Monday, April 17, 2006

A nice article on gift giving and buying that perfect gift for someone special I found today.

Become An Absolute Whiz At Giving Gifts
by: Alma Campbell

"Darling, I LOVE IT! Its a perfect gift!" How often do we actually hear those words when we give a gift? Not often enough? Too right! The same goes when you receive a gift. How often do you say those words? You really want to love the nightgown that you have just unwrapped on your birthday morning, but it's hardly going to make you gush and swoon with excitement is it? So what is the perfect gift?
Naturally there is no such thing as the perfect gift. Getting it right depends on numerous factors. Not every person will be like your teenage son who hints two months in advance about the newest video game that he MUST have! We all want to be experts at giving gifts. At the very least, we want to hit the mark once in a while!
The easiest place to start is to understand the differences in the way men and women gift shop for each other. Here is a selection of interesting facts that you may not know:
1. Women give Christmas gifts to more people than do men. The average difference is 12.5 versus 8.
2. Women devote more time to selecting the appropriate gift, 2.4 hours per recipient versus 2.1 hours for male gift shoppers.
3. Women are more successful in finding desired gifts. 10 per cent of women's gifts are returned to the shop, as opposed to 16 per cent for gifts given by men.
4. Speed - men move faster down the aisle and spend less time looking.
5. Lists - in supermarkets men rely on them less and make more impulse purchases.
6. Decisions - when a man has something he wants he buys it. If a man takes an item of clothing into a changing room he is more than twice as likely to purchase it as a woman.
7. Price - most people check price tags, but men are less likely to do so than women.
8. Men also seem to take it as a point of pride that price does not worry them and they are much more likely to be persuaded to take a more expensive item.
9. When a man and a woman shop together the man almost always insists on paying.
10. According to observations in a home wares chain store - when a woman shops with another woman - average time in store eight minutes - when she shops with children - seven minutes - when she shops alone - five minutes- when she shops with a man - 4.5 minutes. Yet women insist on asking men to go out shopping with them.
Well we really are from different planets are we? Shopping for a gift should not be treated as a chore. It can be an enjoyable experience if you plan in advance. Here are a few points to consider before you hit the stores:
* Has the recipient of the gift mentioned anything in the last few weeks or months about what they want. It could be anything, not necessarily meant as a hint. You could be walking past a store with a friend when she stops and mentions how gorgeous those pair of shoes are and she wishes she could afford them. Bingo! If she still hasn't invested in them by the time her birthday comes along, then there is your perfect gift. (Only if you can afford it of course)
* What are the recipients interests? If he is a sports fan, then a couple of tickets to the next big game wouldn't go amiss. If he is a fan of a particular music band, then why not get him a personalized t-shirt with the band on it?
* Women love gifts that show commitment to a relationship. That does not mean go out and buy her a vacuum cleaner. If you are not quite ready to propose, then a nice piece of jewellery will guarantee to make her putty in your hands.
* Men like practical gifts. Women have a habit of buying for a partner what they would like to receive themselves. Little keepsakes, snow globes, teddies etc are for giving to your girlfriend on her birthday. Men will appreciate receiving a teddy bear with 'I love you' on it's little t-shirt but they really do not know what to do with it after the occasion is over. Its quite likely that poor little teddy will be relegated to the bunch of stuff gathering dust in his garage. Now if you bought him some power tools, they are certainly less romantic, but they have a use and to a man, that is more important.
* People enjoy receiving gifts that are more expensive than the giver can afford. It's strange but true. When we receive a gift from a loved one that seems or is really expensive, it makes us feel cherished. An expensive gift is on the same level as a well though out cheaper gift. So if you are unable to invest time in finding a perfect gift, then be prepared to break out the plastic.
Finding a perfect unique gift to fit people's personalities isn't always easy but there are a few free services out there dedicated to helping you find them. They do this by having thousands of gift ideas from the best merchants online all in one place. You can search the websites by category, if you already know what you want to buy, by occasion, or by recipient.
When you have made a decision on the gift you are interested in, you simply go to the merchants website to make the purchase. The advantage of using these free services is simple. Firstly, with these services not concentrating their efforts on trying to shift their own products the web surfer can have a completely unbiased opinion on the products they view. Secondly, they give access to thousands of products the web has to offer all in one place giving the customer more choice.
Although sceptics would insist that some holidays we celebrate today have been fabricated by the card and giftware companies to sell more products, we all enjoy receiving a valentine's card don't we?
And I will definitely be getting my mum something for mother's day . . . .
Have a happy Mother's day!
Alma Campbell is the director of Nayoby which provides the free gift idea service at http://www.nayoby.com

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