When we give a gift, we typically expect that it will be used and enjoyed by the receiver right away, but through the best of intentions this often is not the case. Assigning purpose or meaning to gifts doesn’t mean that the gift wasn’t already meaningful but rather, it means that you are providing special instructions for how you have envisioned the receiver will enjoy the gift. For example, if you have given a friend a bottle of wine, beeswax tealight candle, and natural bath bomb, you could include the gentle instructions “Enjoy a natural bath and glass of wine on your birthday”. These instructions ensure that the receiver will utilize the gift without the unwarranted guilt that sometimes accompanies using a gift ‘too soon’.
Alternatively, if you receive a gift without a specific purpose you can create your own. If your parent gifts you a cookbook and taper candles, set a date to prepare a family dinner using recipes from the cookbook and lighting the tapers for ambiance. Sometimes meaning may seem implied. For example, if you are giving an emergency candle to an avid hiker, it may seem obvious that they should add the candle to their survival kit but by writing this purpose you solidify your intent and make the purpose of the gift tangible rather than simply implied.
We hope ‘adding purpose’ changes the way you give and receive gifts. While sometimes it is hard not to save a gift for tomorrow, it is important to balance that with enjoying the present and appreciating today.