A KitchenAid Stand Mixer Was the Best Splurge Gift I’ve Ever Given Anyone

updated Nov 12, 2020
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I have a hunch that most people keep a running list of things they’d like to own, but even if they have the means, wouldn’t hit the “buy” button. Maybe it’s a fantastically expensive candle, when you know that a more affordable one will do, or upgrading your living room with a custom-made couch even though a ready-made one could serve the same purpose.

For my mom, that was always a KitchenAid stand mixer. She would look over them wistfully whenever we went shopping at Target, but, because we had a perfectly serviceable hand mixer at home, never bought one. A single parent with two kids and a mortgage, she couldn’t really justify spending upwards of $400 on a single appliance just because she wanted to. But that didn’t stop her from talking about owning one eventually.

So last November, when I saw Amazon run a major sale on KitchenAids, I didn’t think twice and purchased one for her in a powdery blue. It was the best gift I’ve ever given anyone.

There are a lot of elements that go into what makes a gift “good.” Utility, or how much the recipient will actually use the gift, is a big one; after all, presenting kitchenware to someone who doesn’t really cook might be seen as passive-aggressive, and that new mixing bowl set would find far better use with your friend who is a pro in the kitchen. Researchers even found that the people receiving the gift cared more about how useful it is than anything else; this was at odds with the people who were giving the gift, who often operate from a place of simply trying to put a smile on their loved one’s face. And while one survey found that 62 percent of gifts are unrequested, 42 percent of respondents said the best gift they had ever gotten was one they specifically requested.

As etiquette expert Mika Meier previously told Apartment Therapy, the best gifts also evoke emotion, are personalized, and often retain some element of surprise, even if the gift itself isn’t a complete surprise. (If your parents ever fulfilled one of your requests from an extensive birthday present wish list, you know the feeling.)

There was very little masking exactly what was inside the gigantic cardboard box that showed up on my mom’s doorstep one day, and I didn’t very much feel like wrestling a very heavy box into gift-wrap. So while she very quickly figured out what her gift was, the best part was watching her realize that she no longer had to dream about owning a KitchenAid—she had one now.

Of course, even at a major discount, KitchenAids and other kitchen appliances can be really expensive. There are few people in this world who can afford to gift everyone in their life something with such a high price tag, Oprah-style, and often that one-time splurge gift is the one that tops everything else for a few years. A “maybe one day” gift could be as simple as taking someone to get a manicure or a nice haircut because you know they’ll never allow themselves the indulgence. You might also approach the endeavor a group effort: A friend and his siblings once pooled together to buy their mom a high-tech new refrigerator, and the video they captured of of the big reveal was honestly a gift in and of itself.

Whatever the present, whoever the recipient, and however you go about securing it can vary. The KitchenAid was a present to my mom, to be used in her kitchen on a daily basis, sure, but it was also a way to say thank you for all of the sacrifices she’s made for me over years. It is in many ways because of her that I was financially stable enough to see that one-day sale and purchase a KitchenAid without worrying about making rent the next month. I’ll never be able to thank her enough for everything she did throughout my childhood, but slowly, through the life I’m building myself, I can try.