You probably wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that I love gift giving. After all, I do work in the retail industry! I like to think of gift giving as a subtle art form, of sorts. If you were to conduct a random poll of your friends and family, and ask the simple question, “Are you good at selecting gifts,” odds are that the responses would be pretty varied. Some may say that they’ve mastered the selfless act of gift giving, while others are likely to confess that they don’t have a knack for picking presents. Some thoroughly enjoy the process, while others find it to be a chore. No matter how you feel about it, gift giving and receiving it are an inevitable part of life. What can you do to make gift giving less of an inconvenience during this hectic time of year? Here are a few some simple tactics that can serve as your seasonal guide to gift giving:
1) Don’t overthink it. For the gift giving fanatics, finding just the right gift for each of the 356 people on your list can be quite the challenge! For those who grimace at the thought of shopping for others, the advice is the same: don’t overthink. It may be the thought that counts, but thoughtful gifts don’t have to be incredibly involved.
2) Ask yourself: What kind of gift would my recipient enjoy? For some people, a gift can be a kind gesture, an act of service, or even merely spending time together. Just because someone insists that you don’t have to buy them anything, it’s not to say that they won’t appreciate a gift in other forms. You may find this trend to be more common with people who are in later stages of life, and looking to reduce clutter by downsizing. Take it from us: they will enjoy going out for a nice meal, learning a new activity together, or even seeing a local theater production. Time is the most precious gift of all, and we don’t just mean a fancy clock to add to their house.
3) Ask for help. Running your ideas past someone else is not a sign of weakness or incompetence, but rather a sign that you genuinely care about someone’s happiness. If you’re unsure whether your mother-in-law will like the reindeer throw pillows you have in mind, take a few moments to casually run it by a few family members who are more familiar with her design preferences. If you don’t know your boss well enough to select him/her the perfect present, ask an administrative assistant or friend. This kind of investigation is smart, saves time, and will help you get to know your recipient just a little bit better.
4) Listen and keep a list. It may not come as a surprise that people like to talk about themselves, and the things they like and dislike. All you have to do is listen. If necessary (a rule I try to apply year-round) keep a list of people in your life that you might buy gifts for, with short notes about things they may find intriguing. This little trick takes no time at all, and can be done in a small notebook, or perhaps even the notebook app on your smartphone.
5) Break out the hammer and glue. If a more traditional, store-bought gift is just not in your wheelhouse, consider making something special from scratch. I’m not going to mince words, you will be more successful in this endeavor if you possess at least a touch of skill. Lucky for you, the internet is pretty much busting at its virtual seams with DIY gifting videos! No need to worry if a DIY gift is not your speed. The local, handmade scene is hot right now and I have some lovely, well-crafted, locally sourced, handmade items that might just fit the bill. These totally cool, and extremely unique items are far removed from the stuff that you just grab off the shelf at that big box store that I know you dread going to. Best of all, I’d be happy to lend my gift giving advice in person!
6) Think inside the box… sort of. Have you ever heard of subscription boxes? Or as I like to call them, the easiest gifts of all time! Similar to subscribing to a monthly magazine, these magical boxes of happiness arrive straight to your door, full of wonderment and surprise! You can get anything from pet supplies and beauty products, to comic books and food prep materials, delivered right to your recipient every month for however long you would like. There is even a website to help you find the right kind of subscription box for you! Check out www.findsubscriptionboxes.com for some guidance.
Well, that’s all for now. Though I could go on for days about the ins-and-outs of gift finding and giving, we’ll keep this one short and sweet. As we reach the peak of the holiday shopping season, I hope you find this guide useful and instructive. Between now and December 23, all Christmas décor at Willow Tree Shop will be on sale! We also have a large line of items that are perfect for gift-receivers of all ages and interests. As always, we remain rooted in your home comfort.
-Laura Moore, Owner of Willow Tree Shop
Willow Tree Shop • Clarks Summit
725 S. State Street, Clarks Summit, PA 18411
Winter hours, January through March:
Wednesday - Saturday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed Sunday, Monday & Tuesday
March through December:
Tuesday - Friday 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday