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A closer look at gift-giving

School is back in session, the humidity is dropping a bit, folks are heading over to Starbucks for their Pumpkin Spice Latte... Fall is upon us!

This time of year, as you may expect, is the busiest for my business. I start printing note cards, art prints, and calendars, checking in with my retail locations, and getting my Etsy site whipped into shape. The holiday commission list starts to fill up by mid-October. On top of that, I'm starting to look out for gifts for my loved ones. I'm determined not to wait until the last minute to find gifts for everyone on my list.

I recently listened to a podcast about Gifting that was talking about gifting from a corporate perspective. It was an interview with a guy named John Ruhlin, who recently wrote a book called Giftology that I want to check out. He was being interviewed by Donald Miller on a podcast called "Building a Story Brand". I listened to it twice because it was so rich in information I had never thought of. See the link below to listen.

One thing you probably don't know about me: I'm a colossally bad gift-giver. It's simply not in my genetic code. I often wait until the last minute, find something lame that I like, and send it without a long note in the card (if I include a card at all...). Or even better, send them a piece of my art that just happens to be homeless at the moment.

In the famous Five Love Languages book by Gary Chapman (which I haven't read either), he says that Receiving Gifts is one of the 5 categories that define how you prefer to show love and receive love from others. The love language you speak says a lot about your personality. Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Quality Time are the other four. I'd consider "Acts of Service" to by my love language, shortly followed by "Quality Time". It's not that I don't like gifts, but I feel guilty when someone spends money on me.

I'm working on being a better gift-giver, and this podcast made me really think about how I can improve my gift-giving game this holiday season. One of it's main points was that the NOTE is almost always more important than the gift itself. Mind blown. The timing of the gift is critical too. Nothing says "Happy Birthday" like a gift a week later. Sigh.

Most of my commissions are given as gifts. They are the gifts that make people cry. I get the best feedback from clients when they give a house portrait. Like this one, from a realtor, "You wouldn't believe it! This client who was stone-cold and difficult to work with for months all-of-a -sudden was warm, teary-eyed, and hugging me!" Could that connection have been possible without that house portrait?

Here are some sample images of house portraits and wedding commissions I have completed. Each one has a different story. One of my favorite parts of being an artist is that I get to tell a visual story. If you would like to commission a piece for art for your loved one this holiday season, just email me or click below to find out more.

Please check out my Custom page for more samples, sizes and prices on my Etsy shop (links below).

Here is the link to that Podcast:

And here is Donald Miller's website:

I highly recommend Story Brand for any small business owners. It's given me much-needed motivation!


In case you're interested, I now offer e-gift cards through Square. These can be applied to my Etsy shop or Commissions.

Click here to order one:

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