Gifts can be used to express appreciation, show love or support, motivate employees, share in a celebration, create closer connections, generate sales, build customer loyalty, inspire productivity, reward hard work, and so much more. But what makes a gift meaningful? For a gift to be significant and make a lasting impact, it has to be an item the recipient wants to receive and something that brings value into their life. Perhaps it helps solve a problem, creates opportunities, aids a tough time, or encourages them to take a chance and try something new.
Delivering a meaningful gift experience requires givers to embrace and apply a couple of key concepts to how they gift: offer a choice and apply meaning. Let’s explores both.
It all starts with a choice
In order for a gift to be perceived as meaningful, it has to be something the giver knows the recipient wants to receive and will frequently use or enjoy. However, that tends to be much more difficult to deliver than you may think. Nowadays, the overabundance of options has made selecting a gift for someone essentially the same as gambling in Vegas. Sure, they might love it. But you’re still rolling the dice on their happiness and betting against one in a million odds. Consequently, the chances that their gift ends up being returned and swapped for something else, regifted, forgotten, or possibly even donated increases.
In reality, the only thing that most people enjoy more than being given something at random is the freedom to choose something they’re guaranteed to love. The concept of choice enables recipients to choose a relevant and relatable gift they want, and it eliminates the guesswork. Furthermore, choice helps foster mutual trust and respect between the giver and recipient. Thus, the recipient will cherish it on a deeper level and feel more connected to the giver because of it.
Give it meaning
What makes the Statue of Liberty one of the most famous gifts in history? Apart from its enormous size, estimated price, and complexity of assembly, what truly makes this statue memorable is its meaning: the commemoration of the alliance between France and the United States during the American Revolution and the freedom and democracy it symbolizes. Likewise, a gift is as powerful as the message it carries. So if you want to make your gift program truly memorable, before you offer it, think about what you’re trying to convey.
One of the principles in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the end in mind.” In other words: before you act, define your goal, your mission, and your intentions to make sure that your actions will take you where you want to go. This principle will give your gift programs depth by providing them with intention.
What makes gifts truly meaningful is the circumstances around them and the feelings behind them. In other words, it’s about crystallizing moments and experiences in a productive way—that is, to promote happiness, make a lasting impact, and deepen relationships. Use gift-giving as an excuse to bring more joy and meaning to your life, the people around you, and the relationships you value. Give them a choice, apply meaning, and happy recipients will inevitably follow.