Unless you are socially inept, the wow-factor is what you’re looking for when you give your holiday gifts. That perfect present that makes the recipient pause and say, “Wow!”
But with a cornucopia of choices—including a seemingly endless stream of online offers — you need to consider what your gift is saying about you when it’s unwrapped.
The right gift, as consumer behavior expert Kit Yarrow has written, “can enhance connections between people.” A terrible one? Well, we’ve all had to smile graciously, while mentally distancing ourselves from someone who’s present screamed, “Clueless.”
Here’s what your “wow” gifts say about you:
While some women might be thrilled to receive a huge bottle of expensive perfume, others might interpret such an “easy” present the same way one New York writer did when her now ex-boyfriend gifted her after she spent weeks hunting down the perfect briefcase for him: “It just seemed like something he picked up at the airport duty-free store.” Ouch.
• My taste is flawless. Few things showcase a person’s status like a good watch, and these beauties from Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier (www.baume-et-mercier.com) make almost anyone look like a success. For women, the Promesse collection includes an elegant model with a black mother-of-pearl face, punctuated by Roman numerals and 69 well-placed diamonds, with a glossy alligator strap that’s thicker than a foreign empress’ accent.
“It really makes quite a statement,” says Lauren Dimet Waters of Second City Style.
For men, the gold Clifton 10058 — no diamonds adorn this one, but another thick strap — strikes a perfect balance between classic and modern. You can shop both watches at the Baume & Mercier e-boutique or by calling 1-800-MERCIER, where free wrapping and free engraving are available.
• I understand your passions. While an Italian roadster may be out of the question for most of us, there is a whole social marketing industry that offers gift certificates for “experiences,” such as a few hours behind the wheel of exotic autos. Too Le Mans for you? There’s also tandem skydiving and whitewater rafting.
• I’m cooler than you think. If you’re kids roll their eyes, and accuse you of being stuck listening to ’70s music, buy them tickets to the hottest concert in town (Hint: Britney Spears is out. One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer are in.)
One caveat: If you’re thinking of contributing to a charity in someone else’s name, make sure it’s a cause they believe in as much as you do. Otherwise, the message you may be (unwittingly) sending is, “Enough About You, It’s All About Me.”