Love ceases to be a puzzle the moment you find the missing piece.

 ~ Olaotan Fawehinmi

How do you find the perfect gift? What’s the secret to truly delivering a knockout present? Why are some people more difficult to give to than others?

Well, this is the time of the year when we tend to think about such things, so it’s worth putting a little attention on the topic. As you well know, a well-timed and thoughtful gift far surpasses a big pile of useless junk or an impersonal gift card any day.

Some people are super easy to buy for. See my column from a few weeks ago about collectors. If your friend has 500 Elvis Presley figurines, it’s a safe bet that they’re going to be happy with 501.

Any given gift conveys a measure of thoughtfulness. There are gifts of love. There are gifts of convenience. There are gifts of duty. There are gifts that carry on traditions. There are gifts that sparkle, dazzle, and amaze. There are useful gifts that suit their function. Some gifts are soon forgotten, while others are cherished forever.

The act of giving can be a tricky one. When it’s wrapped up in layers of obligation, it can be downright daunting. But when you get it just right, there’s a sense of satisfaction blended with gratitude unlike any other.

When it comes to things like birthdays or end-of-the-year holidays, it pays to take a year-round approach. In other words, don’t wait for the last minute! If you can develop the habit of listening closely between the lines of conversations you’ll notice opportunities ahead of time. That’s when you want to either sort it out right away or make a note to yourself.

My track record with birthday and holiday giving over the years is far from perfect. At times, I’ve been known to drop the ball entirely. So when I had a great idea months ahead of Isabelle’s birthday this year, I was super excited!

For the past few years, I’ve watched her Puzzlapy project grow and prosper. It turns out that there are extremely enthusiastic collectors of hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles throughout the world.

As we noticed the far-flung destinations that her puzzles were being shipped to the idea occurred in passing to keep track on a map. Her puzzles have found homes all over the eastern seaboard, in the UK and France, Australia, South Africa, and most recently, Abu Dhabi.

As her birthday approached I was hoping she wouldn’t come up with a map on her own. I found a place online that makes personalized antique-looking wall map pin boards and set to work. As the big day approached, I couldn’t help but drop hints that I was really excited about her birthday.

Suffice it to say, she was more than surprised. The “Around the World with Puzzlapy” pin-board map pushes all the useful, thoughtful, and surprising gift buttons. Plus it will be with us for years.

Not every gift is going to come together with such a story. But with good listening habits you can pull off a good one like this every once in a while!

Much love till next Monday!


Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

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