Friday, December 20, 2013

Make it Better: How to Make a Delayed Gift into a Great Gift

What happens when you find the perfect gift... And then get word it won't arrive in time for Christmas?

My co-worker found himself in just this position yesterday. Almost a month ago, he ordered the perfect gift for his boyfriend: A collector's edition box set of vinyl records from a band his boyfriend has loved for years. He also picked up a record player to go along with the box set. For weeks my co-worker has talked about how this great gift was perfect, and he's been so excited about giving it on Christmas. He also mentioned (several times) that he was getting worried because it hadn't yet shipped, so when he received an email yesterday apologizing that the perfect gift was terribly delayed, and wouldn't arrive before Christmas, he was rather upset.

What would he do next? Cancel the order and spend the next few days searching for a less-perfect gift? Tell his boyfriend about the perfect gift on Christmas, but not give him anything? Let him open the record player that doesn't make much sense on its own? Spend more money on something else for his boyfriend to open, and tell him the real gift was coming later?

He was upset, so we both stayed late after work last night and came up with something he could give that would feel like a real present, even if the physical gift won't arrive until January. We decided on a fake record in a record sleeve.

First, he printed out two pieces of photo paper -- the album cover on one page, and a picture of the contents of the box set on another. The photo paper gave the printouts a nice sheen. We taped them together on three sides, and then used a paper plate to trace a circle onto cardboard. We covered the cardboard disc with black paper, added a small gold paper circle to the middle, and finished up by using a hole punch to create a tiny black circle where a needle hole would be located. It looks great! All he needs to do is add a note saying when the album "drops," and he's all set.

Now he has something for his boyfriend to open, and the picture on the back shows exactly what will soon be on its way. And because he spent a little time to create something special, it looks like a real gift. I'm sure his boyfriend will feel as though he's opening something very special -- and will appreciate both the thought that went into the real gift, as well as the thought and energy put into the paper record.

So if one finds herself in a similar situation with a delayed gift, she should just remember that a little time and creativity will make all the difference on Christmas morning.

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