As a native New Englander, I've grown up in a world that revolves very much around the seasons. We slog through tough winters, squelch through wet springs, sigh about humid summers, and stumble around the leaves of fall. Seasons also have nicknames -- "mud" or "tourist" or "black fly" -- that often describe the shared misery of the region in its respective states. May typically brings with it the transition out of our winter boots and hats, and into shorter hemlines and brighter colors. It also brings another round of gift-giving occasions: Mother's Day, graduations, weddings, showers, and of course birthdays (ahem, like mine!).
I've been asked more often than I can count to recommend a gift, and typically I'm happy to oblige. But lately it seems that my gentle questions -- how old? style? hair length? current or dream profession? hobbies? -- go unanswered, simply because the buyer is totally unprepared for them. One notable interaction ended when a customer realized she wasn't entirely sure if this was for a high school or college graduation, and left to call her sister for more information.**
So if I may, a little advice from one who truly wants to help you select a perfect present, but needs a tad more information in order to do so:
1. Know the basics. Gender, age, and basic physical description help. Bonus points for hair & eye color; double bonus for skin tone.
2. Know (at least one of) the specifics. Favorite color, preferred metal type, ear piercings, lefty or righty, birth month, sports team, degree, hobby, pastime, career.
3. Know the occasion. While it doesn't always dictate the gift, it can help with direction (and, to a certain degree, price point). Bonus points for details like wedding color(s), school colors or mascot, religious symbols, family traditions, etc.
4. Diamonds, pearls, watches. Repeat this, mantra-like, to yourself as you shop during this time of year. You'll see these items placed front and center in advertising due to their immense popularity and widespread appeal, so you might as well consider them. Lockets, charm bracelets, and money clips are all great options as well, and often customizable to boot.
Friends and family (and perfect strangers), do you have a gift-giving conundrum? Ask away, free of charge! :-) Also, feel free to share a story of a memorable gift you've received -- everyone loves a good tale for inspiration.
**As it turns out, it was neither: the giftee had been cast in the leading role of her school theatre production. The gifter returned just to tell me this and promptly left, saying she "didn't feel it merited a gift" after all. Break a leg, kid!