I’ve been told a lot of great ideas come to people when they visit the bathroom. As a rule, I don’t spend as much time in the bathroom as some people I know. I don’t have reading material, and I don’t sit around for very long after doing my business.
However, I do have thoughts that strike me while I am there. I have things hanging around in there that remind me of friends from my past and present. Objects, gifts and pictures that remind me of my friends every time I visit.
Today, a new idea struck me. The best gifts are the ones that come with a story. A memory. On the first of a month, lets say February 1st, because that is today, but it can be any date really., Just pick a date that stands out and repeats, like a birthday, or a holiday. You’re going to give someone the gift of a story.
On this day, every year, give someone you know a gift, without fanfare or explanation. Make it something inexpensive and small that can be collected — something like a tiny toy elephant or a frog ornament of some kind. Then, next year on the same day, give them another 1 of the same style gift. Another elephant, or another frog. On the third gear, give them yet another one.
When you give them the first gift, it will not really be understood. Just a trinket that may not get much attention. On the second year, it will yield a smile.
By the third year you will forever be associated with that gift. Every day on that day, they will think of you. They may come to expect the gift, but even without it – they will think of you, and probably smile.
You’ll never have to think of a gift idea again, and forever more, at least one of those gifts will probably be in their home, somewhere. It may stay with them always, mentally. When they think of frogs, they’ll think of you. Whenever they think of Feb 1st, they’ll think of you. You have built an association memory.
For the rest of us, this happens by accident. I’m sure you have a few. People you think of when you see certain things. On Facebook, we tend to share such images or links. If I see a Doctor Who post that makes me smile, I share it with my Doctor Who fan friends. I have friends I think of for lots of things.
Your repetition creates such a memory on purpose. On the first year, if they question the gift, don’t tell the story. Just say there is a story, but now is not the time to tell it. On the second year, when they open the second gift, and see it is also a frog, or elephant, or whatever, they’ll remember last year, and probably smile – or laugh. You can repeat now is not the time to tell the story behind this gift. On the third year they will probably predict, and maybe even expect – another frog? Yes. And you can tell this story then. How you created a memory, and an association as the gift. It took 3 years, but more than any other gift ever it will be remembered and cherished forever. It will always be in you and bring a smile to your face. When I see a frog, I’ll think of you.
That is the gift, and you’ll get another one next year.