Thoughtful Gift Giving


Kids love birthday and Christmas gifts.   But would you agree that adults love surprises more than gifts?

For several years now, I have focused my gift giving to adult friends and relatives on what I call disposable gifts or experience gifts. A disposable gift is something you use up and it goes away.  It is not something that has to be stored, maintained or kept.  Examples of disposable gifts are a candle, a notepad, a bottle of wine, a really nice bottle of olive oil, a decadent body lotion, or perfume.


An experiential gift is a dinner out, a weekend getaway, taking someone to tea, going to the movies or a play.  These are something the giver and receiver can enjoy together, or the giver can give the recipient two tickets to a special event for the recipient and a guest.

As adults, our homes are decorated, our kitchens are stocked, our closets are full, so there is probably not much any of us need or want.  Generally, if we do want something, we go buy it for ourselves.


If a person collects an item, gift givers still need to be careful about purchasing something for the collection.  The recipient may already own what you buy or it may not be the exact thing they collect.  Unless the giver knows specifically what the recipient needs for their collection, they may be wasting their efforts buying a collectible.

For Christmas, members of my family have started making a list available of things we would like, which is intended to help the gift giver get something useful for the recipient.  Prices of items on the list vary, although nothing is too expensive.  The element of surprise still exists because one never knows what they will receive…from the list or not.


These next two months are the big Christmas present buying season.  I encourage you to consider giving your adult friends disposable or experiential gifts.  And remember, it is best to go big on creativity and sensible with the price tag.

What are your favorite gifts to give other adults?

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