I have established brands of gifts that suit Christmas, weddings and funerals. I use them whenever I need to and feel that they enhance and express my personal brand with humor, compassion and taste .... all qualities I strive towards. I'm not a pitchman for any of these products (last one notwithstanding), but think that finding a perfect fit for one's self-expression is always to be desired.
Weddings were the first celebration I personally branded by establishing a tradition of gifting a naughty, festive, fanciful wedding night outfit to the bride and groom to inspire and provoke a more memorable night, no matter how long they'd been together. Lingerie is one gift that both members of the couple may enjoy for different reasons; it adds humor and a sense of play to any wedding night. My late Honey began this tradition and I observe it still. A Fredericks of Hollywood box on the wedding table never fails to excite interest and incite amusement.
I've recently begun to memorialize the passing of friends with a gift to the Heifer Project, an organization that provides livestock, farm fowl, bees and trees around the world where they're needed. To celebrate a friend's passage I choose an appropriate menagerie from among sheep, goats, cows, pigs, water buffalo, chickens, bees, trees (and probably a few I forgot) with gift notification sent to the bereaved. I like the continuity of life that the gift implies, and the specificity of its intent.
At Christmas I send perishables. My mom doesn't need another thing in her life, but she can eat and enjoy six beautiful pears and be done with them. I have a long list of relations and friends that I annually gift with fruit and other evanescent delicacies. I employ Harry and David who thoughtfully keep track of my gift list's addresses year after year, making it way easy to keep up and expand. Way too easy perhaps.
Having branded gifts for special moments means I'm never at a loss as to how to respond. Oh! I just thought of another personal gift brand. Whenever a friend begins to learn a stringed instrument I give an electronic tuner. I like clip-ons because you can tune quietly before beginning to play even if there's other music going on or a lot of noise. A beginner (or anyone else for that matter) playing a well-tuned instrument sounds better from the get-go and with one of these magical gizmos you can be pitch perfect every time.
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