Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Venus and the Art of Gifts

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

When the Sun is in Libra, our thoughts turn to love and relationships. I’m glad I get a little dose of Libran friendship—and sunshine—any time of year. Here’s what I mean:

The other morning, I reached up and grabbed one of my favorite coffee mugs. It has a big, bright sunflower on it and it holds enough wake-up juice for a real caffiend. (Guilty.) I’m a slow starter in the morning without a stimulant jumpstart. The mug was a gift from my dear friend, Dana.

Over 31 years of friendship, Dana has given me many gifts from small to large, some of them breathtaking in the generosity they reflect. However, it’s this inexpensive but cheery mug that probably brings me the most joy of all of them. It reminds me not only of the Sun outside, which I work too hard to see often enough, but also my astrological Sun in the 5th house of creativity. I live and breathe to be creative. How well she knows me. Every morning it isn’t in the dishwasher, that mug wakes us both up—my creativity and me. (“We be mates,” to quote Crocodile Dundee.) My sunflower mug warms my heart with rays of friendship. What a fabulous way to start the day.

What’s so great about this mug is how well my friend gets my essence and reflects it back to me in her choice of gifts. She knows what cheers me up and on. Just using her coffee mug reminds me of her support ongoing.

We’re rounding the corner of the time of year when we start to think about what to get our loved ones for Christmas, Chanukah, Winter Solstice—or whatever winter holidays you celebrate. I started out talking about what people give me, but I’m told my own talent for giving gifts is A+. How can astrology help turn you into a gift-giving genius? Giving gifts engages our Venus. This being Venus’s time of year, what a perfect time to wake up your love planet before you have to take her to the mall—or out on a Google gift search.

Venusian Qualities – Their Gift for Gifts

Venus as a planet is about our one-on-one connections with others, so the art of gift giving has to do with observing those we care for and making mental and physical notes of their needs. If it doesn’t come second nature to you—and it doesn’t for everyone—here’s a trip around the Venus signs with tips on how to polish yours to gift-giving perfection. Apply the suggestions, with minor modifications, to relationships of all kinds.

Don’t know or forgot your Venus sign? Go to this link on astro.com to generate your free natal astrology chart.

Venus in Aries. You’re passionate and showy in love and probably the spontaneous gesture is easier for you than the planned Christmas or Chanukah present. Ideas: Start with the loved one whose affection matters most to you. For a week or more, focus on the things he or she casually mentions or admires. “Wow, look at that great gray sweater she’s wearing. I’d love to have one like that.” Look at what she looks at while window shopping. Notice his comments on certain TV commercials. “The new iPhone looks fantastic.” Take notes, and set a reminder in your computer now to review and buy from your ongoing list you’ve been making. (Works for birthdays, too.) Use the Aries quality of getting there first to shop as early as possible and snag bargains. By Halloween, you need to be on it! The skills you develop in this practice are likely to make you lucky in love! With Venus in a Mars-ruled sign, I know you won’t mind if the results are a frisky recipient.

Venus in Taurus. You probably enjoy receiving gifts as much as giving them. Still, sitting in the lap of luxury is no fun alone! As long as your beloved is even a dash as sensuous as you are, aim your gift cards toward tactile pleasures you can enjoy together like couple’s massage or a special dinner at a gourmet restaurant. (There’s always Stone Cold Creamery or Baskin and Robbins cards for stocking stuffers. Or See’s candy.) Along with Venus in Libra, Venus is in one of its own signs in Taurus. Thinking of others is easy for you, especially if there’s mutual enjoyment involved. Notice what rings your bells together, and make note. Does she gasp when you’re together at an art gallery? Does he love movies so much; “first run” in his case refers more to how fast he sprints to get to the latest release? Buy that painting or theatre gift card.) The best part? You’ll be giving yourself a gift, too.

Venus in Gemini.  You like your gismos and gadgets. So many things catch your eye—so many interests. The issue is to capture them in the notes section of your smartphone or on your digital recorder. Set a reminder to start observing your beloved’s “wants mentions” starting this month. Make it recur once a week so you don’t get side-tracked. Make a “drop dead date” to go shopping, whether in a store or on your keyboard. The drill is the same for every sign—observe, record, and shop from the list. Some signs have a little more trouble with focus and follow-through. That (ahem) might be you. Since there’s a little trickster in every Gem, try involving them in one of those circulating notes on Facebook. Make it up, for example, 10 Things I’d Most Love to Have and What They Say about Me. These exercises to get to know our FB friends better are routine. They’ll never suspect your fishing for gift ideas till they unwrap something on their list.

Venus in Cancer.  Since you love the home version of just about anything, fix a special dinner for your honey and just happen to mention your concern about what to get for several people this holiday season. Get his or her ideas. People often think in terms of what they’d like themselves, so take mental notes to write on a recipe card when your unsuspecting loved one leaves the room. (Everyone has to go to the bathroom sometime.) Mention the wonderful gift catalogs you’ve gotten lately. Ask your beloved to take a look at some of them after dinner. It’ll be fun to each look at different ones and share your favorite finds over coffee and a platter of still warm chocolate chip cookies. Now, as your guy or gal hits those pictured pages, make note of any comments, especially enthusiastic responses like I just love this! He or she won’t know what hit, and being the innate nurturer you are, you’ll have discovered several fabulous ideas that will come as a big surprise when fulfilled a couple months later. The love of your life will have long forgotten the night of catalog and cookies—well, maybe not the cookies.

Venus in Leo. The king or queen of showy gestures, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find something that will make your loved one gasp at your generosity or creative genius—preferably both. You sometimes have trouble putting down your mirror long enough to look at someone else, but I’m telling you—same as Aries—this will pay off!  One caution: You need to gauge your tendency toward big gestures to the individuals in question. If they’re on the shy side and you’re the one who plays the social one between you, don’t send a singing Santa to their office. What will mean the most is that you focused on their needs by taking the time to observe their wants and what delights them. Since you are a kid at heart, you’ll have more fun if you can bring their inner child out to play with you. (Everyone has one. Everyone needs to express it, usually more than they do.) Show them how lucky they are to have a pro Big Kid in their lives. You can buy gift cards for Disneyland at the grocery store, and since you know how to play, think up a perfect weekend road trip that’s chock full of amusement parks, carnivals, food festivals, etc. And since you love the Sun, a shared gift trip somewhere sunny will recharge you and leave you less concerned about the charge on your credit card.

Venus in Virgo.  I don’t have to tell you about keeping lists. I do have to remind you that you have to give up from the get-go the idea that there is one perfect present. You’ll have plenty of holidays for gifting those you love. Aim for the possible—something they’d really enjoy—not the illusive ideal. Take a tip from a Virgo Sun about organization. I make a file with the list of all my gift recipients. It has columns with their name, gift ideas, places I’d buy them and a place to check off—done! I put a shortcut on my desktop in fall, and I add ideas to it as the weeks inch toward December. In a good year, I’ve got all my shopping done by Thanksgiving so I can relax and enjoy the festivities, rather than having shopping still hanging over my head. The great part is that I have a record of what I gave people in years past so I don’t duplicate. I can just copy last year’s file, delete the content and rename it Christmas List 2012.  I trust this tip will keep you from making yourself sick with worry about getting just the right thing!

Observe, record and buy from your list are the words that make their dreams come true, regardless of your Venus sign or theirs.

Venus in Libra.  You probably don’t have any trouble observing your loved ones and coming up with gift ideas, but you might have a dilemma deciding which one(s), ultimately, to give. Bet you’ll want to give them all, but that’s what budgets are for—to help you decide among the possibilities without wounding your own Venus with big post-holiday bills. It’s probably good for you to set a dollar limit on your recipients and edit your idea list with that in mind. Much like Taurus, since you’re both Venus ruled, you like doing things with your beloved. If you can find gifts that involve participation that you’d both enjoy, all the better. Some ideas: concert tickets, Sunday rental of a bicycle built for two with a scenic route in mind, front-row seats at the local comedy club. Nothing balances a Venus in Libra like laughter, and the one you love will be the lucky beneficiary of your resultant good mood.

Venus in Scorpio. Of all of the Venus signs, you have the most capability of digging deeply into the psyche of your beloved and understanding his or her most fundamental needs. Since you are also wired for a love affair with research, you have the capacity to find the most obscure but unique gift possible for your loved one. It will probably be so perfect; you’ll arouse the envy of Venus in Virgo. Here’s a for-instance, borrowed from my Jupiter in Scorpio which has similar abilities. My uncle’s surname is Sharkin. He gets a lot of mileage out of calling himself The Shark. He loves things with sharks on them. He also plays cards, so I can’t restrain myself from making card shark puns. It occurred to me that he might like some playing cards with sharks on them, literally, if such a thing existed. Yep, I found these amazing shark playing cards—in 3-D even! You, too, can pull off while completely enjoying the secret until the perfect moment. While the playing cards were a stocking stuffer and a lightweight example, you’ll know how to apply the idea to bigger issues—like an airline ticket to visit a far-off  friend whose nearby presence your dear one misses acutely. And if that’s too expensive for you, try a prepaid phone card or make your own gift card with an offer to help them set up Skype for video calls.

Venus in Sagittarius. Santa Claus must be a Sagittarius, so I have no concerns that Venus in Sag knows how to give gifts with a generosity that rivals Leo’s. The trouble might be more in coordinating the shopping trip between adventures. Since you love travel, remember that gifts from foreign ports are much appreciated by most people. For instance, I knew a guy who collected figurines of elephants. If I had a Saggy Venus and he were on my holiday shopping list, I’d be hunting for little trunked critters in every bazaar and tourist trap around the globe. You have a busy social calendar, and finding the time for serious shopping is a challenge, as serious is not on your style. If you can afford a personal shopper to give you more of your favorite commodity—freedom to go where you want and do what you want to do—it’d be a great solution. You’ll still have to feed that person information about your loved ones. Consider the Cancer trick in your own style. Take your loved one out to a fun dinner and talk about your need for gift ideas for friends and family. That conversation is usually colored by the person’s own desires. Or forget surprise and ask them for a list, just like Santa. Let the surprise be which one(s) they get … and perhaps any fun spin or variation you put on their wishes. When they say it’s even better than what they had in mind, you’ll know you scored!

Venus in Capricorn.  Try to overcome a tendency to make your gifts too practical. I know it’s against your nature to buy frivolous gifts for yourself, but if you can pull out the stops with your loved ones this holiday season, you just might find it doesn’t hurt you or your pocketbook half as much as you thought to buy something totally unnecessary! You’ll have to listen a little harder than some of the other Venus signs for particular phrases like if money were no object or it’s just not a priority. That’s a blinking neon sign that says this is something I’d really like to have. Imagine how much more meaningful it will be from someone who doesn’t normally give that kind of thing! These items your loved ones covet are often not so much prohibitively expensive as they are too far down in their queue of “needs first, desires second.” For instance, I’ve been dying to have some small stud diamond earrings. They’re not that expensive, but my practical Virgo husband, to whom I’ve hinted and even put this item on my Santa list year after year, keeps giving me those useful gift cards from Amazon and Starbucks. While I totally appreciate them and use them instantly, they lack that something I’d never buy for myself factor. (Maybe I can send him shopping with you. Start at the jewelry store.)

Venus in Aquarius. You love the odd gift, the odder the better. Just remember not everyone feels the same way. For instance, if you’re shopping for Venus in Capricorn, just the opposite advice applies as given to the Venus Goats. Be bold enough to buy something unique and practical. Your recipients will be impressed that you got them something they can really use. This doesn’t mean it can’t have your love of the unusual built in. Since you’re likely to be comfy shopping online, here’s a for-instance. I went onto Amazon (they sell everything with eBay in the same broad net category). I searched for “unique handbag.” Tons cropped up, but one that impressed me most was made of teal faux leather. I wear a lot of this color and would almost kill for a bag like this or one in lime green, one of my favorite accent colors. But who would buy anything but a neutral color unless they had an unlimited budget? Even more conservative dressers often love an unusual accessory because it adds pizazz without disturbing their overall comfort with the classics. You can apply this search principle to any practical object and find gift gold. There were also two unique books that caught my eye in this search, in case your recipient sews or likes crafts: The Bag Making Bible and Creating Romantic Purses. As these books are nominal in price at $10-17, you might add a new wallet for the purse they’ll create and/or a crafts store gift card. I doubt your gift will be duplicated and I’m sure it will be much appreciated!

Venus in Pisces.  Oh, dear V. in P. You love everyone and would buy them the world if you could afford it. Since that’s unlikely, unless you’re an oil tycoon, let’s talk about how we can bring this annual shopping task down to earth for you. You’re another Venus sign that might do well with letting your recipient have some input on this project. Encourage a long list from each of your closest loved ones, and make sure you both understand you’re not buying everything on it. This is a Wish List, and you’ll choose which of the wishes to make true. (If they already keep a Wish List on Amazon or some other online shopping venue, just ask for the link.)  You’re romantic and dreamy, so it’s fun for you to make dreams come true. Put yourself in their shoes (you're good at that!) and decide which suggestion(s) would be feel the most enchanting to receive. Boundary alert! Stay within reasonable budget. Organization may not be your strong suit; so, put a reminder in your calendar for early in the season to ask for the lists back … and follow up, if you haven’t gotten them. You’d also be a good candidate for a shopping service, but you’ll still need to get those lists. Since merging with the other is an issue, your own observations may not be as clear as the wish lists, because you’ll think your loved ones want what you want. Maybe yes, maybe no. Can’t decide which one? You’re part wizard, so draw a tarot card, use your pendulum, or close your eyes and point. The Force is on your side, and on a personal wish list, no wish is too big or small. They’re all good.

Happy Venus Season and remember that the gifts of time, attention and listening are the best gifts of all.


Photo Credit: lovely autumn © Шпорт Олександр| fotolia.com


Want more early shopping tips? Read these posts:

Humor: Gifts for Every Chiron Sign
This tongue-in-cheek trip around the Chiron signs can apply to Sun signs almost as well—and there are some actual good gift ideas in-between the jokes.

Is Mercury Retro a Mean Santa?
Tips for navigating this year’s pre-holiday Mercury Retrograde, Nov. 6-26, 2012

The Fairy Godmother Wants You!
A bunch of affordable, unique gift ideas—most of them field tested to wows by The Radical Virgo.

The Fairy Godmother’s Holiday 2010 Gift Guide
Still good any year!

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