Prompted: Giving the Gift of Delight
Gifting, delight, practicality, and interactions with others.
I hope you’re enjoying some time off to relax, decompress, and spend time with your family. Christmas has become all about gifts over the years so today, we’ll take a closer look at different mindsets behind gifting.
Giving the Gift of Delight
Some gifts are big. Others are small. But the ones that come from the heart are the best gifts of all.
Christmas has become primarily about gifts. Although there are many unfavorable things I could say about the commercialization of Christmas, I think the focus on gifts has some positive impact if we look at things from the right perspective.
The best gifts (in my opinion) are the ones we would never buy for ourselves but are still delightful surprises. While socks are important and highly functional, when they run out we tend to replace them on our own. As such, socks as a gift feel more like a transaction than a thoughtful present.
Gourmet olive oil on the other hand is highly impractical and something most people would never buy for themselves. But, for those who enjoy cooking, or love olive oil, it’s a delightful gift because it opens a door to creating new experiences and enriches someone’s life in a way that would never have occurred without the gift.
Inherent in the ability to give good gifts is knowing the person we are gifting to. Without knowing someone, it’s difficult to understand what they truly enjoy, but don’t indulge in themselves.
This view on gifting is certainly relevant around the holidays, but it’s also something we can keep in mind throughout the year.
Practical and transactional interactions are easy and feel productive, but leave others wanting more. Thoughtful, and oftentimes impractical interactions, leave others surprised and delighted.
Although we’re not buying gifts for other people all year round, we’re always interacting with people we care about. To be a better friend, significant other, sibling, coworker, mentor, etc. we can adopt the same mindset that works with gifts.
We can focus on meaningful experiences rather than transactional interactions.
Instead of heading to a party with 10 friends, we can invite one friend to coffee and create an opportunity for a deeper conversation. Instead of a normal date night at a restaurant, we can plan an afternoon doing something our partner loves, but never makes the time for.
Most of the time practical and tactical are necessary for everyday life, but the more we can introduce thoughtful, impractical, and delightful experiences the more we can perpetuate the comforting feelings of caring and warmth that we’ve come to love about the holidays.
What is one role in your life or a relationship in which you’d like to create more delightful experiences?
What is one practical or tactical event or experience that you can make more thoughtful and meaningful?
How can you truly delight whoever is involved? What would they never do for themself?
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A brief investigation of different incentive structures and how we react to them.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.
I really like your idea of creating and even simply acknowledging “delightful surprises” throughout the year. Here’s to a delightfully surprising 2023!