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How to Give the Perfect Gift: 21 Ideas + Giveaway

21 Perfect Gifts

Most people don’t really care so much about things once they have them. Sure the iPhone is a gift to humans from Zeus, and my bicycle, may it rest in peace, is sorely missed (literally, ouch), but in general most things we get people aren’t that great.

So why give your friends and family more crap? That’s what gets me down this time of year— all the crap.

What people remember more, what makes them happier (from what I’ve read and I think it’s actually true) is this:

People get more satisfaction from great experiences,
even (maybe especially)
difficult ones.

So give them an experience they will remember. Great experiences come in all shapes and sizes. They range in price from zero to one million dollars. All require at least a little loving effort, and that’s the point, isn’t it?

Here they are, the perfect gifts, all lined up in time for the upcoming pinnacle giving spree.

18 of 21 Perfect Gift Ideas


  1. Map of six memorable, unusual, local things to do.
  2. Tickets to live theater.
  3. Song, sung.
  4. Song, taught.
  5. Song, not sung. Give your housemate a day all alone.
  6. Game, explained, demoed, and played— like charades, no kidding; it’s a lot of fun.
  7. Really good food, even a small amount.
  8. Really good drink, especially a large amount.
  9. Sexual favor, administered.
  10. All expense paid trip to Istanbul. (That’s a hint for people getting me gifts.)
  11. Love note. (That works, too.)
  12. Carl Kassel’s voice on an answering machine.
  13. An hour of help doing something difficult, for a great example…
  14. Consumer advocacy while choosing a new bicycle because one’s might have gotten totaled when the handlebar snapped off and lodged into the front wheel, bending the front fork and stopping the vehicle cold, sending one careening into the pavement face first, followed by feet; or …
  15. Reverse consumption session. An hour of getting rid of stuff, ended by driving a load to Goodwill or the dump.
  16. Commitment to share three grueling workouts, scheduled with reminders and encouragement.
  17. Neck rub, administered.
  18. Future brunch date, treated or not.

Top 3 Perfect Gifts


#1 Perfect Gift: The Best Shot at a Great Next Year

Great Year WorkshopTrade your New Year’s resolution for a real plan to take realistic steps toward a life you believe in more and more. This workshop is always a great experience. I usually only offer this workshop to friends and private students, but now, if you’re near San Francisco, you can give the gift of the Great Year Workshop. There’s a special price, too, until December 20, 2013.

#2 Perfect Gift: Private Mentoring

David Delp PilotNow you can give a gift certificate to anyone who needs some guidance and support from a skilled and caring mentor. That’s me, David Delp! If you book though Pop Expert, the first sessions with me are half off. The gift certificate is a guaranteed excellent experience your gift getter will always remember. Get your Gift Certificate.

#3 Perfect Gift: The Attentionometer™

AttentionometerWait, the Attentionometer is a thing and an experience. This cute little game packs a big experience for players because you actually learn something about yourself. And you get some solid personalized advice. It’s great to do by yourself and with friends. Get it while supplies last. Buy the Attentionometer.

See? These are perfect: flawless, divinely inspired, and guaranteed to work for any human, forever. Perfection is clearly less rare than one would think.

And the giveaway


If you buy a private lesson for someone else, you get a free one. If you give the Great Year Workshop to someone else, you get to join— FOR FREE. It’s that simple.

arrow-red-downFinally, if you have experience gift ideas our fine readers might gleam from your sweet brain, please offer them as a comment below— even if they aren’t perfect.

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Leave a comment5 comments on "How to Give the Perfect Gift: 21 Ideas + Giveaway"

  1. The perfect gift to me – no offense to the groovy workshops, mentoring, and Attentionometer you offer – is the one I get when I’m least expecting it. And actually, it doesn’t really matter what “it” is (as long as it’s not going to clutter up my life).

    So FYI everyone: if you want my highest levels of gratitude, get me a gift in mid-May when there is no occasion to do so. I will also take an all expense paid trip to Istanbul and, in return (if you like), I will record a better voice mail greeting than Carl Kassel ever could.

  2. I used to just buy stuff because it was what you did. I still often buy people things for holidays, but I try really hard to make sure it’s a thoughtful, useful item they’ll truly enjoy. If I can’t think of something, I’ll ask. I’d rather get something people want and will use than something random that’ll just add clutter to their lives. I think if you listen to what people are talking about, very often they’ll mention something that would make a great gift (be it physical or experiential).

  3. These are brilliant ideas! Two years ago, my brother and I teamed up to record a cover album of songs selected by our family as a mass Chanukah gift. It was super fun putting it together AND everyone enjoyed it. Oh, and if I lived in SF I would totally come to your workshop.

  4. I appreciate all gifts, but a gift stands out to me when it’s personal. By personal, I mean the person knew personal things about me and used that to make their choice. Some people choose gifts based on their likes rather than the recipients or they focus too much on the size of the gift or what it says about them (because they don’t want to look “cheap”) when, of course, none of that matters. Any giving, even the smallest, that genuinely has the recipient in mind is generous. Giving our time is also very generous, like your #13, 15, and 16 – and I would add free babysitting to your list. Think of a parent who has neglected his/her passion or their own self-care because childcare is too expensive and kidnap those kids for a weekend! They will love you foreverrrr.

  5. That Attentionometer looks super cool!

    Personally, I am a huge fan of tools. You want to give me a blade sharpener? A programmable thermostat? I am all over that! I find that the “experience” gifts come with them the added stress of scheduling them.

    I LOVE planning workshops. I love to hear what people are going to work on next! I wish I lived someplace cool…

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