It is Father’s Day next weekend, and Mother’s Day was only a few months ago. On top of this, there are the birthdays of not only your parents, but your siblings as well as your friends, and your children too, if you have any. With all of these dates to keep track of, it is no wonder that thinking of thoughtful gifts for all of them can suddenly start to seem overwhelming. It can be expensive too. A study in the UK found that Britons spend an average of £158 (or just over $200) each year on buying gifts for their closest friend. Over the course of a lifetime, that is about $8,600. However, the financial cost of a great friendship is immaterial. Being with that person and sharing your life with them is the greatest pleasure, and it is priceless in so far as the happiness and support that they offer cannot be bought.
The money is not really an issue because buying a gift for a friend or family member is about showing them how much you care about them and making them happy. As children, everyone gets excited about events like birthdays because it is a day where you get to have lots of fun, but also when you get to receive lots of exciting toys. As you grow older, you start to realize that the pleasure of giving a gift is way greater than receiving one. Spending a lot of time thinking about the exact thing that would make your friend happy and then seeing it happen is the greatest gift you could ask for. In fact, a study at the University of Oregon found that this is true. They used fMRI scans to show that when people gave money to charity, the parts of their brains that register pleasure showed greater activity. If you want to get a thoughtful gift for someone in your life, here are a few ideas:
There is nothing better when getting a gift than choosing something that demonstrates just how well you know the person. It can be personal, like an inside joke, or just an observation about what they are like, but it shows that you care. If you get a personalized gift, you will be able to share with your friend or family member your love for them as well as making them feel special. It could be a t-shirt design or a tote bag so that they can show off your friendship with them.
Another great way to give them a gift that they will never forget is by organizing a trip. Memories are the gift in this case, but spending time with you and discovering new things will be a more permanent joy than any physical object could hope to be. It does not need to be a trip to Europe, or a week in New York City. As long as it is special and you both enjoy it, it could be a trip to the local woods.
Why not make something yourself? Creativity is an incredibly personal thing. If you paint a picture, or write a poem, for your friend, it will once again be completely priceless (in both senses of the word) as well as thoughtful and heartfelt.