Good Ideas for Birthday Gifts

“Mike dear, a present ought not to be very expensive — unless you are trying to get a girl to marry you, or something. Especially ‘something’. But a present should show that you thought about it and considered that person’s tastes. Something he would enjoy but probably would not buy for himself.”
“Stranger In A Strange Land” by Robert A. Heinlein

Birthdays can be extremely stressful. I’m not talking about reaching that cursed round x0 number of years, but about finding the right gift for someone else’s birthday.

It’s a bit psychotic when a person you like becomes a stress factor, because you like that person and desperately need to find the right gift for this person. After all, friendship (or family, or partnership) should be a source of support, not stress.

Personally I like choosing the right gift, even making it myself at times (depending on the amount of time I have). And in almost all cases, I simply select “the right gift” with no stress at all.


The same way I argue one should organize creativity — being creative is easy if you do not have to be creative.

Over the course of a year I have many ideas what would be a good gift for a friend, family member or partner of mine. Some ideas just come without consciously thinking about them, some come from talking with that person, when the person says what he or she likes or wants to do or have. Given that I need my memory for something else, I jot down these ideas, then transfer them to my Wiki where I have a list for exactly this purpose. Under the name of each person I like I write down these ideas. When this person’s birthday comes, I simply look at that list and pick a suiting gift (depending on whether the person does not have it, needs it, and whether it is still relevant).

Like written before, creativity is easy when you do not have to be. By keeping a list of possible gifts you have your ideas available when you need them. You can even look at the list in general to find gifts that might be assigned to another person, but are also “just right” for the one for whom you are looking for a gift.

So, no more stress with other person’s birthdays. 🙂



P.S.: I also keep a list of gifts I would like, for the simple reason that some people ask what I would like. So I do not have to think about it (and get a good idea within a few minutes or days), but simply look at my list. I have  split the list in different categories, e.g., books, movies, etc. and I keep a “wishlist” for other objects. It’s extremely practical and while I love my Wiki, it would work nearly as well with Text Editor files.

P.P.S.: One last word on the “need” to find “the right gift”. If friendship/family/partnership would be defined by or depended on gifts, it would be a sad and wretched creature indeed. Most people who have stress finding “the right gift” assign to much value to an object. It’s the relationship that counts, and this is not defined by objects. 🙂