Kabuken means "stock certificate" in Japanese
Home Entertainment Factor
Entertainment Factor
I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.
- Walt Disney

Finding a right gift can be a difficult task. You have to think about things like recipients' likes and dislikes, occasion, availability of a product (you certainly can't give something that doesn't exist), and, of course, the money factor (spending too much? Not enough? What is the appropriate amount???). Then there are other details. Does the recipient feel obligated to use it (do you want the recipient to bring out a six feet statue of a pink camel every time you visit their house)? Does the recipient have any allergy? Did you give the same thing to the recipient's close friend a few months ago (which may not be an issue, depending on the recipient)? That kind of stuff. And if you really want to make things more complicated, you can start thinking about things like cultural significance of some objects, numbers (lucky number vs. bad luck number), color, where it was made in, etc.

There are so many things to consider that it almost takes joy out of a gift giving. I know the intention is great when you search for this *perfect* gift. But the headache associate with it sometimes is too much that some people get frustrated and end with "Oh, I don't care. I'm just gonna get this!" This is unfortunate because, the bottom line is, all that matters is a thought (which you initially had before getting a headache, got frustrated, and bought the last thing your hand touched as a gift). I know, it's such a cliche, but true (and anyone who disagrees with it doesn't deserve to get a gift anyways). So, next time you are frustrated with a long (but rewarding, I'm sure) journey of gift search, please consider the entertainment factor before grabbing a random object and calling it a "gift".


What I mean by the "entertainment factor" is this: If you don't think you can please the recipient with a gift, then don't think about pleasing them, and instead, think about entertaining them. Imagine the face of the recipient (or crowd if there is going to be a party) when they open your gift, and think of things that will entertain them. It doesn't have to be an entertainment that lasts the entire party, and it certainly doesn't have to be a legend that everyone talks about in years to come. It just needs to make people laugh for a few seconds and say "wow!" How do you do that? Well, I have a few suggestions:


Combination to Tell a Story: Pick a few items that go together
Ex. Coffee maker, ramen noodles, a bowl and bottles of water (for a new graduate going off to a college or a friend who doesn't cook)
Ex. Cans of soup, Campbell cookbook, a stock certificate of Campbell, and a pot (for a friend who doesn't cook)
Ex. Stock certificate of Procter & Gamble and Pampers (for Baby Shower)
Ex. Coffee mug and a stock certificate of the company the recipient works (for a new job)
Key: Write a quick note to explain how the items go together
Package: Find a fun way to present the gift
Ex. Go to the recipient's favorite restaurant and ask for a clean to-go bag and a container (or wrapper and bag for fast food restaurant), then wrap gift with it.
Ex. Hang a gift from balloons. If your gift is light enough, or if you have many enough helium filled balloons, it can float. To make it even more fun, attach the gift-hanging balloon(s) to your cat/dog/child and let them deliver the gift.
Ex. Stuff a gift inside of a large balloon
For Fun: Something the recipient can play with when he/she opens the gift
Ex. Stuff a gift inside of a Penata and break it open as a game
Ex. Incorporate fortune cookie as a part of a gift (see fortune cookie article for additional ideas)
Ex. A toy with other added function (such as Pop Up Pirate USB Hub) or just a toy (such as Mini Air Hockey Table)
Special Case:
Ex. Once a friend of mine asked for "a truck load of money", so I bought a small toy truck and loaded with a pile of pennies. As soon as he realized what it was, it became one of his favorite gifts!
Ex. When you go to a Baby Shower, why not bring a small gift (additional to the main gift) for mother-to-be, father-to-be, and/or big-brother/sister-to-be.
Ex. When you go to a small child's birthday party, and if the child has sibling(s), how about bringing a small matching gift to the birthday child and the sibling(s) (such as matching mug cups, small stuffed animals, or cookies).

Seeing the recipients' face light up with joy as they open your perfect gift is priceless. But having a few laughter and a story to tell in a future is just as precious. And if you can achieve it while having a good time preparing the entertaining gift yourself, what more can you ask for?

Who knows, you might start to look forward to a next gift-giving occasion.

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