Quick history lesson: the act of giving or receiving gifts is a tradition that pre-dates civilization, with some historians even theorizing that it goes back to the origin of our species. As inherently social creatures, it makes sense that giving a loved one a gift is an extension of the feelings of affection we feel for that person.
Fast forward to today, gifting is as sacred a tradition as ever. More often that not, however, we’re plagued with concerns about how to give our loved ones a gift they’ll love. At BRIKA, inspiring thoughtful gifting is our first nature, and we pride ourselves in the fact that each piece in our collection of well-crafted goods makes for a beautiful gift in its own right. Crafted with love and care by our Makers, it only made sense that we would ask these super-skilled artisans to weigh in on what makes a gift unforgettable. We categorized their answers to create the below gifting checklist – print this off for future reference, and be sure to give us your two cents in the comments below!
1. Make it thoughtful
“I like to keep little notes in my phone of tiny details friends and family mention while in a random conversation. ‘OMG, I have been craving Skittles!’, ‘I’ve really been loving neutral colors lately,’ etc. I’d say be a good listener and have great attention to detail.” – Kelley, Candelles
“For me, a gift doesn’t need to be big or expensive, as long as it is thoughtful, personal and done with care. I want the person to feel special, so I try to put some time and thought into it. – Michèle, Michèle Guevara
“For me, it is more about the effort then the actual gift, because giving gifts should be about creating an experience moreso than just giving a product. When a gift is in reference to something meaningful, that makes it much more special.” – Krit, Soothi
2. Keep things personal
“A gift is an expression of love and friendship. It lets the recipient know of their importance in the lives of the sender. As such, a customized gift, tailored to the likes of the recipient, will give them a pleasant surprise and a heartwarming feeling.” – Sabina, Sabina Wong
3. Give handmade gifts that will last (and make a lasting impression)
“For me, the mark of an amazing gift is finding something truly special that someone will love and cherish for years. Something they didn’t even know they wanted, that passes along a story from maker to recipient.” – Elizabeth, Elizabeth Attwood
“Good design pieces made with love and care make gifts amazing, especially if they are limited production pieces. That means you are receiving a truly unique gift. Also, if it feels like it was specifically crafted for the recipient and enhances his or her personality.” – Karina, Marea by Karina
“What makes a great gift is that you can see there was time and care put into making it; from the design, quality, and details, down to the little things like packaging. All these things show that person wants you to enjoy their creations as much as they do.” – T, Upper Metal Class
4. Make something handmade, even if it means teaching yourself a new skill.
“I hand made a quilt for my best friend when she was pregnant with her first child, a girl. I knew how to sew, but had never made a quilt before. It was way more work than I thought it would be, but I loved creating it for her.” – Missy, Golden Fox Goods
“When my niece was born, I wanted to give her something that would be to her what a stuffed bear was to me when I was little. I had never sewn a stuffed animal before, but I committed myself to the task. So many mistakes and re-cuttings later, I had a humpback whale complete with cute, beady eyes and a curved, ribbed mouth. My sister-in-law sent me a picture a few weeks later of my niece clutching it while falling asleep. It warmed my heart.” – Angie Reyes, Franny & Metal
5. Give gifts that don’t warrant a specific reason or special event
“I think the most amazing gifts are those that are unexpected, the ones that are given just because.” – Karina, Marea by Karina
6. It’s all in the details
“To me, it’s the little details that make a gift truly amazing. I can feel when there has been attention and love put into each step of the gifting; the selection, wrapping and gifting. In the end, a gift must make somebody feel appreciated, like they are understood.” – Sandra, Moon & Sparrow
7. Give them something they’ll use
“When giving a gift, I like to find something that is equal parts practical and meaningful. Try finding something your loved one can use regularly, that relates to their specific interests or hobbies, and that has just a little of your own personality in it as well. That way, each time your loved one uses the gift, they will be reminded of your love for them!” – Andria, Andria Green
8. Extra points for emotive responses
“When I imagine my giftee opening their gift, I tend to consider how likely they are to tear up over it. Scale of 1-10, I try to keep my gifting at least a 6 on the tearing up scale. The more thoughtful, the better!” – Kelley, Candelles
“The difference between a good gift a great gift is how it makes the recipient feel. If you give something that not only looks great, but also connects emotionally, that, in my opinion is a great gift.” – Emmy, Emmy Trinh Jewelry
9. Cards are king
“Don’t forget a sweet note or card!” – Kelley, Candelles
10. A beautiful gift lends itself to a beautiful presentation.
“When you give a beautifully wrapped gift to someone, you make an impression in value by how it looks.” – Helene Smagala, owner of Japan-originating ribbon emporium Mokuba
“The manner of gift-giving is as equally important as the gift itself. I pay attention to the details when trying to create a beautiful presentation.” – Shiho Masuda, Japanese gift wrap guru