Holidays, birthday and anniversaries paint the calendar red, red to remind you of that trip to the Mall Without Pity and the stress in choosing the right gift. Don't you wish you had at your fingertips an arsenal of clinically-tested, ready-to- present gifts? Welcome to a not-so-revolutionary idea that will nevertheless set the beds of social rest ablaze: it really is the thought that counts. Gifts are a form of communication. Think of all those lovely objects that ended up in the hands of an assistant, elderly aunt, or neighbor. It's a good bet none of those gifts had anything interesting to say.

Price is no object. Meaning: there's never a reliable relationship between your recipient's joy and the resulting credit card bill. It's the feeling of surprise that cements the memory, not the instant appraisal of how much you ponied up.

Get clever. It's that laugh that will let you know you made the impression. Example: if you're feeling naughty, try an hourglass along with a note that reads, "just think of all the things we can do in an hour." Or a pair of walking sticks customized along with an invitation for a Sunday walk. Turn a card from a blank canvas into a masterpiece by mounting your photo inside and writing: "this is the person who wants to take you to dinner Friday night."

Get personal. The expression of sentiment is the real gift.

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