How a present is presented can increase the impact of an otherwise simple gift.
WHAT TO GIVE | To give someone a gift they’ll remember forever, it doesn’t need to be anything particularly expensive or fancy. Something everyday ordinary—obvious even, like balloons—can make an unforgettable gift when it’s packaged and presented in an extravagant way that puts it over the top.
Of all the birthday parties she had as a child, and some of them were pretty fancy, the one that stands out for my daughter was her sixth. That year we papered the ceiling in our living room with multicoloured helium-filled balloons, each one tied to a strand of curling ribbon long enough for her and her friends to snap the balloons down quick then let them float slowly back up to the ceiling. You can find helium-filled balloons at the Dollar Giant for $1.25 each.
I once received a host of golden daffodils as a hostess gift—and I do mean a multitude of flowers, maybe 100 stems. What a wonderful idea for a gift in April when daffodils are cheap as borscht at every corner store. While giving someone a single bunch of daffs might seem unimaginative (not that I’d reject any flowers, ever), presenting them with copious quantities of these ordinary blooms will cause them to go into colour shock. Mine came arranged in three large, clear glass containers, which when pushed together on a low table looked like a giant yellow sun. Find inexpensive daffodils everywhere, cheap clear glass containers at IKEA.
If you know a friend loves a particular subject—cooking, for example—why not give him or her the gift of a super stack of books guaranteed to feed their interest. A cache of preowned books (10 volumes would be the minimum for big impact), particularly old, obscure or esoteric titles by long-gone writers—will provide the receiver welcome food for thought. Find gently used books on every subject at abebooks.com. —Ruth Rainey