How to be a gift-giving pro

Jean Johnson, a long-time UN-SKRU owner and customer, has purchased several jar openers for her friends and family since she bought her first one in the 1970s.

When discussing the UN-SKRU, she coined this phrase to describe it:  the best gadget you never knew you needed.

It brought to mind the fine art of gift-giving.  Some people are blessed with the innate ability to observe your home and lifestyle, and present you with the perfect present.

Then there are well-intentioned gift givers who struggle. Think of the off-kilter gifts you’ve received over the years. Some suspiciously smack of re-gifting: bedroom slippers three sizes larger than your size. Others are misfits. Like a crystal decanter made for bottles of hard liquor, complete with a pour spigot, when you don’t drink.

Giving humorous gifts can be like tip-toeing through a mine field. Imagine the look on his face when he receives a lung ashtray. That’s right– an ashtray with twin trays that look just like lungs. (!) Ahh, and what will you say in your birthday thank-you card for that beer-belly shaped fanny pack?  Then there’s wrinkle cream … and balding products for men.

My niece is a gifted gift-giver. I’m always happy to open her presents. While healing from a cervical fusion, she gave me an electric heater shaped to conform to the neck and shoulders. It brought blessed relief as I recovered. Another time, I opened her present to find reusable ice packs for my recurring tendonitis. Yet another time she gave me compression gloves for arthritis in the fingers. And she gave me an Alexa, which is great for selecting the right music during dinner.

I leave you with these tips.

If you’re due to receive a gift, drop hints two weeks or a month beforehand. Help your relatives and friends by discussing products that interest you.  You may have just moved into a new home and need bath or kitchen towels to match your new interiors. A gardening tool kit. A hummingbird feeder. Etsy and Pinterest are fun sites to shop for ideas.

If you’re giving a gift and the recipient lives far away where you can’t observe their daily needs, you can use the practical approach of creating a list.  Our children are grown and their homes are furnished, so it’s hard to guess what they need. We have started a pre-birthday ritual that vanquishes the need to give impersonal credit cards. Each of us surfs the Internet, finds three or four items we would love to receive, and we send the URLs. It’s a bit of a surprise because you ask for three or four different items, but this way, everyone has a chance to hit a home run with their gift. My go-to sites for fashion are Macy’s and Nordstrom’s.

The next time you’re searching for a gift, try these strategies.

And if your loved ones suffer from arthritis, osteoarthritis or simply weak hands, consider giving them the UN-SKRU under cabinet jar opener. It installs quickly. It’s safe–no sharp parts, no batteries. It’s great in the kitchen, workshop and RVs, it’s made in the USA and it’s featured in the Arthritis Foundation’s Guide to Independent Living. As Jean so cleverly noted, it’s “The best gadget you never knew you needed.”