How to Buy The Perfect Gift

Corre Ferguson, a psychologist, laughingly reminded me that she grew up in The Hospitality State, Mississippi. “My mom’s best friend told me that, if you have a guest room in your home, you spend the night in it so you can understand what might make it more comfortable. That’s the way I think about giving a gift.”

“I think as empathically as I can what their life might be like and if there is something

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that would bring them some pleasure and let them know I’m thinking of them.”

Corre’s Tips on Buying a Gift.  Ask Yourself:

1. What can you afford? You are not doing anybody any favor if you get into credit card debt. It doesn’t take a lot of money to let someone know that you thought about them.

2. What is their situation? When one of my nieces turned 15, I knew she felt that it was important to wear the ‘right’ clothes for high school. We sent her a gift card to a place on the web that caters to teen age girls (they live in a small town).

3. What

is their stage of life? When my brother was newly separated, a really good gift for him was steaks by mail. He was learning to cook for himself.

4. What is their taste? I don’t want to impose my own taste, so I try to think of something where you can’t go wrong. Everyone likes flowers, especially people who live in the city, or wine is a pretty safe bet. I try really hard to think about the person rather than choosing something that I want them to have.

5. Is it a family gift? People can be inundated with food, so one year, I decided to get everybody a movie that the family could. What movie? We tried Netflix but we got a notice from them that nobody was using their gift certificates. Oh well…

Some gifts say more about the sender. Parents send children messages about who they want their kids to be; what they think you are lacking. When I graduated from college, I tended bar and lived in one room over a restaurant. That year, I would have appreciated almost anything. Almost.  My mother sent me a business suit, lovely, but I kept thinking that I really needed health insurance. If you tend bar, you walk home late and probably need a canister of mace, not a suit that says, “I’d like you to be doing something else, please.” That’s hurtful.

And, Corre told me, “I have slept in my guest room.”


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