April 13, 2008

Thank You Gifts

Due to limited resources and unlimited wants and the fact that we can't read each other's minds, a few years ago, my friends and I decided that the best gift to give each other was no gift at all. By canceling each other's presents out, we effectively saved each other the trouble of thinking of what to get and wasting resources on something that we do no want. Instead we can concentrate our resources on what WE want, which makes complete logical and economical sense to us.

But on occasions, gifts to friends are warranted. Thank you gifts for example. More specifically for me, thank-you-for-letting-me-stay-at-your-place-rent-free-while-I-visit-the-city gifts. Getting something for your host in that case seems like the polite thing to do. But what to get? That is always a huge headache. Ideally you want to get them something that they'd want/use. Some of my ideas.

For the two times that I stayed with HG in London in the last two years, I've given her the Benefit Realness of Concealness set (left) and the Caudalie eye cream (right). Do be careful giving away concealment make-up though, because anyone not so close to you may think that you are giving them a hint about their zits and dark circles. HG and I don't have this problem, but I get the feeling that it was fun to try out but not so useful in the long term. I understand. Its hard to beat the YSL touche eclat when it comes to dark circles. Ultimately I think she liked the eye cream better since it is more useful. Something more useful and in the moment, would be just to offer to pay for something that you're doing together. For example, I treated my friend to a day at Six Flags this Thanksgiving when I visited her in San Diego (yes, I went all the way to SD just so we can drive 2 hours away to LA for Six Flags). I thought she appreciated that more than if I'd given her something like face cream- especially when I don't know which one she uses!
Even easier, you can take a page from HG and my friend T's book from when they visited me in Chicago last fall, and just treat to a meal. They treated me to my favourite thing of all- steak. A genius, clean, practical and easy gesture that is MUCH appreciated. If your host is a huge family and treating them all to steak is not economical for you, try breakfast. Any meal is appreciated.

But if you encounter a super super super nice, warm and friendly host/family who would simply never let you pay for a meal (and so probably no point trying), you can always resort to chocolates. When it comes to such a situation and there is more than one host, something that everyone likes and can be shared, like chocolate, is the best one can do. These are from See's (above). Usually I'd say go for Godiva, but their site was acting weird.
Always aspiring to be personal etc, I decided to give the more personalize gift another shot. For my weekend in Boston (this weekend), I got my friend E a black and a white kohl eye liner from Mac. I know, it sounds weird. Here are two pencils, thanks. Not exactly a very present looking present. But I like to think that they will be super useful. Who does not need black eye liner? And HG and I personally think that the Mac kohl pencils are the best (we've already converted so many of our friends to it). They go on so smoothly and it smudges less than other brands that we've tried. And the white eyeliner would be perfect to try out the white eye liner trend from last season and to just subtly open the eyes. Fingers cross she'd like it!

And those are my ideas so far. What do you all generally give as thank you gifts to people? Or am I just thinking too much about this topic?

Image Source:
Sephora, Mac, See's Candies and Ruth's Chris


Blogger Alysia said...

Flowers are always nice, or a throw, or a CD or DVD, a nice bottle of wine (maybe from a trip you took) or a nice scented candle. I tend to stick to fairly safe thank you gifts, stuff I know people will like.

4/13/2008 8:59 AM  
Blogger Knikki said...

I always offer to pay for gas.

4/13/2008 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Fashion Addict said...

I'd give them gift cards. That's what I usually do, but you also have to be careful because they may get offended, sometimes! By the way, I love your blog!

4/13/2008 11:25 AM  
Blogger alis said...

Something sweet, like assorted chocolates or a pretty cake, even a box of turkish delight is good. The beauty of the box and packaging is really all that matters. I'd say stay away from beauty products because they're too tiny to look as nice gifts, and also because beauty products that come to me as gifts usually end up in the bathroom cabinet, never to be used.

4/13/2008 8:39 PM  
Blogger Fashion Tidbits said...

fantastic post! i'm considering getting that MAC white kohl. do you know how much it is?

4/13/2008 9:41 PM  
Blogger Blackberry said...

I choose my gifts depending on who the person is. A close friend I would probably get them something practical too like makeup. I once received H20's eye gel and I wasn't offended at all! I only buy gift certificates when I really can't think of anything or don't have the time. I always feel giving gift certificates is like giving cash - totally practical but impersonal. Other suggestions: Designer Coffee or Tea, Fruit Basket, Cheese, Tickets to the theatre, concert or sporting event.

4/13/2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger Tulz said...

The chocolates were delicious...they're all finished now. And if I remember correctly, you did end up buying me a meal somewhere.

4/14/2008 4:54 AM  
Blogger AR said...

These are all really good ideas! It's always hard to think of gift ideas - I'm awful at buying gifts. For me the safest bet is taking someone out to dinner at their favorite restaurant or one I think they'll love. Thanks for the tips tho!

4/14/2008 5:11 AM  
Blogger Juliet said...

Oh, gifts. At the same time I hate and love them. Nothing as difficult as finding great gift and nothing as great than when you give a gift that really is loved.

juliet xxx

4/14/2008 8:45 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

i guess it kind of depends on how "big" the event was for me to give a thank-you gift.
if it's not too big of a deal, i usually give something simple and practical, like a gift card or something.
if it's more personal, chocolates are always perfect (godiva definitely!), or sometimes i give the person a makeup item or two that's quite basic/essential and very useful, like what you said about the eyeliner.

4/14/2008 9:30 AM  
Anonymous savvygal said...

I try to tailor the gift to the person. After all, a gift should be considerate and no-regifting please. But, if all else fails, I would give gift cards or a big box of chocolate from Godiva.

4/14/2008 9:56 AM  
Blogger rina said...

For what it's worth, I think that the restaurant idea is fantastic: I always love when visiting friends treat me to a dinner. It's something we get to do together, and it nearly always leads to more memorable moments from their trip!

4/14/2008 2:07 PM  
Blogger Asian Models Blogger said...

The best gifts I've ever gotten are magazine subscriptions. My family and friends get me subscriptions to Vogue, HB, Elle, NYMag, etc every year now.

They are cheap (most are under $30) and they keep coming every month for the entire year.

4/15/2008 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Kary Rivera said...

Great post, I totally agree on your view of gift giving. It should be spontaneous and come from the heart. Very good suggestions.

4/16/2008 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

I got a gorgeous little guardian angel pendant. The best gifts are ones with a meaning.

4/16/2008 7:42 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

I usually pay for a lunch or dinner, then always offer to pay for cocktails wherever we go, as well as send a thank you note! Flowers are not only beautiful, and unexpected, but when do women ever recieve flowers other than Valentines day?

4/17/2008 2:01 AM  
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4/18/2008 8:52 AM  
Blogger Her said...

I look for rare finds in 3 local boutiques that I'm a frequent shopper of. Also, boutiques r good @ giving xtra special service & they always wrap the gifts well.

4/19/2008 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Harisnya said...

nice blog.
my cake is chocolate, my tights too.

4/22/2008 1:42 AM  
Anonymous Luke said...

I always make mental notes when a friend says they like/need something. Otherwise, i stick to safe gifts - chocolate or wine usually.

4/22/2008 5:16 AM  
Blogger Great Gifts said...

Great post. Take an interest in your friends likes/dislikes and it's usually easy to choose a simple gift for them.

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