Thoughtful - what exactly does that mean? They say that when you give a gift that is thoughtful, a lot of of care was taken in the selection of the gift. But, is that really all? Yes and no. Care can mean many things to people, but doesn't it all also entail truly understanding how a gift can be appreciated and used by the recipient. After all, why would you want to give a gift just because it's the expected behavior during the holidays? With that said, the following list serves as somewhat of my personal "guidelines" for finding a truly "thoughtful" gift:
1) Know what purpose the gift will serve. Even if it's a vase, what kind of use will it find at a home. Does it make an interesting talking piece for a host or hostess. For instance, is the vase designed with a special feature(s)? Was it inspired by something historical?
2) When giving something edible, do you prefer to find something sinful, healthful, or a little bit of both? In today's trans-fat laden world, people are becoming increasingly aware of rich foods with fats, so even if you've found decadent box of chocolate truffles, you're recipient may feel guilty about consuming it.
3) Don't buy it just because it's on sale. Nowadays, some people are savvy enough to know when a gift was a "saled" item. It's a definite way to make a bad impression.
4) Ah yes, homemade and handmade always seems to add something heartfelt to the occasion. But sometimes, it has its place. For instance, that scarf you've been knitting may be the perfect for Aunt Gina, but think twice because she may not be all that thrilled about your wonderful creation. Perhaps it's a better gift for your mother-in-law? Hmm?
5) Pay attention to packaging. Yes, you may not have all the money in the world to buy expensive or expensive-looking gifts, but you can always make up for it in the way that you present it. Look for quality packaging in the form of special fabrics, or stationary with a pretty pattern or design. You will look good, too. And it's very thoughful, too!
Happy gifting! These same guidelines also apply to any kind of gift - even for weddings and anniversaries.