We read a book that said the purpose of gifts lies not in the gift itself, but in the joy you receive by giving. It’s true that giving brings joy, but there’s a special kind of happiness when you know you’ve found that perfect gift. The one that’s so screamingly right for your friend, you’re worried she has it already. That’s the kind of giving that brings us joy. Yes, it’s the thought that counts. But a really great gift counts more. In that spirit, we’ve compiled a few gift ideas that will bring both you and your friend happiness. The special kind.
A Desk Survival Kit
This is for your overworked co-worker or friend, the one who never leaves her desk for lunch. Find a cool box or basket and fill it with classy snacks: Candy. Crackers. A jar of jam from Emily G’s. A stick of salami from Alon’s Bakery. Plus some non-food staples, like a bottle of dry shampoo (for those days she doesn’t even have time to shower) and a hand-painted mug from Spruill Gallery (great salami holder). If you can fit “just one night with her husband without the iPhone” or “her only child’s first birthday party that she missed for a pitch in Poughkeepsie” in the basket, add that too.
Tickets to a Show
Sometimes the best gift is the one you can’t wrap. Something that can’t fit in a drawer or on a wall or in a box under the bed. It goes in your heart, to carry with you forever. OK, on with it: Get her tickets to a show. One at Stage Door Players, and dinner before. Or maybe she’s had Phish tickets in her Stubhub cart for three months. First, have some real talk about her Phish obsession. It’s not cute. Then buy her the tickets and take her to the show because you’re a good friend and you want her to be happy. Even if it means three hours of Phish in Atlanta.
An Original Piece of Art
There’s something empowering about buying original artwork. You’re refining your taste, you’re supporting someone’s creative pursuits, you’re investing in something you intend to keep for a long time. Come to think of it, buying art is a pretty personal thing. You should know a friend well before getting it for her. But even if you miss the mark, the piece will be meaningful because it will remind her of you. And, if she absolutely hates it, she can just hang it in her bathroom.
The Perfect Day
A full day to yourself is a rare luxury. Even more satisfying than experiencing one, though, is making one possible for someone else. Offer to babysit her kids or fold her laundry so she can get out and spend a day just for her. You could even create an itinerary filled with everything she loves to do, but rarely gets to: one hour reading in the hammocks at the Dunwoody Nature Center, two hours at Woodhouse Day Spa, two minutes devouring gelato at Novo Cucina, et cetera.