The Lost Art of Gift-Giving
Best Gifts For Anyone, Anytime
One local business created this special CT ornament for holiday 2016.
Photos by Jess Grutkowski
Remember when you actually had to visit a real store to buy a gift, wrap it yourself, and present it in person?
Well, those days are long gone thanks to online shopping and the giant gift-card kiosk at Stop & Shop. Now you can check off everyone on your holiday list while stocking up on toilet paper. How personal!
It’s not my goal to make you feel bad about giving a gift card. But in most cases it’s easier than you think to give a creative gift that says “I thought of you” (for more than five seconds and in the checkout line). Here are some ideas.
Don’t forget that in addition to some terrific retail in Fairfield, our neighboring towns, from Ridgefield to Wilton to Westport have charming shops, not to mention make for a nice weekend drive. Everyone loves a few items in a basket or gift bag: try a home décor gift, pair it with a high end herbal tea, the book of the moment, and a box of homemade chocolates, and you have something that makes an impression on your recipient.
Keepsake With Tree Bling
We received a box of one-of-a-kind hand-painted holiday ornaments for our wedding shower. I smile every year we trim our tree. Any special ornament is a sweet gift for a couple just starting out and creating their own traditions. Henry C. Reid Jewelers also carries ornament enhancers by Waterford. These add sparkle to the tree and showcase some of a family’s more treasured tree decorations.
Personal Is Always Better
When in doubt, add a monogram. This simple touch takes your gift from ordinary to keepsake. Several stationery shops will help you personalize everything from Lucite trays to baby clothes. Think outside of the monogram, too. Instead of initials, try a word or a special hashtag.
A Picture Is Priceless
One of my go-to gifts is a pretty picture frame featuring a memorable photo. Thanks to social media, it’s easy to grab images from Facebook or Instagram and get them printed online (Shutterfly, Print Studio, or Chatbooks). Put some extra photos inside the card for options. Trust me, it’s a winner. The mother of pearl frames at Olley Court in Ridgefield turn a simple photo into a wow factor.
Art can be personal, but it doesn’t have to be. Fairfield is home to many talented local artists offering affordable artwork neutral enough to make anyone happy. Southport mom and artist Jen Scully of Mack & Ro is known for her free-spirited watercolor and signature acrylic on canvas artwork, which now adorns the walls of The Beehive. Check out mackandroshop.com to purchase her latest limited edition watercolor map print of Southport, perfect for any Fairfield-loving local. Gift it as is, or pop it in an inexpensive frame so it’s ready to hang. (Photo left: One of Jen Scully’s signature watercolors of local places. )
Unless your guy sports a beard or brews beer at home, gifts for men can be so predictable. Try something useful and classic, like a new business card holder or sterling silver keychain from Fairfield Center Jewelers. For something out-of-the-box and more sentimental than a new tie, try framing your kids’ toddler-sized sports jerseys for your main man’s office or “cave.”
Personalized stationery is a classic and useful gift. There are infinite ways to personalize note pads—to the point you could gift everyone you know. Get your zip code emblazoned on it or dream up your own based on a favorite vacation destination, or your family members.
Gift Card Exceptions
Take a hall pass when you’re purchasing for teens; you’ll never pick the right gift. Gift cards also make sense for teachers because you shouldn’t give cash in an envelope. Otherwise, stick to gift cards that offer share-worthy experiences: dinner out, a show at a local theatre, or a massage. Grab a bunch of gift cards for “Dad’s Day Out,” complete with a gift card for his favorite cup of Joe, or a sports outing.
Wrap It Up
Don’t forget to wrap. No need for drugstore bought red and green paper. Use craft paper or recycle some of your child’s artwork then tie it off with simple ribbon (a real one) or twine.