September 2013- Giving the Perfect Gift September 01 2013

Giving a Personal Gift

Giving the perfect gift is a joy and challenge to me. I strive to find gifts that are beautiful, personal and lasting and present them in a thoughtful way. Here's my advice for putting together the right little collection, right down to the gift wrap, for an occasion to honor friends or family.

1) COLLECTING I am continually collecting things that I love, whether it is finding a small object at a shop, picking up a pine cone on my path, taking a photograph, writing an idea in my book or grabbing a postcard next to a bulletin board at the coffee shop. This gathering is usually inspired by thinking about a particular person in my life, in advance of a birthday or celebration.

2) ORGANIZING When I return home I like to organize what I have found, often adding to a collection that has already been started. Thanks to my penchant for collecting I rarely find myself in a scramble for a thoughtful gift.
3) GET INSPIRED My favorite part of creating a personalized gift is pouring the collection on to my desk and tying it all together. I start by clearing the physical space to lay it all out, as well as clearing my mind so that I can focus. I prefer to do this in the early morning, with a cup of coffee and instrumental music to help create the right atmosphere. Perhaps most importantly, I try to ensure that I will have plenty of uninterrupted time. My style of gift giving doesn’t lend itself to last minute, running-out-the-door-to-the-party timing.   Lay out all you’ve collected to inspire some thoughtful words (or perhaps you’ve already jotted down some thoughts or a quote or poem on a little scrap of paper). Find or sketch images that remind you of the recipient.

4) GATHER Collect supplies for putting it all together that tie in with a general theme of the gift (wrapping paper, scissors, ribbon, glue, tape, etc). Be creative in selecting supplies: twigs, yarn, fabric, string, newspaper, objects found in nature, etc.

5) TIE IT ALL TOGETHER Think of a way to integrate the words and images into the package. Some ideas:
  • Type the words on a piece of translucent paper and glue them on the wrapping paper.
  • Make a collage on a card incorporating the words and images.
  • Use a brown paper bag and glue on images and use a sewing machine to stitch into an envelope.
  • Hand-sew some words on a strip of felt to create a gift tag.
6) CHOOSE THE PERFECT PAPER Pick the right wrapping material for the item, determined by the shape — tissue paper for the odd-shaped items and wrapping paper to make clean folded creases for items with straight edges.
7) CAREFUL CRAFTSMANSHIP Use a glue stick instead of tape for perfect overlaps.
8) CREATE A PATH TO FOLLOW If there is an order to how items should be opened, consider numbering the gifts with a little tag, or using the letters of the recipient’s name, to be opened in order.
9) LET THE EVENT GUIDE YOUR PRESENTATION If I am hosting, I will often incorporate the little parcels into a centerpiece or table setting. If I am bringing a gift, I will tie them up in a bag of some sort, similarly personalized.
Two of my favorite things are giving gifts and summer time, which is no coincidence. The sun is positively one of life’s greatest gifts and not a day goes by that I don't try to get the absolute most out of it. As the season draws to a close, I cherish it even more. ~ Alison Kaplan, Founder of Kata GoldaX