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Giving a Better Gift: Thinking Outside the Gift Box

We here at Tell Me More Gift love giving great gifts. But what makes a great gift?

A great gift makes the giftee feel considered, understood, and cared for.

One way to do this is to give something that connects to experiences you share.

Giving is about more than the gift; it’s about giving an experience. A memory. A physical, visible tether to another human somewhere in the world. This is especially important in a time of physical separation.

We want to help people feel connected, and to help others show care while thinking outside of the box--literally.

How To Use Shared Experiences In Gift Giving

Think about important memories that you share with the giftee. Common keywords that can jumpstart creativity are: food, vacations, inside jokes, fandoms, locations, music, dance, and sports.

Consider your shared experiences with the giftee. Also make note of your budget and any allergies or sensitivities of the giftee.

Let’s look at an example. Angelica (Giver) and Alexander (Giftee) used to work together at a teahouse. Frequently, after their shifts, they would go indoor rock-climbing. After the quiet of the teahouse, they liked to do something with more noise and sweat. Though they had fun at work, they shared the most laughter and stories after work in the rock-climbing gym. This is where they talked about their families and realized just how much they have in common. Though they no longer work together, they still connect for physical activities and to occasionally go to outdoor concerts.

We’re left with a gift that could involve rock climbing, concerts, tea, or some combination of all. A gift can carry extra meaning if it is multifaceted; so, if there’s a lot of overlap between the categories of shared experiences, that’s a good thing! Try to think of gifts that might hit all or as many as possible of the shared experiences. However, if there isn't a lot of crossover between the categories, that’s fine! Focus on the one you’re most comfortable with and/or the one that is most special in the relationship.

Skip the gift-card, voucher, or knick-knack. These can often feel generic, rather than making the giftee feel special. And Angelica suspects that Alexander's well-known love of tea means that he already owns an array of tea-related items.

In this example, let’s stick with rock climbing. Though it's only one piece of what Angelica shares with Alexander, it is the aspect that carries the most stories, memories, and connections. Since Alexander is already an avid climber, he probably has the basic supplies covered, so Angelica could find something within the category of rock-climbing but a bit outside the box. For example, a tester trio of the most popular climbing chalks from a local, independent maker of rock climbing gear. One of our team members actually gave this as a gift to a climber and it was a hit!

Pro Tip: If the giftee is very knowledgeable (such as a teacher or avid hobbyist in the subject) consider going with a gift that doesn’t have to do with this passion topic. Why? There's a good chance that they already own key related items or that they have expert knowledge in whats makes a good versus less good gift in that category that you may not know. Instead, think about a second or third hobby of theirs or other shared experiences.

We snuck in another detail there: these days more than ever, we feel it’s important to support small businesses, especially those run by BIPOC. There are resources like or you can use another reference list of similar businesses to try to give support with your spending. That way, it’s a gift within a gift because not only did you find something meaningful for someone you care about, but you supported a small business...and ALSO introduced your giftee to that business.

The cycle of giving really never ends. We just find ways to pay it forward.

What If I Don't Know the Person Well or They Have Everything

This is a common concern we hear. Maybe you met recently or just haven't had many shared experiences in that relationship. Or maybe you have had many shared experiences, but you know that the giftee seems to have everything, plus a pair of socks!

Don't worry. We will address this in future blog posts!

Exercise (don't worry, it's only for the brain)

Think about the best gifts you have received which referenced shared experiences.

Consider a great gift you could give using this method.

Still feeling stuck when seeking a great gift? You could always order a gift from Tell Me More! :)

Happy gifting!

--The Tell Me More Gifts Team

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