The art of gifting

A pair of cufflinks. PHOTO | COURTESY
A pair of cufflinks. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Experts claim there is an art to gifting. I do not agree but believe there is a science to it with many variables.

It will depend on how long you have know them, levels of respect, your financial ability and the exposure of the recipient.

The most important question still remains who and why are you gifting, and for what impact?

If you are gifting a young family member, it should be easier as you understand them well and have engaged long enough to know their wish-list.

If it’s a business colleague you might need to do some research on their hobbies and preferences.


If it is your mentor then you need to really step up to the plate. In the case of a relationship (boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife) then the list is longer and can be as elaborate as necessary.

Here is my top six list and in no particular order based on budget.


Scents make more sense

Max budget – Sh7,500 - Sh50,000

Go for perfumes that are unique and full of character. It helps if it is not too mainstream as there are chances you might buy a fake product. Choose it based on your friend’s lifestyle.

If they are conservative and timid go for subtle daytime fragrances. If on the other hand they love the night-life choose a stronger more intense scent.
Avoid buying 100ml unless you are very sure.

Go for a 50ml in the event that they do not like it very much. Some sure bets are Chanel No. 5, Jo Malone, Creed, Aqua D Parma.

Jewellery – From a beautiful heart

Budget – Sh20,000 - 150,000

This is a very exciting type of gift but also very easy to get wrong. Again it depends on how much information you have of your friend or business associate.

If it is a man you could get a bracelet or set of cufflinks. A woman would appreciate earrings or a necklace. Avoid the cheap Sh2,500 gold-plated cufflinks as they will fall apart or fade in no time, as will your relationship.

Settle for something authentic from a renowned jewellery designer. You have many choices locally. Start at Patrick Mavros or Elias, both at Village Market. For ladies you could try Oceano Pearls.

She has very unique designs. Another awesome designer is Brian Kivuti who works with silver and gold out of his workshop in Nairobi’s Karen area.

All these designers will send a strong message that you really care as they are unique limited editions.

Vehicle – An amazing journey together

Budget - Sh1,000,000 – Sh3,500,000

This gets very complicated because there are so many things to consider. Are you looking to get a used or new. A used vehicle while of great value could end out breaking down and turning the gift into a problem.

If you opt for new then you will be reassured that it comes with a warranty in the event that something breaks down. Fortunately at this budget you will get the best in both categories. If used I would recommend you go for a low mileage hybrid model like the Toyota Prius as it has very low running costs.

If buying new then the Kwid comes in at under a Sh1million. Above that you have the VW Polo Vivo at Sh1.65 million and above that you can look at the Renault and Mazda3 that both come in under the Sh3.5 million budget.

You can choose to go for the more expensive brands which gives you the opportunity to customise it. In this case think Bentley, BWM and Mercedes.

You will have to plan ahead as this could take six up to 12 months to deliver. PHOTO | COURTESY

You will have to plan ahead as this could take six up to 12 months to deliver. PHOTO | COURTESY

You will have to plan ahead as this could take six up to 12 months to deliver.

Timepiece – For time well spent

Budget Sh150,000 – Sh2 million

Remember there is a difference between a watch and a timepiece. Never buy a watch if you intend to impress and respect the time you have known each other.

Regular watches expire in a couple of years while timepieces appreciate in value over time.

A good decent watch will cost anything between Sh30,000 and Sh100,000 while a timepiece starts at Sh150,000 to as much as you can afford. Examples of locally available entry-level luxury timepieces from Switzerland are Tag Heuer, Breitling, Longines and Omega in the mid range.

If you would like to spend a little more whilst playing it safe, a Rolex (1905) will do. It is relatively common, producing over 2,000 pieces a day, but will impress sufficiently.

You might want to opt for a German brand such as Glashutte Original, A Lange & Sohne (1845) or Mont Blanc (1906). If you really want to show that you did your research then go for something more personalised from Patek Phillippe(1851), Vacheron Constantine (1755) or Audermars Piquet (1875).

These brands have been around for a long time and have retained their watch making heritage. These timepieces push engineering, design and craftsmanship to a whole new level and make great gifts, impossible to ignore or forget.

Regular watches expire in a couple of years while timepieces appreciate in value over time. PHOTO | COURTESY

A Rolex Submariner: Timepieces appreciate in value over time. PHOTO | COURTESY

Experience – Priceless moments

Budget – Unlimited

An experience is intangible and will remain in the memory of the recipient forever. It will however be competing with other experiences so you need to make it count.

You could opt for a private holiday at an exotic destination via chartered or private jet. You could also simply book good a local luxury hotel for a couple of nights and have them be treated like royalty.

It will need to be a hotel they have never been to. A few suggestion would be the Hemingways in Nairobi or Karen. You could out them up at a high-end furnished apartment like the GEM Suites.

These are hardly advertised and have maintained a level of luxury few can match.

You could fly them out to the Maasai Mara or Laikipia and book them into one of the best camps.

These come to mind, Finch Hattons, Segera Lodge. Mara Plains, Cottars 1920s Safari Camp or Olare Mara Kempinski.

Life changing gifts

Budget – Unlimited

If none of the above will do it for this special person, then you might want to consider a different type of gift. A home or piece of land will have massive impact to a young adult.

Most likely a son, daughter, niece or nephew, this will set them up well for a secure future. In this case just be sure you buy from a reputable organisation that sells only what they own so that you have no issues of a fake title deeds or contentious ownership in the case of land.

Houses and apartments are easier to manage and you just need to choose which city to invest in.