Monday, November 5, 2007

Granting wishes

The season of massive gift giving has arrived! And with the season comes the litany of holiday TV commercials. It's tough for retailers to cut through with a unique message, though some are doing just that. I saw one this morning that made me reconsider the list I'll be checking twice. In the past, we've focused so much on getting gifts for people, the focus being the product we wrap up in shiny paper.

As retailers shift their business model to dually focus on the product and the experience of purchasing the product, consumers also seem to be focused on not just giving a gift but creating an experience for the recipient. Granting a wish.

We do put ourselves into the frenzy of mass purchasing - pictures of consumers dashing into retailer doors that open at 6:00am or earlier. But if we take a look back, and think about someone as a whole person, and find a way to give them something that's not just a box with a bow on it. One of these commercials shows a family that redid their dad's garage because he spends so much time touching up everyone else's room. Another one shows a little girl who loves fashion though until this year has had to wear a uniform to school. They bought her new sets of fun, funky clothes to celebrate her transition to a new school in which she can wear her own outfits. Both sets of gifts celebrate the core of the person they are given to.

We spend a lot of time gifting, though how much time do we really spend paying tribute to people who make such a difference in our lives? If we focused on this later part more often, we may find our gift lists transformed from simple packages to truly extraordinary gifts, and incidentally may find that the holiday season is filled with a lot more joy and a lot less stress.

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