As Valentine's Day approaches once more, we find ourselves scrambling, searching for the absolute perfect gift for your loved one(s). I'd like to take this moment to remind you all that the tiniest details can make the biggest difference. Now this topic probably doesn't have much to do with gothic culture or optics, but it can help make good first impressions and solidify established relationships, both personal and professional.
I personally consider myself to be very detail oriented. I like to give little 'just because' gifts to my 10 year old niece whenever I see her-- nothing big, just inexpensive goodies like bat stickers or skeleton hand gloves. I believe tiny gifts show the receiver that you put extra thought, effort, and time into showing them that you care. I notice that even small gestures among business associates go a long way; I enjoy sending candies every now and then when I send out orders to various labs. Of course, it's always best to ask before sending goodies just in case your associate is allergic, diabetic, or dieting.I believe this simple gifting act does wonders for business relations, and causes your associates to be more comfortable with you and more enthusiastic to work with you when there are problems to be solved. On that note, even intangible acts of courtesy can leave a significant impact. Always remember your please-and-thank-you's, emphasize your gratitude, and show a genuine interest in your associate's ideas. "Ma'am" and "Sir" are also nice touches, but at this point boys and ghouls, this goes beyond business and extends to your conduct around other human beings in general. It's harder to be mean to someone who is well mannered and respectful (granted, it happens, but it's true that honey attracts more flies than vinegar).
Of course, what would Valentine's Day be without little surprises for our romantic partners? You can always go the traditional route by bringing home flowers, candies, balloons, or teddy bears, or you could also go in a more intimate direction (though I like to keep my blog G rated for the most part, so I'll keep suggestions to myself), but often personalized gifts leave the greatest and most memorable impressions. Example: A number of years ago I'd remembered that my partner had mentioned in passing that his wallet was several years old and falling apart. I'd figured that a practical gift would give the message that I care about his needs. I went to one of the best leather shops in town and bought him their finest black leather wallet. Then the fun began. I first filled it with shiny red heart confetti. Then I printed out his favorite photographs of us to wallet size and put those in the last pocket. When we'd first met it had been discovered that we both like to stuff Chinese fortune cookie papers in our wallets, so I made my own about the strength and endurance of two hearts beating in unison- that went in the next pocket. Then I took out my lyric booklet from my "Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666" by HIM (too bad these are being phased out with their CD counterparts) and snipped out the lyrics to our song "When Love and Death Embrace." I proceeded to write a few "I love you" notes on pieces of paper about 1 inch by 1 inch. Lastly, I wrote him a poem, signed it with a lipstick kiss and a few sprays of my perfume, folded it slightly, added a few more sprinkles of heart confetti, and tucked it lovingly inside of the wallet. I think my favorite part of the project was his expression when he discovered each and every detail. Personalized practicality is a nice alternative to the mundane and generic (but still nice) gifts. Another year I gave an elaborate present of an automobile makeover. This one he didn't mention needing, but his car's interior was crying for help. I got him really cool black and blue flame seat covers, dragon floor mats and steering wheel cover, Dragonball Z window decals (we found out early in our relationship that we were both big fans), and of course, a pleasantly scented air freshener. Again, I tried to cover every detail, and again, he loved the surprise.
Obviously, tiny details extend past Valentine's Day onto other holidays. Last Christmas I sent about 30 of my friends, some I've never met face to face, Christmas cards. Each card contained a unique message and a sketch, some even included holiday-themed photos of my cats (which I personalized with writing at Walgreens for about 30 cents a print). Even minor holidays like Easter are days you can show love to your family and friends. One of my favorite Easter memories was when I was a little girl. My father, may he rest in peace, woke me up with a delicious scrambled egg and toast breakfast. Afterwards he gave me a gift bag containing Starburst jelly beans (to this day they're the only jelly beans that don't gross me out), plastic eggs filled with Skittles and M&M's, and an Easter addition Barbie doll. I cherished every little detail, and surprises like that, I believe, caused me to want to do the same for others. The high regard I hold for detail is further reinforced whenever I am once more on the receiving end of a detailed gift- a few Valentine's days ago my partner sent me a love package filled with my favorite candies, a white gold bracelet, and a few other odds and ends- but what tickled me the most was the pink packing peanuts he used.
Some say that the Devil's in the details, others say God. I think they're both right, in that there's something divine and magical in them.
Wishing you and your loved ones a very blessed Valentine's Day,
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.
PS- here's something to do with both glasses and goths! ^___^
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