As the holiday season approaches, gift cards seem like the perfect solutions to our last-minute shopping excursions and hard-to-buy-for relatives. However, every year, millions of dollars worth of gift cards go unused. Jeannie Vaage, etiquette expert and owner of VIP Protocol, has some ideas for unique gifts that your friends and family will truly appreciate.
Keep It Local
Catering a gift to someone’s personality doesn’t have to mean scouring the city for obscure items. Knowing that you went to a local store already makes a present more personal. “You can give them a box of chocolates that you see at all the big department stores, but it means a lot more if it’s from that new chocolatier down the street,” says Vaage.
Tip: Edmonton has a plethora of local chocolatiers including Jacek Chocolate Couture, The Violet Chocolate Company, Sweet Lollapalooza and Carol’s Quality Sweets.
For The Host
If you find yourself invited to a holiday party this season, you’ll want a little something to thank the host. Wine is always a good option but Vaage also suggests a candle or even some fun cocktail napkins. “If you really want to give them something special, send them flowers the day before their event.”
Focus On Experiences
Consider finding a gift that offers the recipient an experience, instead of just an expendable item. Tickets to high tea at the Hotel Macdonald or a trip on the Stettler train will be more appreciated than something that will end up taking up space in the back of someone’s closet.
Give The Gift Of Time
If you want to gift something practical that you know the recipient will use, Vaage suggests gifting that person a service. You could hire a concierge for a few hours to run errands, organize a closet or do other unwanted tasks around the house. Taking chores off his or her mind gives a person more time to do what he or she loves.
If You’re Desperate
If you’re short on time and still want to go for the gift card, step up the presentation. Vaage says that incorporating an element of anticipation will elevate the experience and “change the feel of the gift card.” Instead of sticking it in a card, find a gift bag or a box and wrap it up.
This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.