A well-written, heartfelt note is the difference between a so-so gift and a touching, memorable one. There are a number of approaches you can take.
1. Tell the recipient why you chose the gift.
There's a scene in the holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life where Mary stands on the steps of a new house, hands the new owners a loaf of bread, and says, "Bread, that this house may never know hunger."
A simple note of explanation turns an ordinary gift into a meaningfully symbolic one. Even if your gift isn't symbolic, a note can go a long way. Start your note with:
I wanted you to have this because..., or
This reminded me of you because....
2. Tell a story.
Everyone has a different perspective on even the most well-remembered events. Write a note that tells a story involving the recipient from your point of view. This is the perfect type of note to include with a photo gift, especially when the photo depicts an important family event or rite of passage like a wedding or graduation.
2. Use an Oprah writing prompt.
Recently Oprah Winfrey did an entire show on thrifty holiday practices, with note-writing was a central feature. Oprah suggests starting notes with:
What I love about you is...
Thank you for..., or,
My holiday wish for you is....
Notes like these can accompany a gift, or they can be the gift.
Image by Zsuzsanna Kilián