With December right around the corner, it’s time to start your gift list! It can be a little overwhelming trying to find a thoughtful gift to give your parents, siblings, friends, kids, etc. Instead of stressing over what to give them and then buying a random last-minute gift, use these ideas to help your gift mean more to those you love.
Gifts that Make Memories: Experiences
Many of today’s parents agree that their kids have too many toys - the answer for trying to declutter is to gift experiences rather than things! Experiences not only contribute to a more minimalistic lifestyle but also make great memories, which in turn create tighter bonds within relationships. Furthermore, studies have shown that experiences contribute more to happiness than material purchases. While ‘vacation’ may be your first thought, an experience need not be a costly and long-term commitment. Many cities have family-friendly activities such as paint nights, escape rooms, and trampoline parks that are perfect for all ages. Chances are your kids will remember these experiences more fondly than they’ll remember playing with a toy they received. Check nearby venues for upcoming events, such as plays, concerts, comedy nights, or sporting events. If you live near a water park, amusement park, or aquarium, consider gifting an annual membership pass so the gift can be enjoyed every day of the year! Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial can be great resources for more ideas and discounted ticket prices. If you know the person you are buying for has a trip coming up, give them an experience they can use on the trip; for example, if they are going to New York City, look up a popular restaurant and purchase a gift card there. Or, if they have been wanting to visit a specific city, you can gift them airline miles to help purchase the airfare. If you are looking for a gift to give someone who has kids, offer to babysit so they can have some time off!
One of the most valuable things you can give someone is your time. An experience could be as simple as a lunch outing, going on a hike, or doing a service project together; the most important thing is that you are spending time with the other person and building the relationship. Most people would agree that your time means more to them than anything you could have purchased.
Gifts that Keep Giving: Personalized Items
What do you give to the person who has everything and could buy anything they want? Personalized gifts that they would not make for themselves! With the rise of companies like Shutterfly, it is easier than ever to provide personalized gifts. There’s no better way to commemorate a family trip than with a photo book - instead of just adding photos, record your favorite memories so those fun times will never be forgotten. Give the grandparents a book of 25 reasons why they’re the best grandparents, complete with pictures of them with the grandkids, or a personalized calendar so they can be reminded of how much they are loved every day of the year. If photo books and calendars seem like daunting projects, there are a variety of other items that are very easy to personalize such as phone cases, magnets, coasters, notebooks, pillows, and more. You can easily turn your favorite family picture into a puzzle, a deck of playing cards, or a memory game for the kids. Consider a personalized apron, cutting board, or mug for anyone who loves to cook. For the seasoned traveler, a personalized luggage tag or a scratch-off map of the world to help keep track of where they’ve been are the perfect presents.
Other sites, like Etsy, have an abundance of personalized gift ideas from bedtime stories to pet portraits to guitar picks. The best way to sort through the hundreds of pages of options is to search for the hobbies of the person you’re buying for. No matter what the hobby may be, you will most likely have an ample amount of options to explore.
Not only will the receiver treasure these precious gifts made just for them, but you won’t have to worry about someone else getting them the same thing!
Gifts that Help Others: Social Impact
How many times during the holiday season do you think about those who don’t have as much as you? What if a gift you give could help others around the world? Some companies, like Humble Hilo, have a giving back component for each purchase made. Humble Hilo sells bags, home decor, women’s and girls’ shoes, dresses, and accessories- all beautifully crafted in Guatemala. What makes these items even more beautiful is that for each item you purchase, a portion of the proceeds will be donated and you can choose who you would like your donation to benefit. Humble Hilo partners with organizations in Guatemala that have social impact projects in nutrition, microfinance loans, and education; for each item you add to your cart, you can choose to have your donation feed a malnourished child, provide a portion of a microcredit loan, or provide literacy classes. The receiver will love their unique handcrafted gift, be grateful they were able to help change lives, and be able to spread the word about Humble Hilo’s efforts through the use of their exquisite gift.
Have you ever considered giving someone a goat? What about a water buffalo? Heifer International has changed gift giving by making your donation mean more than a dollar amount. Livestock such as goats, cows, sheep, llamas, pigs, and chickens can change a family’s life by providing them with a steady food source and, perhaps more importantly, a business that will allow them to support themselves and provide a better life. Heifer has other gift categories including women’s empowerment, sustainable farming initiatives, and providing basic needs such as clean water. Women’s empowerment gifts include sending a girl to school or helping to launch a small business, both of which will drastically change the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their families; these gifts are more costly, but the greatness of their effect cannot be measured.
Gift giving does not need to be a source of stress; with these ideas, you can not only give a great gift but also create memories, strengthen relationships, and give back to others - that’s what the holiday season is all about!