Sunday, December 25, 2016

when personalized isn't personalized

For a couple of Christmases now, I've been giving personalized gifts. I started with personalized gift tags. Then the following year, I gave away personalized keychains and wrapping paper. This year, I gave away personalized wristlets, bookmarks, mouse pads & cord organizers.

Then yesterday, in a group chat with my friends, my friend Tam said she was roasting a prime rib for Noche Buena and that she's using the meat thermometer that my other friend Liam gave her. 

And it dawned on me that personalizing generic things like keychains & wristlets isn't truly a personalized gift. I realized that printing or hot-stamping someone's name or initials onto everyday items has duped me into thinking I was giving my friends something special for Christmas.  

But a truly personalized gift is something you carefully choose for a specific person. It is a gift you give to only one - not all - of your friends because each person has his own unique interests and personality. It is giving a meat thermometer to your friend who roasts prime rib for Noche Buena. Or a Where's the Wookiee? book to a Where's Waldo and Star Wars fan. Or Flight 001's Spacepak pouch with separate clean & laundry compartments for your OC friend who loves to travel. Or a gym bag filled with a dri-fit shirt, Jordan shorts, compression pants, sports socks & a towel for your basketball-addicted friend. Or giving your osteoporosis-laden grandmother, who just sits all day, a digital frame filled with photos of her children & grandchildren.

So next Christmas, I promise to try harder to give meaningful, well-thought-out, carefully-chosen -- truly personalized -- gifts to the people most dear to me.

Photos are my own.