Giving Good Gifts: Perfect Pairings
Consider us your giving coach. Our Giving Good Gifts series is officially launching today! Along with our new Creator Series we have wanted a way to help you become a master of giving. Think of this series in the way you think of your favorite cookbook or influencer chef. We are here to do more than inspire with delicious images. We will coach you along the way and give you "recipes" for highly successful giving.
Almost two years ago, in the height of the pandemic, I shared some of my secrets for giving here. Those concepts come naturally to some but you can be taught how to transform your giving and become a memorable giver. That is our goal. For more of the reasons why giving well is as helpful to the abundant life as staying fit and eating well, refer to that same article. With that re-introduction to the series, I am excited to share with you your assignment for this month's class.
The most memorable givers in my life have been masters of curation. Just like a remarkable chef, it's the combination of ingredients, along with the quality of each part, that brings together a delicious dish. A bouquet of flowers acts in the same way. One type of flower at its best can make a stunning arrangement alone, but a thoughtful combination of different blooms is worth turning into a dutch painting. The same goes with gifts.
Remember, quality has more to do with how something is made, where it comes from, how it represents its true self, and less to do with cost. We have all had a waxy or grainy tomato kept for weeks in the fridge. It bears no resemblance to the big juicy heirloom version grown in the garden, sliced, and enjoyed still warm from the sun. Identifying a few quality ingredients is key to a good gift.
Start Simple: A Card
One of the simplest ways to become a good giver is to always start with a card. Finding the right card can be an enjoyable challenge. Give yourself some time. I know many people who are fantastic at perusing the whole grocery isle still dedicated to cards. I love that this still exists and taking time to stand there reading poetry and thinking of loved ones is a lost art in itself. I would love to help upgrade their offering but until then we have a collection of cards for most occasions that in themselves are heirloom worthy.
Our letterpressed cards by Oblation Papers are our card of choice. Watch for a Creator Series on their materials and processes to come. Lovely cards that cover most the big events of life and have some more everyday cards like Many Thanks, Cheers, and Thinking of You. We love the colors, materials, detailed ornament and that they are paired with literary references that make you pause and think. We have found this set to be our perennial favorite.
Here are some simple pairing ideas for each of these cards to get the giving part of your brain and heart a little nudge:
Congratulations Upon Your Graduation: Give with a roll of cash or and Heirloom Art Co. Gift Card to settle into home and life on their terms.
I didn't address the cards for holidays like Valentine's and Christmas but these may be the most poignant times to take the time and write a card. Please make that time. It will do wonders.
Watch for the next installment for this series where we discuss how to write a memorable card.
Go Deep: Books!
Books make a wonderful gift but have a bad "wrap" (haha) because they can be boring or ugly and often times are not paired well to the recipient. But don't be dismayed.
First, we try to only carry the most aesthetically pleasing, hardbound, worthy-as-a-gift version of any book. Unfortunately, there are wonderful books that aren't being published beautifully (yet!), but their content is worth it. A few books that are worth reading, despite less than perfect exceptions like the last of David Grayson paperbacks in print and one of my personal favorite gifts to pair with these brass telescopes. If You Want to Write, is not pretty but the content is too good to pass up, especially for a budding writer. It is educational and incredibly thoughtful. Pair this with a leather journal or writing notebook and a fountain pen.
For the most part you should start with a book that is rich in content and beautiful on the shelf or bedside table. We love this new edition of The Hiding Place, a WWII autobiography on the Ten Boom family in Holland. Pair this book with a poppy brooch or a Dutch storytile. Looks aside, content is truly king. Do your homework! If you have not read the book (which happens to parents all the time) at least talk to others you trust or who are similar to your recipient. Reach out, read reviews and make sure you are giving a good experience. Books can be transformative and transportive so make sure those experiences will uplift and be referred back to again and a gain.
We collaborated with a small family shop in Germany to make a series of heart bookmarks. Our intent was to help you spruce up your book-gift with something that would regularly remind the recipient of you and why you gave them that particular book.
I'm happy to be one of your trusted friends in recommending books. Here are the books I love to pair with each of the Brass Heart Bookmarks:
Hearty Thanks: I like you or chocolate again!
Bosom Friend: Anne of Green Gables of course! So many versions to choose from
Take Your Time: David Copperfield. So long...so worth it!
From the Heart: Anything Jane Austen
Remember Me: The Alchemist
Follow Your Heart: Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
Get Creative and Thoughtful: Pair to personality
Our previous article gave you lots of ideas on how to be independent in your gift-giving without the prescriptive examples above. We all start somewhere and it is something I am constantly refining. Especially for those that I give to most often.
Here a few more examples of favorite things I love to give in the shop and who I give them to:
The Garden Bell and a Flower press (small or large). I love this pairing for many reasons. Both are extremely well made, charmingly simple to use and display, and will be used for generations and by all kinds of people. Gifts that help your loved one spend time connecting with nature, create rituals, and slow down are always welcome. If I were going all out, theming, or scheming a big gift with multiple givers, I would go even further and include any number of things from our garden collection. The Art and Craft of Garden Making, Ash Wood Secateurs and Botanical Shakespeare would be near the top.
For kids I love the Sibylle Von Olfers books paired with puzzles or games. Butterfly children with this puzzle for youngsters or this one for someone a little older. Root children with potting tools, Wind children with homeschool gadgets and Snow children with surprise snowballs or a slingshot with white felt ammo. You could pair The Mushroom Folk by ...with this adorable doll as well.
Pairings tell a Story
Let your pairings tell the story, describe the person, honor their goodness, or inspire their aspirations. Transformative experiences are the very best gifts. Even those should be paired with something to remember it by. A photo album is the obvious choice but get creative about what will help you recall the experience for years to come.
Gifts that make us think, act and become forge a deep connection to the giver that can't be replicated by the latest gadget or newest entertainment. Don't get us wrong. We love gadgets and being entertained but most people work that stuff out for themselves. We encourage you to give something that truly uplifts and takes your loved one on a journey to a higher plane of thought or a new and exciting vista, even if it is from the comfort of their own home.