As the years go by and I grow older, the desire to pick up present for everyone increases in me. So does the need to sophisticate my choices and adapt them to the occasion and the person specifically. Until now I haven't failed too much into understanding people's needs or desires and I usually get a big smile and happy face when they open and see my choice. Even if it was the opposite, I don't think I would never stop doing this, as it fills me with joy and it is one of my favorite activities ever.
But I know a lot of people are stressed out a lot by the whole procedure of choosing gifts, packaging them, tags and presentation and the moment of the surprise too.
I assume the same problem goes on everywhere, but it is slightly bigger in my country and other countries, where it is still difficult to easily find the proper gift without spending a fortune and escaping traditional or safe choices.
That is why I will share with you some of my favorite options to give (and receive) for alternative gifts ideas. The names and companies below are the ones I have tried and I can suggest. Of course there are many others and I invite you local readers to share more with me if you know.
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1. A swimming pass at Nobis. It could be one day, 3, 5 or a whole month if you can afford it. Everyone appreciates swimming in winter. This giant wellness center also offers spa services, face and body treatments and heavenly massages. I have tried their facial and it is reasonably priced with a bonus hand and foot massage you get while your mask is doing its job. It's perfect. You can check their facebook page for more gift ideas, including self care sets combined with passes and treatments
2. Books. My new favorite is Bookstore in TEG, because of it's big space, the wide range of books they have and the fact the sale girls don't bother you unless you ask for themselves. I usually spend an hour wondering around until I pick my books and I feel no pressure. Finding the perfect gift in this situation is easier if you know the person very well and you choose a classic favorite of them or a new best seller. And if you really want to go all the way, pick a trilogy or an encyclopedia with several volumes, something they might enjoy, but never indulge in for themselves. For young friends, go with a bunch of mini books or pop up pages, crafts and hobbies themed books.
3. A gift coupon for a night out at a new bar/restaurant/club in the town. I am so glad that websites like www.123.al, www.zero.al and www.lal.al are bringing companies and services closer to us consumers. Great offers are presented everyday, ranging from places to eat out, vacation packages, self care items and rad services. A gift coupon with a spa treatment for a friend or a night out for your favorite couple amongst your relatives would be great.
4. Mr&Mrs Smith gift voucher. This one is international but it is my favorite. As I would love to get this gift, I guess everyone might enjoy a prepaid or partially payed stay in a hotel of your dreams. The options are endless, according how far you want to take your friends and how much you can pay.
5. A language course. There are several available in all websites mentioned in number 3, but you can also ask directly at a language center nearby your house or your friends' house. I find this gift a great one for younger people, like teenagers and kids in your family, a sibling or a parent, even for your partner. If they need help improving their English (or any other language), need a talking focused session for their next job travel, or just enjoys learning new languages and cultures, don't hesitate. It might not seem as attractive as the other options but it might be even more useful, as gifting this possibility means you really care about them and didn't just throw another ball in your basket.
6. Nowadays a lot of salons offer gift coupon ideas, starting from a manicure/pedicure, hair treatment, facials, specific body treatments and massages, as well as a total package of everything. Sometimes you can score great deals and save a lot of money. If you know the person well, you can choose the package yourself, otherwise set your desired amount of money and let them do what they like at the salon. Gift the coupon in a nice little box or sealed envelope and make them smile. Girls appreciate it most, but also the men in our lives should start to experience the value of taking care of yourself.
massage/treatment gift coupon. I have tried buying and using gift coupons at Velur Spa and I have loved the experience and the great service.
7. Taxi Shop. You choose the gift from their relatively wide range, you pay online and they bring it wherever you are in Tirana. Or you can send it directly to your friend or surprise your parents at work while they are busy. I love their IT tools collection for my brother, the self care kits for everyone and the leg massage mini spa for myself. I haven't tried this service yet, but they seem pretty correct and fast.
8. Dancing courses. There are so many dancing centers now in the city. From a quick research online i found this, this, this and this. I am sure there are a bunch more, so you do your search. They teach your the basics of dancing or advanced and specific genres. I love the short courses especially for couples who are getting married, although I think it is great for every couple with a social life, attending weddings or formal events. You never know who might invite you where, so you better be prepared. I am eager to try one and I will let you know how it goes.