When picking a gift, people usually mention that it’s the thought that really counts. But how true is this, and what does it actually mean? After all, if it’s just the thought that counts, then why get a gift at all? If someone bought you an expensive piece of jewellery but put very little thought into it, then should you still accept it as a gift if they didn’t put any thought into it at all? After all, they could’ve just had a lot of money, went to a store and told the assistant “hey, I need a gift for a friend” and simply bought the most expensive thing. While most of us would appreciate receiving an expensive gift, do we really deserve it if no thought was put into it?
There are plenty of questions to ask here, but let’s dive into what it really means by “it’s the thought that counts”.
What goes into picking a gift?
Let’s run through a couple of basic thoughts that go through anyone’s head when they pick a gift.
- Who is it for? When you pick a gift, you obviously have a recipient in mind. It could be a family member, friend or even just an acquaintance at work. Your relationship with someone will have a huge impact on what type of gift you get them and how much thought you put into it.
- What do they like? When picking a gift for someone, you typically pick based on their interests and hobbies so that they actually enjoy the gift and don’t throw it away because they don’t enjoy it or because they already have it. If your recipient likes animals, then you could ask them about what animals they like. If they say penguins, then you can find the perfect penguin gifts for them to create something unique, fun and interesting. If they like music, then perhaps ask them about their favourite genres of music or artists and get them something from those choices. Otherwise, you could just get an iTunes card so they can buy their own music.
- Do they have a use for it? Picking a gift that has a use is always recommended. However, if you buy a music CD for someone that doesn’t own a device that can play it, or if you purchase a book that someone already has, then they probably have no use for those things. It’s easier to pick a useful gift if you know someone personally or work with them.
- What’s the occasion? The occasion is important. If you’re showing up to a wedding party and you bring a birthday gift, then you’re going to look extremely out of place and you’ll probably be embarrassed. Everyone has to think about the occasion when picking a gift because it can drastically alter the choices you have.
- Useful, sentimental and experience gifts. The type of gift is also important. Useful gifts are things that can be used in everyday life. This could be a gift card for a store they like or a brand new pair of shoes. Sentimental gifts aren’t typically used, but they have a lot of memories involved such as a picture frame or customised jewellery. Experience gifts are holiday packages and days out to unique places that create wonderful memories.
After looking at all of these points, it should become clear what it means by “it’s the thought that counts”.
So what does it really mean?
It’s not so much the thought itself that counts, but rather the time and effort that you put into something which ultimately results in the gift itself. If your friend worked overtime for an entire week just to buy you a special limited-edition book that you’ve been looking at for months, then they’ve invested many hours, a lot of effort and time just to give you that gift.
Compare that to someone who saw it on your wishlist and simply bought it because they had excess funds for that week and it suddenly becomes less meaningful. With this in mind, it becomes easy to understand the saying and how you can actually create a meaningful gift for someone. It also means you can appreciate it when people go the extra mile just to get you a gift. If someone flies to another country just to pick you up an exclusive gift, then you can be sure that person appreciates you and really tried their best to make you happy, and those are the types of friends and family members that are worth keeping close.