My love for gift-giving began when I was very young. I didn't have much money to spend on gifts so I usually made cards or DIY presents for everyone. When I began to earn my own money and buy gifts instead of making them, everyone expressed how much they used to love my handmade gifts and even that they missed receiving them. Seriously? You are telling me you enjoyed my handmade photobooks and popup cards more than this store-bought, made to last gift? WHAT?
Not to be a cliche but I have come to realize that the thought really does matter. I love giving because it is a way to show your gratitude and love for someone. It can make a person feel seen and cared for and even strengthen a relationship. When you make this mindset shift towards showing gratitude, thoughtful gift-giving becomes much easier. The best part? You can become a more thoughtful gift giver with a little intentionality and practice. These gifts don't have to break the bank, they don't have to be extravagant and they certainly do not have to be DIY. Follow these tips below to become a more thoughtful gift giver!
Take some time to really think about the recipient
This seems self-explanatory but really carve out some time to make your list and think about the recipient. What do they like to do, what are their hobbies, goals, ambitions, etc. Think about the little details that make them, them. The quirks that make you love them. Look for a gift that speaks to their personal story - this will show that you 1) listen and 2) that you care enough to remember the little things.
Keep your ears and eyes open all year
The best way to pick up on the little things is to really pay attention. Take mental notes of items your loved ones talk about through the year. Or hey - just go back and buy it right then! There is no rule that says you have to do all your Christmas shopping at the end of the year. This is a great tip for also staying on your budget by surpassing last minute overshopping or having to budget all your gift budget for one month.
Before you start shopping - make a plan. This can give you time to really think about what you want to give this year and help you stay within your budget. I personally start thinking about Christmas gifts in September. This gives me time to really think out a gift for everyone on my list and shop around.
Use your the best resources.. aka friends and family
If you are really stuck - reach out to other friends or family to get a few ideas rolling. You don't have to do this alone! I actually love running gift ideas by other people to see what they think or if they spark any other ideas for a better gift. Just because you ask for help does not make it any less thoughtful.
Maybe go handmade
As I mentioned in the intro - my family used to love my handmade gifts. Even if they are not great, making something can show your dedication to personalizing a gift for someone. Even if you are not a DIY expert, a simple homemade card, personalized just for the recipient, can go a very long way.
Less is more
While frivolous gifts can be fun, practical gifts are always well received. Think about what the recipient needs, uses a lot, or what they have that can be upgraded. I know that I personally won't spend money to upgrade certain practical things for myself but would love if I received them as a gift.
Make the gift a whole experience
Finally, think through the gift, the card, the wrapping, the name tag, everything. This is not to say that you need to have extravagant wrapping. Some studies actually show that plain brown wrapping paper actually ends with higher satisfaction of a gift. This is due to our expectations we have when we see shiny, bold, fancy wrapping. We think a gift is going to match the wrapping - which is usually not the case.
Think through the entire gift and make an experience from beginning to end to make the gift more meaningful! And remember - gifts are about gratitude. They are a happy way to show your love for someone. Take the pressure off yourself and focus on only that.