I’m sure I’m not the only one who has trouble deciding what to get my friends on their birthdays; it’s a universal headache, after all. You want to get them something thoughtful, something they’d remember for years after, the best the world can offer – all while sticking to a student budget and schedule. Once, as I was stressing over a present, my friend reminded me that gently: “Spend time with them.”
Her advice has worked for me every time since. It has become routine for me to bring my friends on experiences for their birthdays – creating memories and something tangible from scratch, both of which we can bring home at the end of the day.
May is the month where many of my friends’ birthdays coincide with each other, so I’ve decided to make a list of things I want to do with my friends on their birthdays, all in the fair city of Seoul. Here’s to hoping it’ll help you too.
Make Custom Perfume
This entry on the list is admittedly here because one of my closest friends loves scents – she often goes diffuser shopping, and her room always smells the best. In one of our many conversations, she let slip that she’d been on the hunt for a signature perfume. Something unique, special enough that one whiff of it would invoke her presence in any room. Fitting herself into any on-the-shelf bottle was difficult, though – she enjoyed many scents, but never found a scent that belonged to her.
Don’t tell her, but I’m going to take her on a date to make custom perfumes when her birthday comes along.
If you have a friend like mine – one who loves scents yet has difficulty actually purchasing one, why not do the same? A day spent mixing heavenly scents together, with the added benefit of being able to bring the precious end-product home, sounds absolutely perfect for them.
Hippocampus, located in the trendy Yeonnam-dong area, is an artisan perfumer that promises to guide you in the process of making a perfume you’ll love – all for less than 50,000won. Bring a friend along for the experience, then continue the day at one of the innumerable, cute cafes and restaurants dotted around Hongdae area. All in all, it’s sure to be a thoughtful, unforgettable gift.
Take a Ceramic Class
If your loved one likes to get creative and doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty in the process, a ceramic class might be a good way to bond together. Rough, handmade ceramic tableware has been all the rage these days, which will earn you plus points with any friend interested in interior design. Help them bring their Pinterest board to life – literally – by creating mugs and plates in any way you want. It’s a bonus if you’re able to eat a celebratory meal together on the plates you have made after the class ends, though you might have to wait a few weeks for the end products to set and dry.
Ceramic classes have enjoyed a surge in popularity as a hobby these days; one that can be linked to the interior design fad, or just by those who enjoy making something personal that can also serve a practical purpose. It’s a hobby particularly enjoyed by parent-children groups these days, as it’s less physically straining, and allows for conversation and a feeling of togetherness during the sessions. If you enjoy it, maybe consider taking a long-term class instead?
Nightfruiti is a well-known ceramic store selling creative, niche pieces – they have long been featured on the Instagram accounts of the trendiest influencers. They often open their studio to novices looking to try out ceramic craft – catch them on their Instagram when they announce their class schedule. Alternatively, consider buying a few of their pieces for a busy friend who can’t make time in their schedule for a class, but loves ceramics all the same.
Though ring-making sounds like an activity better reserved for a couple rather than two best friends, my friend group would think otherwise – we all have a soft spot for accessories, and would love to have matching ones, ala Ariana Grande and her friends in ‘7 Rings’. What better way to declare your friendship than a wearable accessory you can feature in all of your group Instagram stories every time you get together?
If your friend group has unique tastes, something particular they want to immortalize or would just like to try making something while hanging out and having fun, custom ring making is a good option.
We.att, an atelier with branches in Hyehwa-dong and Hongdae, offers one-day ring-making classes at a reasonable price. Three levels are available – Basic, where you can make a plain silver band with the engraving of your choice; Premium, where you can learn to create more intricate, difficult designs; and Dia, that allows you to work with diamonds.Their beautiful custom designs are also available for purchase online, and would make a perfect gift to a friend who lives farther away.
There’s nothing more precious than a good memory, so treat your friends to an experience they’ll enjoy, even if it isn’t their birthday!