I never thought I would ever utter this sentence—let alone type it!—but Taylor Swift can teach us all something about gift giving.
In case you missed it, in between non-stop promotion of her album “1989” and imploring us to “Shake it Off,” Taylor sent PERSONALIZED Christmas gifts to some of her most loyal fans. She even sent a personalized gift to the mother of one of her fans. And by personalized, it wasn’t just that she had the fan’s name embroidered on a sweatshirt—she selected gifts from her world travels, some of them even based on the particular fan’s taste.
At this point, you may be thinking, “Big deal. She has an entire army of people who can purchase stuff on her behalf.” I gotta admit, I was kind of there too…until I learned that she included a HANDWRITTEN NOTE with each gift. Not one line notes, but charming, heartfelt notes that demonstrated she knew who the person was and in some instances what was going on in their life and what was important to them.
As you might imagine, her fans were over the moon as they received the early Christmas gifts. As Taylor wrote on one note, “sent on November 8 because I HAVE NO CHILL EVER”…which I think means she went a little crazy by sending a Christmas gift 7 weeks early.
Yep, the haters gonna hate (hate, hate, hate, hate) and say that it was all a well-orchestrated publicity stunt. But I think there are some valuable lessons to learn from this:
–Gifts are an amazing way to connect with the people in your life-people want to know they matter and are important to you. Giving a gift to someone you love is a way to deepen the connection between giver and receiver.
-Unexpected gifts are a wonderful surprise-there you are going about your day, when poof! A gift appears! You stop whatever you are doing to open it, and you realize, “Someone special was thinking of me and took the time to do something that would make my day.” What an amazing feeling!
-Include a note to explain why you selected the gift or why you think the person will enjoy it-it doesn’t have to be an essay, just let the receiver know why you selected this particular gift out of all the others out there. It may be crazy obvious to you, but it might not be to the recipient. Case in point: my friend received some rather…unusual (okay, ugly)…wine glasses from her mother-in-law. She was beside herself, “Does she really think that’s my style? Couldn’t she have just got me glasses from Crate & Barrel that I would like???” Years later, she learned that the wine glasses had been a family heirloom and her mother-in-law gifting them was intended to be a gesture of great love and a way of welcoming her into the family.
-Handwritten notes are a lovely touch-in a world of digital devices, a handwritten note can be downright charming. Stop worrying about how bad your penmanship has become and just put pen to paper.
-Don’t get hung up on the perfect time to give a gift, just do it!-the fact that Taylor’s gifts to her fans arrived many weeks before the holidays didn’t diminish the joy they brought her fans one bit. Give when the idea strikes and stop worrying about dates on a calendar.
Clearly, Taylor read my book, “Wrap with Love: Holiday Gift Giving with Less Stress and More Joy” and it moved her to act…or maybe (admittedly more likely) she’s just a kindred spirit who genuinely loves gift giving as much as I do. Either way, her gift giving passion and desire to connect more deeply with people is inspiring a generation of fans to do the same. Sign me up for the Taylor Swift fan club!