Gifted and Talented

Jennifer Knoch will be your elf.

Jennifer Knoch turned her advertising-job layoff in 2007 into an opportunity to launch her own business: Radar, an online concierge service. She provides recommendations to her clients, whatever their needs—date planning, business lunches, and gift buying. Here are some of her secrets for the perfect gift.

The holidays are a stressful time. Just embrace that you’re busy and need help. It takes a lot to ask for help in Minnesota, I know.

Think about where your gift recipient lives. Maybe there’s a great restaurant near his or her home. Or find something that represents Minnesota: history books, local music from Electric Fetus, butter from Hope Creamery.

People who have expertise love to share it. You’d be surprised how many chefs would give a cooking lesson at your home, for example.

Give intellectual experiences. If you give a membership to a museum or a cultural institution, it encourages people to get out.

Take time to think about your recipient’s past year. What was a highlight? Ground gift ideas in that.

Hostess gifts: Bring them. Cool wine-bottle stoppers, olive oil, herbs, a holiday arrangement. Make homemade gifts, like limoncello (though it takes planning).

Consumable gifts, like items from Broders’ or Surdyk’s, are slam dunks. You don’t have to worry about color or size.

But you don’t have to give consumable gifts to gourmands. Maybe you give them the soundtrack to Big Night—big, passionate Italian music, perfect to cook to.

You don’t have to tell on yourself. I can get the gift, wrap it, deliver it to you—and you can take all the credit.

If you get a gift, say thank you. Send a card in the mail. It can never be too late.

Contact concierge Jennifer Knoch at