Designing the gift experience

It is that time of the year. When you realize it’s already December. 

I think it’s even more so of a surprise, in the year of 2020,  for the majority of us to realize  it’s already December. It was the year of many things and less things, at the same time. But this is not the article for that.

We are talking now about December, that month in which, normally, people – us- , buy the most presents. Presents for the parents, for the granny, for the lover, for the friends we miss so much, for the new friends we made this year, for the cat, for the boss, for the Secret Santa (are they still happening?), for yourself. Ah, for the kids. And also back to the young soul hidden inside of you.

Ok, truth be told, we really hope you don’t have to buy all these presents, however, it is a fact that it can become rather a complicated thing to achieve. 

That’s why we said we might give a hand in pulling together a guide of how to create better gift experiences for those in your list you feel they deserve something more. For which you want to create a real surprise. And maybe something that will change their perspective. Or mood. Or just trying out something new.

We’ll approach it as we usually, as designers of experiences try to do, in whatever we do, even more when it comes to surprises and time worthwhile spent


1.First and foremost, you need to care about this person. Or at least to be a dear one. 

2.Because you will have to think a bit and put down some things, answers to some of these questions:

    1. Who is this person really – what does she/him like. What are the passions. Movies, music, etc.
    2. What makes this person tick 
    3. What has this person been through lately – things they lived, difficult or joyful, experiences in this person’s life that can make you understand what is their context
    4. What did they plan to do, or wanting to do for some time. What did they want to experience, or buy, or see, of feel, that they didn’t make room for, maybe because of not enough time, not knowing, etc.

3.Then you should pick one that really makes you say “ha! This is it”. Or pick the first 2-3 that you feel could lead you to something. We also have some recommendation when you’re thinking and picking these:

      1. Try to think of it as being memorable. And dear. To create an AHA moment.
      2. Try to think of something that maybe you want to tell that person – it can be a deep message of feelings or wondering. Or seeing another perspective of something. That is why we said above you kind of need to know and care about this person and know their context.
      3. Try to think big, but big doesn’t necessarily mean a big budget. But it will mean a bigger effort on your side, that’s for sure. But, hey, you’re a designer, a creator as you are creating a, we all hope so, memorable and at least a little bit, transformative experience. Just even transforming someone’s mood for some half day or days and it’s still is  a great achievement.
      4. Try not to put yourself blockers or stoppers. So what if the person is not in the same country. Maybe you have other friends in that place that could help you. People are super happy to be messengers of joy 🙂 Seriously. And there’s deliveries or walks everywhere.

4.So, after you decided the one thing, start assembling it, or making it happen. While you do so think of all the things part of the experiences as parts of a story. A story has, well, the most common parts, they call it the story plot, the unfolding parts that create a journey. There’s plenty of examples on Google. Here we’d like to give you the “dramatic arc”, for building intensity and surprise.


Try to plan your present, git, experience by mapping parts of it using this “map”

5.In the end, we think you should do this for bringing happiness and joy to that person. If you just need to tick a line in a to do list, you’d better just buy Chocolate and Prosecco. They usually do the work better than any small figurine or ugly mug (sorry but it’s true).

And because sometimes examples work and inspire you to build on top of them, here’s some suggestions of what we mean when we say DESIGN a gift experience.

    1. Books – there’s this easy, low hanging fruit gift option – it seems like books are easy to buy and give. BUT. One thing to consider: books usually enter someone’s life when they are ready to receive that book. And by this I mean when they are ready to integrate the content. Of course, that goes with novels, stories, not only dedicated subjects books. So, regardless of that, you still want to give a book as a present. Making an experience out of it may mean writing some lines or some questions or some of your thoughts on some pages. Or maybe just surprising declarations. Or “you know what, you are wonderful”. Or “hey, do you remember when…” Surprises are surprises because they are unexpected things.
    2. Discovering a city/place – some people might not have experienced something as you did. And maybe you can offer them that experience, while also adding something surprising for them. Maybe flowers hidden somewhere. Or someone others waiting along the way – especially since our gatherings usually happen outside these days with the virus.
    3. A dish, an evening, a movie, a dinning in the dark at home. An “always wanted to do this” – Do it now.  Sometimes is just as simple as just knowing the other person you really remembered and care. You might watch:

4.  And you can also mix things – writing, with going outside. Just puting together a collection of actions you want your friend to go through so they can have this time. PS. those mici in Obor.. or that ice-cream on Jean Louis Calderon. Or maybe just drinking in the highschool yard again. Just saying.


In the end, our dear readers, it is a matter of wanting and caring, everything else will just happen. 

Our point on this is try to go for the quality and not quantity. Try to make room for those dear people, for which you really want to take some time to create this really curated and well thought of experience. Especially after this year that brought so many things and left us with some other.

Give a care!

We love you for reaching this part.

And you can like this so that people know about those  (you included) who took the time to read about how to bring some joy in others’ live.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *