch by keeping family and friends in mind. They will surely appreciate it.

 

The Handmade Dream Catcher

Clearly this was a gift that was made by a friend who is incredibly crafty and creative, but the other reason it made this list is because it wasn’t given to me at Christmas or a Birthday or any other time when gifts are usually expected. I was given this at a time when I was down and it meant a lot to me that she had taken the time to do something to cheer me up. I love getting people gifts without any specific reason or occasion to be buying them a present. When I am shopping and see something that a friend would love I usually get it because it’s just too perfect for them not have and it shows that I was thinking about them and what would make them happy.

 

The Very Personal Card

Sometimes my favorite part of a gift isn’t even the actual gift. Along with gift giving, card writing is a cultivated art form brought about through years of experience and natural born talent. A card should be more than just a way for someone to know whom a gift is from. It is the opportunity to tell someone how much you appreciate him or her, and by putting it in writing in clever cardstock, it is a way to keep it forever. Which I plan to do with only a few cards that really made me feel amazing from the people that know me best.

Gifts are hard. Especially when it’s Christmas and shopping malls are overcrowded and you’re an underpaid college student with zero time and you feel the need to get every extended family member and their dog a gift. Start now and think hard. Start to notice a person’s likes or dislikes. Listen to what they complain about or the way they react in certain situations. Are they sentimental or do they just like shiny objects? The best way to be the gift-giving guru is to be observant and to think about if it were something you would love to receive.

Good luck and happy gifting.

I have arrived at my Senior year as a Journalism major at the Univeristy of Utah and once graduation hits I have no idea what's next. But that's kinda the cool thing about it. The possibilities are endless and I am never one to say no way. I have grown up in the bubble of Salt Lake City, Utah and happen to know a thing or two about being the one that doesn't quite fit the norm. I am awkward sometimes and a little embarrassed about how funny I think I am. The first thing someone will say about me when they meet me is that I am a sass, and I won't deny it. If life were a Subway sandwich and we could choose our bread and every one of our toppings then every year would be a new destination and peanutbutter would have zero calories. I am never not listening to music or doodling in future plans and trips into my dayplanner. I like to pretend I am a runner, really it's just a way for me to be outside a little longer everyday. If you like the Southern Utah desert and late night burritos then you are immediately my best friend.  @mauraruthdern
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