Gift-giving is no ordinary business, and there is nothing more delightful than giving a gift that makes someone else’s face light up with delight. There are the box gifts where the present is tiny and the box is big and filled with lots of paper, scraps of material, ribbons and string so that it becomes a treasure hunt, or a big box gift filled with lots and lots of small presents that are all related to an activity like a tea set or toy box or a letter-writing set.  There are  funny gifts, food gifts, adventure gifts and activity gifts, and the right gift can be found for everyone if we put some thought into the whole business (or rather art) of giving.

The Difficult Person To Purchase For

Then there are gifts for my friend. She loves debating, thinking about the grey areas in life and weighing each side of an argument . She loves reading, writing and poetry. When it comes to buying her gifts, we start moving into the realm of the impossible. She has the best of everything  in every shape and size possible, so I have to resort to creative genius when it comes to giving her gifts. I have a few other people in my life who fall into this category as well. We all do. They are the ones who we really want to give that extra special gift to, but achieving that is hard.

Two years ago, I bought this friend an art journal by artist Sabrina Ward Harrison. Instead of giving it to her straight away, I kept it for a while and filled it with my own ramblings, musings and questions. Once I had filled a satisfactory amount of pages to make it feel lived-in, I printed out a number of black-and-white photos which I slipped between the pages. I wrapped it up, placed it in a box and sent it to her. Her reaction was priceless. She set to work almost immediately: answering my questions, posing her own and leaving her doodle markings on every other page. The journal has now crossed the Atlantic twice as we have exchanged it back and forth, filling it with moments and memories. It is starting to bulge in a happy, overflowing kind of way.

One lazy Sunday morning while I was browsing through the bookshelves in Avoca coffee shop I discovered “Listography: Your Life In Lists” by Lisa Nola and Nathaniel Russell. It was a perfect gift for her.

This is a life list, a legacy and memoir all bundled into page after page of lists. Think: favourite movies, people from history you want to talk to, favourite toys from your childhood, lovers, all the cities you have spent time in and you are only just getting a sneak peek. The book is thick, and trust me, by the time you are done listing all of these things, your life might as well be caught in a snapshot in book-form.

There is a listography app too which means the lists don’t have to be confined to a book but they can accompany everyday activities and travels.

I haven’t packed and posted this gift yet but my guess is that my friend will enjoy it even more than the previous journal. I cannot wait for her to receive it. And yes, if you think about it, I bought myself a gift too because I get to enjoy all her list musings when she is done.

Seven Questions To Help You Find That Perfect Gift

So, when buying gifts for the friend who has it all, keep the following seven questions in mind:

  1. What do they love to do? 
  2. What is something they do, that very few people know about?
  3. Can you buy this person a gift that involves you, or someone they love, to enrich the experience?
  4. Will this gift be  a lasting treasure if their children and grandchildren were to discover it one day? 
  5. Will this gift last over time? 
  6. Will this gift create a lasting impression? 
  7. Will this gift create memories? 

Featured photo credit:  christmas woman with gifts box via Shutterstock

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