I love a well-thought-out gift.
While I would not consider myself a materialistic person, I do love when a gift screams “I know you well, I care about you deeply, and I’ve noticed this about you.” I spend a lot of energy trying to make my gifts do just that. I realize quality gift-giving doesn’t come naturally to most people. So with the wisdom I’ve gathered along my gift-giving journeys, I decided to put together this little guide to help you brainstorm ideas for this holiday season.
- A memory
If someone is a close friend or relative, memories with them are often the most cherished. Memories can be “given” in many packages such as:
- a book of photographs
- a short “film” of your video memories together
- a favorite photograph printed and framed
- a song written and recorded for them
- a commissioned piece of artwork of a special place you share
- a favorite letter from you framed
- A favorite piece of art, music, or literature.
Art is often a point of bonding for many friends and families. Some of my dearest friendships began because of shared love for musicians or books.
- commission a local artist to paint/mold/print something personal
- a beautiful or antique version of their favorite book
- the lyrics to their favorite song artfully printed & framed
- a CD or playlist with all your shared favorite songs
- a t-shirt or poster of their favorite band
- a signed CD of their favorite artist (if it’s obtainable of course)
- An experience
This can be as expensive or cheap as you want it to be. Examples include
- plan a surprise picnic or dance party
- buy concert tickets for the two of you
- hire a local photographer for a surprise photo session
- purchase dance lessons or pottery classes for the two of you
- set up a “drive-in” movie in your backyard
- go on a day-trip to their favorite near-by city
- take them for a “fashion show” in the dressing room at their favorite clothing store and purchasing them their favorite item
- take them to a fancy food store to buy ingredients for a fancy meal together
- A personalized assortment
This is a basket full of small things that you think they’ll love. You can even make it fun, and put a little note on each thing you put in there and say why you put it in there! There’s a million different things that could go in here, but as for some suggestions:
- their favorite expensive snack, candy, tea, or coffee
- a small gift card to their local coffee shop
- their favorite type of writing utensil
- an artsy postcard
- a cheap t-shirt you found at a thrift store that looked like them
- a good-smelling candle
- a plant or flowers
- an ornament
- fancy soap
- a funny card
- Nothing at all
Sometimes you’re in a season where you are low on money, and nothing you can think of seems to be worth it. At this point, my friends and family have a mutual understanding that it’s appropriate to not waste money, but instead just write a sweet note, pick up some wildflowers on the road, and give them a good squeeze around the neck! There’s no shame in this.
Few quick tips on pricing:
- If it’s for one friend, BAND TOGETHER with other friends to give them a better gift together than you could have apart!
- Price ≠ Quality. If a gift doesn’t cost much, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t MEAN much, and just because a gift is expensive, doesn’t mean it means anything.
- Don’t be afraid of second-hand gifts. There is NO shame in a high-quality thrift-store find!
- Never underestimate the power of a hand-written letter with genuine sentiment & some home-baked goods or hand-picked flowers.
I plan to do a follow-up post called “why gift-giving matters.” This might sound odd to most, or possibly even materialistic! However, I hope you are surprised that my argument comes from neither a materialistic or a consumerist perspective. In fact, I think it’s pretty gospel-centered. Check my social media to see it coming out soon!