How to Give a Memorable Gift

What makes a memorable gift?

Often, it’s the story- the people and experiences surrounding the gift- that makes it memorable. A few years ago, I received a memorable gift: a chef’s knife from a professional chef. When we lived in Chicago, we hosted parties for international graduate students through an organization sponsored by Northwestern University. Although there was a bit of low-key networking going on amongst the guests, we mostly offered hospitality to homesick students. We had a great time.

One evening, a fellow American attended with one of the guests. He was a local chef, and he enthusiastically volunteered to help me prepare the appetizers for the next party. I gratefully accepted his offer.

An hour before guests arrived, he swept into my kitchen with a bag of groceries. With the efficiency of somebody that knows their way around a kitchen, he briskly set ingredients out on the counter, and rummaged through cabinets and drawers for bowls and utensils. He got right to work; I stayed out of his way.

For one of the recipes, he had forgotten to bring minced garlic. I pulled my jar of garlic out of the refrigerator. He frowned. “This is chopped garlic,” he explained. “I need minced garlic.” It was going to affect the texture of the dish. This, apparently, was a big deal. “Where’s your chef’s knife?”

I didn’t have one. He was appalled. “How do you function without a chef’s knife? How am I supposed to mince this garlic without a chef’s knife?” But he grudgingly improvised. (Personally, I thought the food was still amazing.)

At the next party, he handed me a package wrapped in butcher’s paper and twine. It was my very own chef’s knife. “Once you start using it, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it,” he assured me.

And he was right. Food prep is absolutely easier. It makes me a better cook. When I use my chef’s knife, I remember those parties and the fascinating, lovely people I met through them.

Gift giving celebrates a piece of our shared story- our memories. It’s a milepost that defines the present and sets direction for the future.

This opportunity is too great for a leader to miss. It’s probably why great leaders are great gift-givers.

If we want to be the kind of people that give memorable gifts, we need to be mindful of the people and experiences that create the story behind the gift.

We need to think outside of the box-
because a gift is more than what’s wrapped inside it.

  1. We’re concerned with a gift that’s carefully chosen, not on the choice of the gift.
    Gift giving is an opportunity to communicate that you’re aware of what’s going on.
    It’s the sort of thing you want to model as a leader.
    Recipients value the thought behind the gift, more than the gift itself.
    This takes the pressure off picking the perfect present!
    I received a nice knife set when I got married. I’m grateful for it, but the chef’s knife from James is more memorable to me. Why? Because he bought it after a shared experience. I didn’t have one, and he thought I needed one: he thought of me.
    It really is the thought that counts.
  2. With a gift, we recognize what’s going right, rather than reward performance.
    When we call attention to a job well done with a gift, we’re communicating that we believe the best in someone. In a business context, it nurtures a culture of awareness, gratitude, and loyalty. It sets the stage for the next shared experiences being positive, something to look forward to. That’s powerful!
    You can motivate and reward performance with an incentive- just not with a gift. That’s not the point of gift-giving. Gifts are relational. They acknowledge something I’ve already received from you- not what I expect to get out of you. A good gift is one with no strings attached.
  3. Gifts are well timed, rather than a surprise.
    Don’t get me wrong, surprises are great. But surprises can be hit-or-miss, especially in a business setting. A surprise can throw someone off track and take the focus off the recipient.
    A gift doesn’t have to be expected, but there’s a timely connection between the gift and the event or person being celebrated.
  4. A gift prioritizes the investment, not the cost.
    We put time and money into things we value, and into things that we expect to grow. When you give a gift, you’ve invested time and money. This fact isn’t lost on the recipient. You’re letting them know that they are valuable! You’re expressing your hope that the relationship is going to grow.
  5. We’re thoughtful, without overthinking.
    How many times have we back-pedaled on giving a gift because we got caught up in trying to find the Perfect Gift? Admittedly, when giving a gift in a professional context, there are many factors to consider. But it’s a bad idea to talk yourself out of giving. After all:
    The worst gift is the one that’s never given.

You can breathe a sigh of relief: there’s no such thing as a perfect gift.
And an act of intentional gift giving makes any gift memorable.
Here’s to making memories!

Are you ready to be a great gift giver? Let us help you create a
Milepost Moment!

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Upon payment of deposit, the Customer agrees to the following Transaction Terms and Conditions:

Invoice & Payment:
You should receive an invoice within 24 hours of the project start date with your Gift Concierge. Most orders will require a nonrefundable deposit of up to 50% of your order in advance of your ship date. Once the gift has been selected and finalized, the balance of the order cost will be invoiced and will include shipping as a separate line item. For credit card or ACH payments, the Customer Portal can be used to pay your invoice directly. In some cases, we can issue a direct invoice, should the customer organization require this. Note that volume orders will be assessed a 3% fee for credit card processing, which can be avoided by paying via ACH.
Addresses, Returns & Cancellations:
Please note that we are unable to reship gifts that are sent back to our fulfillment center due to the nature of our gift products. As such, all addresses in your order form are considered final. Once your order has been submitted to our fulfillment center, there will be a $50 fee to change or remove any addresses. Though we are happy to accommodate address changes in this way, please note that this will result in your full order being pulled from the queue and may result in a later shipping date. This ensures a seamless and on-time gifting process for all clients. (Tip: Ensure floor and suite numbers are included, especially for packages going to offices or universities. This is typically the primary reason for returns.) We cannot honor any cancellation requests once the gifts have shipped. Any requests to cancel an order that has already been submitted to our fulfillment center is subject to a $50 cancellation fee + the price of custom goods procured.
For custom or unique orders, our Gift Concierge team will work with you to meet deadlines and provide accurate and transparent information on order gift shipping times.
We ship all gifts from our fulfillment center, located in the Detroit area. Estimated shipping times for the continental U.S. are: Midwest: 1-3 days, Northeast: 2-4 days, South: 2-4 days, West: 2-5 days, based on exact shipping address. Although we do our very best to package and ship your gifts with great care and consideration, we can not control delays or issues with lost shipments caused by carriers such as FedEx or USPS. If you experience any other issues with gift delivery, please email or visit your customer portal.
Shipping costs are always billed separately for each customer order and will be included in the final customer invoice.
Once your gifts have shipped, you will receive an email with tracking information for your entire order.
Reach out to our team so we can ensure you have a smooth and delightful order experience. Contact your Gift Concierge member directly or our Support team at to assist you.