Why Bolder Gifts Are Better Gifts

Here’s how you can leave safe-but-basic presents behind and take a chance on a gutsy gift. (Hint: Your recipient will thank you for it.)

We’ve all been there: A birthday party or another celebration is looming on your calendar, and your gift ideas? Zilch. So you opt for the default flowers or wine. While both can technically make solid gifts, wouldn’t it be nice to give a gift that lives up to the moments you’ve shared together? And why are we, collectively, afraid to go there?

“Some people panic when they have to buy a gift, which causes them to buy something that seems easy and safe,” says Cheryl S. Grant, a lifestyle expert known as the Gift Guide Goddess.

Or the issue might be (looking at you, procrastinators) when you choose to shop. “A lot of times people wait until the last minute,” Grant says, “and then they just grab a gift card at the checkout line of the supermarket.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. First, with GiftNow’s instant digital delivery—the recipient gets a text or email as soon as you purchase their gift—you can always send an inspired present and still be right on time. And there are benefits to breaking out of a gift-giving rut.

“If you gift something bold, it can make the recipient feel like you really put a lot of thought into the gesture. We all like to feel appreciated. And a bold gift doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to be thoughtful.”

Cheryl Grant, a lifestyle expert known as the Gift Guide Goddess

Happily, the secret to gift giving is quite simple: Be a good listener. Listen to the recipient talk about what they love, what they’re wishing for, or what is missing from their life. Maybe your friend has been complaining about her bare walls. Give her a few gallons of paint and an afternoon of your time to spruce up her apartment, or a piece of art or photography. Even if she doesn’t love the art you picked out, she might just learn something new about her style preferences (which can be a gift in and of itself). And remember, if you GiftNow her the gift, she can exchange for a different piece of art that perfectly fits her decor, before it ships.

If your plus-one always has cold hands on your dates, buy her cozy wool gloves. If your loved one has been busy with work or family and doesn’t find the time to cook, give them a food delivery subscription. “If the person is fascinated by airplanes, it’s very easy to book an airplane flying lesson or even a skydiving lesson,” Grant says. “And people never forget those types of gifts.”

Gifts don’t need to break the bank to be successful. Think about your friend or loved one. Are they coffee obsessive? A chocolate aficionado? A wine connoisseur? Do they love to indulge in beauty products or collect quirky socks? Compile a few small things to make an inexpensive gift based on their favorite things. It shows you’ve paid attention to what they like—and you can even throw in something homemade, too. “Doing something personal like that goes a long way,” says Grant.

If you’re still focused on the what ifs—What if he doesn’t like it? Am I wasting money? Do I need a gift receipt?—remember that the gift-giving exchange is a two-way street. And a survey of about 5,000 gift givers found that recipients preferred riskier gifts, a gift-giving tidbit uncovered by Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, and Kristen Berman, co-founder of a behavioral design company called Irrational Labs. Indeed, recipients want gift givers to take more leaps. Plus, gift givers underestimated how much people would like their risky presents, Ariely and Berman wrote in a magazine article about the survey results. (The survey was sponsored by Loop Commerce, the parent company of GiftNow.)

So, keep that in mind the next time you’re about to pick up a bouquet: Everyone can win when you go bold and opt for a daring present.

Still debating a bold gift? Remember that when you shop at your favorite online stores and send a gift through GiftNow, your friend or loved one can always make an exchange, before the item even ships.

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