1 Dec 2016

The Art Of Gift Giving

The Art Of Gift Giving on vickiarcher.com

There is one kind of statement I don’t ever, ever like hearing.

It is the, they-are-so-difficult-to buy-for or they-have-everything comment. Nonsense.

Everybody, even those who appear to have everything love being spoilt and cherish a gift as much as the next person. A gift doesn’t have to be expensive, overly clever or even original; a gift has to be heartfelt. A gift can be quirky, practical or even sublimely impractical but it does require thought and that is where the generosity kicks in.

The ‘generous’ part of giving is the thinking time not the price ticket.

My most loved gifts are not those bought from the most glamorous stores but those where the giving came from the heart and the giver spent time considering me.

The Art Of Gift Giving on vickiarcher.com


How do we turn gift giving into an art form?

Put yourself into the shoes of the person you are giving to.

Imagine their personal style, their home and their interests. What would give them pleasure?

Think about the gifts you have received, the most sentimental and much loved presents.

Why were they so special? What distinguishes them from others?

Don’t dismiss the small everyday luxuries.

We rarely buy the “non-essentials” for ourselves as much as we would like. How often do we look at the delicious bath gel or the scented candle and leave it behind in favour of another more practical purchase?

There can never be too many.

Originality is not the key to gift giving. A box of chocolates takes on a whole new meaning with a beautifully written note and a bouquet of pencils in a fabulous glass will always draw a smile. Don’t be afraid to give the classics, they are always well received. From my point of view there can never be enough flowers, chocolates or books? Never.

The wrapping does make the difference.

Talking time with gift-wrapping and presentation can truly elevate a gift and in particular the experience of giving and receiving.

The holidays are fast approaching and hostess gifts and Christmas presents are in front of mind. Gift giving should be the ultimate pleasure not a last minute stress and “job” to be dealt with. Sit down with a good cup of your personal favourite and spend some time thinking about the gifts you want to give and the friends who will receive them. The answers are right in front of you.

And, it is the thought that counts. xv

images, vogue paris december/january 2011/2012

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Taste of France

It’s with a heavy heart that I read this. My in-laws do not agree with it at all. The price DOES count. And the “marque”–brand–is essential. Anything that isn’t the correct marque (at the moment, Guess) might as well not have been given at all and in fact is likely to be found in the trash later. Homemade anything is worst of all. I’d just as soon skip forward to January.


That is such a shame and actually it is them who are missing out… Perhaps secretly send them my piece ;) ;) Or what’s their email I’ll do it for you … ;) ;) ;)


I trained my husband right from our early days not to give as a gift something we needed and would have to buy anyway, like a toaster to replace a broken one. If we need something like that we just buy it, we don’t give it to each other as a gift. My advice to him “Don’t buy me a toaster and I won’t buy you a drill (he’s not a handyman around the house so he’d loathe being given any kind of tool). A gift should be something we each would love but might not buy for ourselves. My favourite gifts from him are things like jewellery, perfume, a voucher for a beauty salon, a great book, a lovely potted plant. It doesn’t have to be expensive but something beautiful and imaginative.
For out grand-daughters I give a few different types of presents at Christmas. Always: something pretty to wear in colours I know they like; a toy or game that I know they will enjoy; a book or two or three to encourage their love of reading. For our son I’ve bought some great stylish clothes and also just today a $10 whoopee cushion. Because I know he and our grand-daughters will have great fun with it on Christmas Day. Don’t think they’ve ever had one before.
I always gift wrap everything too and usually buy some interesting Christmas decorations during our travels in different countries to tie on the ribbons wrapping the presents. Then the next year they’re hung on the tree. Also love to give yummy luxury Christmas food goodies – fave present for friends. Sometimes in the past I’d make them myself, nowadays I usually just buy them, like great Panforte from Siena, or special chocs or luxury teas and jams.
I’m sure your lucky family and friends will have wonderful presents from you in their stockings. Best wishes, Pamela


You are a woman after my own heart, Pamela.. :)
I get excited trying to put them all together and I love your idea of adding a decoration to the packaging…

Sharon E

I came up with a gift that the grandchildren remember. It’s my grandma reading kit. In my case I made a fleece blanket and appliqued their name on it. (You can always buy a nice fleece blanket.) As part of my kit, I enclosed an itty bitty reading lamp so that they could read under the covers, and gave them either a book or a gift card to a book shop. They have told me over and over how much they love it. I took a look at the condition of the lap blanket for the older kids, and decided to replace it. The old one has been to Europe and back, made it to sleep-overs, camping and long road trips. It was beat up. So last year they got replacements which we met with the same enthusiasm as bubbled up years ago. I think this gift would work for adults too.

Anita Rivera

PERFECTLY SAID!Yes, giving in itself is such a compliment for the receiver, and such an exercise of good will for the giver. I will never, ever forget one Christmas; my husband gave me a GORGEOUS diamond and sapphire ring. Of course I loved it and felt so spoiled. Then he followed it by a tiny little gift wrapped only in tissue paper. It was soft, light, and I could not even imagine what it was. It was a FINGER PUPPET of a rabbit. I burst into tears and laughter at the same time, and I cherish that puppet to this moment. He joked and said, “I didn’t have to buy you the diamond ring!” The tenderness and childlike thought of giving me that adorable finger puppet was worth more than a diamond ring. All the giver has to be is thoughtful and generous. Thank you, Vicki!


I know exactly what you mean, Anita.. it’s never about the extravagance, always the generosity.


I was so lucky to meet a man who loved to buy and give presents ..for any reason .
I was the recipient of large, small and always perfect, treasures. From jewelry to shoes and thank you God for sending me a man with exquisite taste in handbags :)
I don’t miss the getting a present so much now as I do the anticipation and the light in his eyes when he handed me something gift wrapped.
These days, I think the Gift was having him as my husband, all the rest is icing on the cake.


What beautiful sentiments, Candice. It sounds like he was equally gifted with you as his loving and appreciative wife. What lovely memories you and he created. Cheers, Ardith

Jenny Barton

I remember one Christmas Day when we realised that the fumes from a fire in our neighbour’s garden were drifting across to us. My husband rushed next door in a panic, to be met at the front door with a furious “What do YOU want” from the lady of the house. When he mentioned, nervously, the fact there seemed to be a fire in their garden, she snapped “That’s right! I’m burning all my b****y presents!!” My husband came back in a quietly reflective mood, and I never again received a present which might be deemed ‘useful’!


A gift out of Xmas time…just picked with love and thoughts, where the presentee knows it was given by a very attentive person who caught
a casual remark. This was my most loved gift I got from my son in his
very young age
….a looong time ago where I got a fantastic jar opener, which I have still in use and I think every time to my son when I take it into my hand


b.t.w. the vegi ladies from yesterday put a big smile on my face. A great idea
and a very talented illustrator.


I have an eighty year old friend who I love as a second mother. She has been a widow for a decade now, so I try to give to her thoughtfully. Never one to verbally express any excitement about her gifts she simply writes a nice note. She has become very difficult to buy for, stating to me, “No more jewelry, nic-knacks, (we have always sent good quality gifts; we are talking Waterford etc.) no more perfume, “. The list was long. Last year we sent to her a rather nice Michael Kors bag. I would have proudly carried this gorgeous bag. Her rather snarky comment over the phone when we spoke was, “This must be an East Coast thing.” She lives on the West coast. I was crushed. I agonize over her gifts each Christmas. My husband thinks I’m nuts to go through so much travail on her behalf, buying and beautifully wrapping for her. This year, she will receive a generous amount in a Visa gift card and a few, small gifts to open. I am out of ideas and spirit for this one after 35 years of trying. She can purchase whatever she wants with it. It still makes me sad. The rest of my Christmas is a joy; one bad apple cannot spoil the whole bunch.


For my goddaughter’s first Christmas, I made her an Angel Ornament, with the intention of making one every year. By her second Christmas, i acknowledged my crafting ideas and skills had been spent. Thus began my hunt for an unique angel every year. She is now 45 years old and her 45 different angels have earned their own tree. My 30 and 28 year old goddaughters have an angel from each year, too. Today, my “living angel girls” are no less surprised and thrilled to see the current year’s angel than when they were children. For me, the Annual Angel Hunt Challenge has become a tradition that I cherish….Of course, the angel wrapping becomes more elaborate each year – and there always must be a hand tied bow. I was taught by a wise and kind older woman: If it doesn’t have a bow, it’s not a present.


Having read the replies of others to this post, I can only agree that it is the thoughtfulness of any gift that is most significant to both the receiver and the giver of the gift. I recently returned from New Zealand where I was treated with extraordinary generosity by family and friends, many that I have known for over 30 years. Near my departure day, I received several gifts that were clearly chosen with great care. There was a coloring book with images of well-known New Zealand artists, from a friend who knew now much my sister, who passed away 7 years ago, loved learning about these artists, and how much I had learned about them from her. And there were several small gifts with New Zealand themes from my brother-in-law’s new wife, who has always been understanding of the memory of my sister and has always made me feel as welcome as a sister in her home. These gifts were chosen with love and that was what touched me when I received them. The most excited response I have received when giving a gift was the year I saved up the e-mails my sister wrote during a three month trip she and her husband took to Europe and the UK. I asked her to send me her collection of photos from the trip and then created a book from the e-mails and photos to give to my brother-in-law for Christmas. He is one of those men that has everything he needs or wants but this was something different, something that captured the memories of a wonderful time he and my sister had spent together. He was the first to call on Christmas morning to thank me for the book. I knew I had it right that time. It is the thoughtfulness, the care and the love with which gifts are chosen that matters more than cost or brand names. I am sad for people who don’t get this.


I have been utterly spoiled every Christmas I have spent with my husband (42!) Thoughtfully chosen pieces of jewelery, handbags,gift cards for the spa, perfume (he has a great nose!) Sometimes the gifts WERE utilitarian but very special…his comment being well you mentioned you would like a Cuisinart, Kitchen Aid mixer or “I noticed your other one was broken” when I found a mini whisk at the bottom of my stocking one year. He is French so food and having a well turned out wife are a priority!! As much as my husband is a bountiful, kind and generous Père Noël I think Mother Nature has him beat…one year gifting us our first son and five years later son number two….Two years ago our oldest son made a tragic attempt to take his life via a drug overdose. After a touch and go time in the ICU he came home, there were months of therapy involved and that year when he walked in the door Christmas Eve to help us celebrate (it is his birthday too) I could not think of any ‘material’ gift that could touch the shear joy of seeing that face coming through the door when just weeks before there was a chance it would never again do so… Sometimes we get so caught up in the material we forget about the many graceful blessings the Higher Powers have gifted us with. People come to my home this time of year and exclaim and comment on the extensive decor and ‘what a beautiful home you have’ and it is and I am so blessed to live there but I tell you I would live in a tin can if it meant those I love would always know peace, happiness and good health. Joyeux Noël à tous!


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