A few years ago I found myself struggling for the longest time on what to get special people in my life for Christmas. Then I realized that as I get older, I actually enjoy thoughtful gifts more than just materialistic things and I have to assume that others do too. Along with a few unique ideas, I want to share some tips on how to listen to your loved ones or to learn what they might like.
Starting with the most obvious, is listening to what people say they want. I love catching someone talking about something they’d love to have and knowing they wouldn’t buy it for themselves. The key here is obviously writing it down or relying on your memory 😉 I try to pay attention when someone talks a lot about an item they would love to have or feel like they need.
Another pretty obvious tip is to simply ask someone what they’d like. The tip here is to do it early enough. You want to have time to find or order what they want and truthfully you probably want them to forget they asked for it (lol) so that you can surprise them. My husbands family is the BEST at this. They start asking sometime in November for everyone to list a few items they’d like. It’s super simple and kind of fun, like a childhood memory of making a list for Santa!
There’s something about us that instinctively thinks that if we spend a lot of money on something, that there’s a higher value on it from others too. The issue there is that everyone values things differently. For example, I don’t really get impressed by expensive cars but some people LIVEEE for them; It’s just personal differences. Giving gifts is the same way. My husband is especially good at giving gifts that are special and meaningful and aren’t typically high in cost. A great place to find unique gifts is this website. They have super cool stuff that you wouldn’t find elsewhere and are really creative and special. You can also shop local in your town, online at Etsy or Amazon Hand Made.
Speaking of creative, some of my favorite gifts of all time are things that people have made for me themselves. It doesn’t really have to be anything massive or crazy expensive to make but I truly feel like everyone loves to know that you made something just for them. It takes so much more time to do, but that’s part of the reason it’s so special. For example one of my best friends made a picture collage on a canvas of a bunch of old photos of us growing up and used modge podge to keep the photos on. It hangs in my office to this day because it’s so special to me. I’ve had friends make me custom wine glasses, make me yarn key chains and all kinds of little projects that ended up meaning so much to me.
Remember love languages
It’s important to note that not everyone’s “Gift” love language is very high. Technically mine is right in the middle which means I do enjoy receiving a gift from you, but it’s not the top way to show you care about me. Take into consideration what someone’s love language is and give them a “gift” that matches that. For example, if their love language is physical touch, maybe give them a coupon book full of massage credits from you (obviously this depends on who the person is lol). If their love language is quality time, maybe an enjoyable evening out or coffee date with just the two of you. This is another chance to get creative. My mom in years past has purchased car cleaning gift cards for my dad, or he’s gotten her things to help keep her organized. They might not seem like a big deal to others, but to them these are perfect gifts that actually mean something.
The absolute best and most important advice I can give here to plan ahead. I’ve received and given the worst gifts by not prepping ahead of time. Now any gift is still a way to show that you’ve thought of someone but honestly there have been a handful of times where I have wasted money on something that I realized later I never needed to gift and I could have spent that money in a better way on the person I love. Even most custom items only take a few weeks to have ready, so not too much time is needed to plan ahead. By the time you’re reading this, hopefully you’ve put some thought into what you’re going to get loved ones, and if not, I would suggest following some of the above suggestions 😉
Keep the main thing, the main thing
Now an important thing to note here is that you should remember the Holiday season is more about time spent with loved ones than about gifts given. Try to keep in mind that yes people love to be spoiled with nice things and thoughtful gifts, but the gift of your presence will always outweigh the amount of money you spend on anything. With that said, BE PRESENT. When you’re with loved ones and close friends, make sure to put your phone away and eliminate distractions and simply enjoy time spent with them. I promise that is the best gift you can ever give a person.
Happy Holidays friends,