Growing up Jewish, I never entirely understood the fuss around Christmas. After all, rather than just one evening and day of winter holidays, we got eight full days and nights. Of course, that didn’t mean that we got a haul of gifts each night — we got smaller gifts, which sometimes added up into one big gift.
More than once, I got all the books or movies in a series, spread out with one volume gift-wrapped for each night. But it’s possible to bring a little more imagination to creating a gift that you can spread out over eight nights.
The Parts That Make Up the Whole
Some of the best gifts given over eight nights have very small pieces but make up a wonderful whole. Consider the pieces that go into a great home spa experience, like moisturizers, scrubs, and perhaps even some relaxing music. There are far more than eight items that could be turned into gifts that build up into the perfect home spa day.
Thinking about your gift in terms of its smallest parts can be a difficult process, but if you start with an anchor gift — something that will let you determine what will fit into the puzzle — you’ll have a much easier time. If, for instance, your intended recipient has a favorite fragrance, finding other gifts that won’t clash with that scent will narrow down your options quickly.
A New Experience in a Basket
Whether a friend has already mentioned plans for a New Year’s resolution or a family member wants to jump into a new hobby, you can gift them with a kit that will get them jump-started. Taking up running, for instance, requires some planning to get started. A new water bottle never goes amiss, an app to help the new runner track her progress is often useful, and even a promise to go running together on a particular day can delight your loved one.
Specific gifts should make up at least part of your whole gift, but the right gift certificate or offer to experience something together can add a certain touch. But if you overload your gift with certificates, you may not get the impact you’re looking for.
Think in terms of how to make it easier for the recipient to get full use out of what you’re giving them — whether that means including the help of a babysitter for the evening or providing some motivation — rather than how to make shopping easier on yourself.
Start With What You Know
Especially since you’re planning on giving someone a whole series of gifts, you want to be sure that you’re giving them exactly what they want rather than a selection of items they could have done without. Given how much information many people share online these days, though, you can often find a good starting point online.
Consider Pinterest boards: you can tell a lot about the person you want to give presents to if she uses Pinterest. You can get a sense of what colors and styles she loves and even find out if there’s a project that she wants to take on.
For someone who may have just transitioned into a new living situation — like a college student living in her first apartment — putting together just a few of the homey touches she might have pinned to her Pinterest account or mentioned elsewhere online can be the perfect gift. For many people, it’s easy to decide what we like but harder to take the time to find the right pieces, making the right pillows and knickknacks a particularly thoughtful gift.
A Surprise is Rare
Unfortunately, with eight night’s worth of clues, it’s incredibly rare for anyone to put together a collection of gifts that add up to something amazing and still have a big surprise on that last night.
If surprising a recipient is your goal, you might not want to give him or her that much time to think. But if you know the person you’re giving gifts to well, a lack of surprise may not be a problem: you may be able to put together a set of gifts that he or she will enjoy, no matter the surprise level.
Photo Credits: biberta, author, swanksalot, author, and author.