Gifts and surprises go well with individuals better than advises and recommendations. But there are a few precautionary measures that need to be followed here too. Assume two scenarios:
Scenario 1: You renew your wife’s gym membership a month in advance as a surprise birthday gift.
Scenario 2: You enroll your wife into a gym membership program as a surprise birthday gift. Point to remember here is that your wife is obese, conscious about it but does not wish to exercise either.
The first scenario makes your wife feel happy as it is renewal of the same program into which she has enrolled and loves you for your deed. The second scenario can even breakup your marriage as your wife feels that you don’t love her due to her body size and you are forcing her to do something. While the intention of the husband is the same in both the scenarios (healthy gifts), the outlook of the person receiving the gifts varies. So, how to make sure that these healthy gifts are presented in the right way? There are a separate group of researchers who study the art of presenting gifts and research in this field. These researchers recommend several ways to present healthy gifts:
Athleisure: This is the latest fashion trend where clothes branded as workout or sport apparels are worn in workplace, café, school settings or social occasions too. Such hybrid clothes are a smart way to invigorate your loved one to use it in their desired way yet convey your message that it can be used for workouts! Chances are that, they might go for a walk or join a Zumba class as it gives them more confidence as they enroll for the class in their loved apparel but also do not reveal their true wish.
A target-specific book that does not reveal its target audience openly: Presenting a book on depression to your stressed friend can make him/her go furious at your outright accusation of depression. But, when you present a health book that talks totally about depression but specifies all kinds of people as its target audience, it would definitely go well with your friend. You can also add a note like ‘this booked helped me greatly, hope you find it interesting too’ to sugar-coat your motive.
Simply ask: Instead of assuming or predicting what your colleague/friend/family likes, simply ask what they want. When people you love don’t feel good, they are sure to let you know. If they feel disturbed or stressed, you can present them with a self-care gifts such as a massage or spa. If they are unable to sleep, you can present them with a library membership coupon where they can choose any book to keep them company during those times. Don’t try to put yourself in their position and think what would impress them. The best way is to simply ask them to avoid any wrong confrontations that can hurt them badly.
Meal delivery option: If your loved one complains of lack of time to cook or increased use of junk food consumption, you can gift a meal delivery service subscription with a personalized card that tells, ’who has time to cook? I found it tasty and healthy. Hope you do too!’
Tickets to zoos or gardens: Zoos and botanical gardens require people to walk long distances to explore the place. This is an indirect way of making people exercise instead of shouting right in front of their face to walk. Any exercise is bound to last long only if you enjoy doing it. Such experimental gifts are preferred over material gifts by many people nowadays as it improves relationship and makes the receiver feel more connected to the giver. Read more on experimental gifts and the different options available in them from the website www.firsteatright.com.
A cookbook that is healthy too: Instead of bluntly gifting your loved one with a cookbook that contains low-fat recipes that can help lose weight, it would be better when you present one that tells the reader that the book suits people who love exploring new variations in recipes (if your friend belongs to this category). Your friend’s actions and views might not be the desired ones but those born out of need. It is better to ask about his/her aspirations and goals for the New Year or holiday season without assuming things.
Mutually beneficial gifts: Its never wrong to be quite selfish too when it is for the right cause. Try presenting a gift that rewards you too-it can be two enrollments for the gym classes both you and your friend have been eying, same-type exercise t-shirts or matching yoga mats. Studies show that the receiver feels happy and closer to the giver when the giver gets the same present for himself/herself too. It conveys the message that the giver wants to spend quality time with the receiver, not that the receiver needs to change!
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.
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