How do you… Give a good birthday present?

It was my birthday last month. 28, no biggie. I was lucky enough to spend the vast majority of the weekend feasting at assorted eateries around town with family & friends.

While I’d never turn down a present, this year’s gifts were especially excellent. Personal, thoughtful and fun, there’s too many lessons to be had to not share some of my spoils!

Lesson #1: Think vintage

Vintage gear isn’t everyone’s jam but there’s a lot to be said for a gift that’s a one-of-a-kind with a story to tell.

From my grandmother, I got this Whiting & Davis Co purse. Still in its original box with tissue paper stuffing and all, she wasn’t sure if I’d like it but thought she’d pass it along anyway. When I called her to thank her and find out more about it, she told me she hardly used it for fear of wrecking it. She spotted it in a shop window back in the 1960s and knew she had to have it. She said my grandfather was happy to buy it for her but she wanted to pay for it herself – she wanted it to be all hers. “I bought it with my own money; it was a big deal back then.”

Vintage bag

Lesson #2: Get creative with presentation

Why always settle on a boring old giftbag? Pimp your pressie with fun packaging!

Groping through the giftwrap, it seemed my mates Lee & Meg had gifted me a DVD. A well-known non-watcher of DVDs, I was a bit weirded out at first: what DVD did they actually think I would sit down to watch? Once I unwrapped Men Seeking Women, which I’m sure is a cinematic masterpiece, my reaction fooled no one. “Ohh… Thanks. I haven’t seen this one.” (Wow I thought these people knew me!)

Once they recovered from their fits of laughter, they instructed me to open the case – the disc had been replaced with a necklace. They do know me!

DVD case as wrapping

Lesson #3: Flex your cooking muscles

Presents don’t need to be fancy or pricey – fun and personal will always go down a treat!

My life-long best friend’s little sister personalised a big disc of gingerbread for me – how good is that! Another friend also baked for me: she made cakes to share with our colleagues on the morning of my birthday at work. Nothing beats a wedge (or two! I was the b’day girl, after all) of gluten-free dark chocolate delciousness. Birthday calories don’t count, right?

Gingerbread birthday

Lesson #4: Think functional art

Sure, your mate might have salt & pepper grinders, but, are they worthy of life out & proud as an eye-catching sculpture?

I have to say, I’ve scored big time on a mother-in-law that knows how give good presents! That fluro orange ball below is the knob with which I now grind my pepper, and the little guy to his right houses my himalayan pink salt crystals. To steal her present idea completely, they’re the Tom Dixon Tower Salt & Pepper Grinders. Here’s a tip: my mother-in-law occasionally peruses my Pinterest boards – it’s a pretty good way to get more insight into your giftee’s tastes!

Eclectic grinders and picnic set

Lesson #5: Create experiences

Take one basic picnic basket. Pack it with delectable treats you know your giftee will love.

My aforementioned bestie created this (above right) beautiful present for me this year. A bottle of red, a jar of stuffed olives, crackers & a block of this totally delicious chocolate made for a delightfully personalised present, let alone when they were packaged up in this super cute picnic port. We haven’t taken it picnicking yet but we’ve certainly sampled the wine & chocolate already with great results.

So tell us…

What are the best presents you’ve received? Or, have you given a present that went down really well?

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