Gifts that Keep on Giving

A birthday is one of the few things that everyone has in common, and it’s also one of the fewer things that happens year-round. As you mark your brand-new 2017 calendar (I recommend Paper Source for women and Moleskine for men, both have sales going on right now!), and mark friends’ birthdays in the coming year, don’t wait until Facebook sends you a notification to wish them happy birthday. It never hurts to buy gifts in advance, and if the gift is an experience or something tangible, both will last for a long time after you give them. In my case, most of my friends probably have everything they need (and most also have better taste than I do), but there a few things I like to give as gifts and highly recommend.

For a simple birthday present or to show you’re thinking of someone, mail them a Greetabl. Founded in 2013, this adorable start-up strives to provide affordable gifts that are convenient for the sender and special for the recipient. To create a Greetabl (see steps in the picture below), all you have to do is pick a box (with many available vibrant prints and designs); select a fun gift to go inside (simple like confetti or sophisticated like champagne gummy bears? You choose); and add photos of you and your friend along with a personalized message that will be printed in the box. Greetabl can link to your Instagram for you to pick photos, and the recipient can take the photos out of the box and have them as a keepsake. It’s an aesthetic, easy, and genius gift, and shout-out to my friend Alison for sending me one when I got a job and introducing me to such a cute company!



While a Greetabl is great if you’re sending something to a friend far away, a customized Snapchat filter is the perfect gift for someone you’re celebrating with in person. You can create an on-demand Snapchat filter for someone’s birthday, going away party, engagement celebration, baby shower, parents’ anniversary…honestly anything! Use Snapchat’s suggested designs or create you’re own and upload the image; set the location and boundaries for the filter (the smaller the area the cheaper the filter); and set the time and duration of the filter. Once you pay for the on-demand filter, it will be scheduled to appear at the place and time you set! I made one for my best friend’s birthday weekend in the Hamptons and she was so surprised that something we joke about as “goals” is something I actually did! Everyone there used the Snapchat filter to post and save in their camera rolls, and it became a great memento of an amazing weekend.

While a cupcake or bottle of champagne are sweet and yummy gifts, they don’t really last more than a few hours after they’re given. Give a friend a book that they will enjoy and it can be a life-changing read for them, a fixture in their bedroom or bookshelf, and something they can share with others as well. For someone in their 20s, my top picks for literary gifts are Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and The Defining Decade by Meg Jay. I even gave my friend Milan a deluxe leather Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for her birthday, because I know faith is important to her and she would enjoy a devotional book. My friend Conner did something very cool that I hope inspires others: for each of his friend’s 21st and 22nd birthdays, he gave each of us a book that he thought fit our personalities or we could really benefit from. It’s super thoughtful and something you’ll always treasure.

Last but not least, sometimes the best birthday present is an experience that doesn’t have to be extravagant, but can make you feel extravagant. Take a friend, sister, or family member to high tea. One of my favorite places in Georgetown is Lady Camellia, a hidden gem on Prospect street that seats only a few dozen for tea, macarons, scones, tea sandwiches, whatever you desire to feel classy with good company. I’ve been with my best girlfriends from high school, as well as with my mother and aunt. It’s a unique experience and a great chance to catch up with the person you are celebrating, and also feel like you are in “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”


© Rissponsible Living, 2017

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