He asks her what she wants for her Birthday.
She says, “Oh, you don’t have to get me anything.”
He replies, “I know but I really would like to give you a gift.”
She says, “No, really. I don’t want anything. Please don’t get me anything.”
He asks, “Are you sure?”
She replies, “Of course I am sure! I am serious. Please don’t buy me anything.”
Her birthday arrives and, following her explicit instructions, he doesn’t have a gift for her. She is anything but amused by this revelation. She shoots him a look of utter disgust and becomes painfully passive-aggressive. She says she’s not upset, but her tone is flippant and her face tells a different story. He knows he’s done something wrong, but he doesn’t know what.
Has this ever happened to you?
One thing is for sure, this scenario is a lot more common than you might think. It happens between couples, relatives (I’m looking at you, Dad), and best friends who turn into unrecognizable divas on their birthday. Sometimes the request to not bring birthday gifts is blatantly documented on the invitation (hello… evidence??).
But apparently, “No gifts, please,” really means, “Just kidding.”
And judging by all the other guests who brought gifts regardless of the instruction not to, causes you to doubt your ability to have any sense of good judgment, if there might have been some fine print you missed, or if you have slipped into some alternate universe where everyone speaks in opposites.
How does this happen?
It could be any number of reasons:
- None of us are mind readers —yet there are still many people out there who expect everyone else to be, for some ridiculous reason.
- They may not know what they want, but they’d like for you to figure something out anyway.
- They may have a list of items in mind, but they don’t want to assume you have the budget for what they really want. And they don’t want to insult you by telling you something that insinuates they think you are poor. Actually, it’s just way too complicated to explain, so they say nothing.
- They really are out of their mind. (Or maybe you are.)
- They are secretly trying to destroy you.
The simple truth is this: No one will ever be angry at you for bringing them a birthday gift.
Read that sentence a few times and let that sink in, because it may be the best advice we could ever give you, especially if you are giftedly challenged. No matter how many times you are told NOT to give someone a birthday gift unless they aren’t from this planet, they will appreciate the sentiment regardless of what they said earlier.
Also, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
We know this because even if they truly meant they didn’t want any gifts if you introduce them to something they never knew they couldn’t live without, they will love you for eternity (if they don’t already). You just may go down in history as the greatest birthday gift giver EVER. (Sorry, we tend to get overly excited about this stuff, in case you haven’t noticed.)
Look, finding gifts for the same people on their birthday every single year gets harder and harder. You may even run into the challenge of accidentally giving them the same thing you got them the year before. (Again, you’d be surprised how often this happens.)
But someone who says repeatedly that they don’t want anything at all is the greatest challenge of all. We know lots of these freakishly weird people, too. And while we love them, we also know they make us crazy. Despite their insistence that they’d be happy with just another card (or.. gah… just your presence…), we know you can do better than that and we’d like to encourage you to try.
Tips for giving the Best Birthday Gifts, no matter the occasion.
No need to go nuts. Seriously, stop losing sleep over this. The best gifts in this case, or in really any situation, is to find a gift that is personal to them. The trick is to find a gift that they would never ask for or would buy for themselves. Birthday gifts should be individualized and feel exclusively handpicked for the birthday boy or birthday girl. When you are this kind of clever, you can also apply this to other birthday giving challenges– such as for the friends who seem to already have everything.
When you are creative and thoughtful, it shows that you get them. That you pay attention to them and their interests. That you know them better than they may know themselves. Quite frankly, these are attributes that are very hard to find in most people, so if you can learn how to add that personal touch on a birthday gift for him or her, you will definitely score points on every occasion.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot, either. If it’s a gift that feels specially selected for them, price won’t matter, and you’ll still be the hero of the day. And this way… even if they say, “I told you, no gifts!” your response can be, “I know, but I saw this and I thought of you. I had to get it.”
#1. Make it all about THE BOX.
Sometimes you gotta think outside the box to know what to put in it. A plain gifting box can be turned into something priceless using fun photographs, or themed in something that is important to them. By using decoupage, such as Mod Podge, you can easily create something thoughtful for someone’s birthday. Consider their favorite sports teams, favorite movies, television shows, books, or anything that suits their interest. If crafts are not your thing, you can bet someone else has already made it. A good place to find them is on Etsy.
#2. The Power of Quotes
If you’ve ever read something that struck a chord, stayed with you, and transformed you in a positive way, you know how meaningful it can be when someone comes across a quote and immediately thinks of you. There is nothing complicated about it, really. Run an online search for quotes using a celebrity that you know they admire and find one that you know they would appreciate. Print it out on decorative paper and frame it. Or add it to a gift box (see above). We also make this quite easy for you when you purchase any Greetabl Birthday Gift.
#3. Cuddly Clothes
If there is one thing no one has enough of and will always welcome more of, it’s hoody sweatshirts and flannel pajama bottoms. These days you can get just about any logo on this kind of attire. It’s easy to find them for colleges and sports teams, but don’t limit yourself. Do they have a favorite music group or broadway show? Maybe they are obsessed with visiting a favorite city, or have great admiration for an historical figure. Don’t discount the funny puns that relate to your birthday friend. There is no shortage of funny clothes specific to just about any profession. Heck, we bet you can even find something hilarious for someone who is in between careers. Why stop there? T-shirts, hats and socks are not off the table either. Everyone wears them. Not sure about the size? When in doubt, go big.
#4. Home-Based Activities
In a pandemic world, everything is being done at home. Working, learning, exercising, cooking, keeping oneself amused, as resilient people we’ve figured out how to never leave the house again for anything. Your birthday pal will totally appreciate your knowing what they may be missing from a pre-pandemic life, and finding a way to bring it to them in a socially distanced way. For example, if they used to spend their time at the gym, consider yoga mats, exercise equipment, or an online subscription to a streaming dance class.
Yeah, we know there are readers and non-readers, and you don’t always know who you are dealing with when it comes to buying a book as a gift. But hear us out. Buying someone a book on a subject you know that they are interested in… whether it be cooking keto-friendly Mediterranean cuisine, or extreme ironing in the everglades (is there such a thing?)… books are always a great excuse to say, “I couldn’t not buy it for you. It had your name written all over it.”
A word of caution on this one. Make sure you are not buying them a particular book because YOU personally happened to like it. That isn’t a thoughtful gift specifically for them. But it IS a good way to divulge that you are a gigantic egomaniac.
For thoughtful gift ideas, you can always count on us to get those creative juices flowing. When we come up with any more genius birthday gift ideas, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, we’ve got allllll this for you: