It’s so easy to shop online during the holidays nowadays. We've all done it: it makes getting whatever you need easy and quick. BUT there is a time and a place for commercial big-batch products. This M.O. is not how all thoughtful gifts are made and thoughtful gifts is what we'd like to talk about.
In the next few blog posts we'll talk about gifting during the holidays: and more importantly, gifting that shows that you cared enough to take time out of your day and your life to look for and find a gift that tells a story, a gift that someone may appreciate beyond words (such as the Top 12 Questions to ask yourself when buying a gift for someone, ways to give in other ways that aren't tangible, artisan and handmade gifting, etc.. If you are interested, sign up for our newsletter to know when we post about these articles).
Your gift may be tangible, it may be a gesture, and it could be a contribution to an organization or an experience: whatever the gift is, our goal is to give you some tools to prepare you to be the best gift giver this season. And maybe along the way, help remind you that you DO actually have the time to make an effort.
If you'd like something really juicy, you can download our gifting guide. Through our own and others trial and error we've found a proven way to make gifting painless and easy through 4 easy steps. Download our free Gifting Guide and Checklist to make you the best gift giver possible this Holiday season.
Top Five Rules on How to Ensure that Your Gift Will Have Meaning and A Story
1. Make it personal
The most important thing to remember when trying to make a gift personal and exchanging gifts is that you show you really know the person well, and you really care about them. Do you have a good memory with the person you can translate to a gift? It there something you love to do together? Do you know of something they have been wanting to get for themselves and they haven't quite done it yet? How do they like to relax? Photos convey 1000 words, so when all else fails find a photo or many and make a gift from them. I'll share a little something with you. Every year, I put together a small photo album for the grandparents with photos of their time with their grandchildren. Grandparents are suckers for this! My go to is to use services like Mixbook or Artifact Uprising. The templates are already set up for you and all you have to do is plug and play.
Be practical and make sure the gift is something that they can actually use. A good rule of thumb is to not choose presents based on what you would like to get but rather on what the recipient would really want to receive.
2. Donate in their name
Giving gifts to friends or to a charity is linked to happiness. Research suggests that happier people give more to charity, and that giving more makes people happier: all this equals an endless loop of happy!
Moreover, charity-related happiness is highest when people give in a way that fosters social connection. A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Happiness and Development found that people felt happier after giving in a personalized manner, via a friend or relative. So, try giving to the less fortunate in someone's name this holiday season — it might give you both a holiday glow.
Some ideas include the Heifer Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (which we support with our Chemo Gifts), Charity Water, or for a more extensive listing go to the Charity Navigator website.
3. Customizable Gifts
Creating a personalized gift is easy and memorable! The first step is to decide their personalized style; something engraved, monogrammed, or custom-made is a good match. Grandparents are an easy target for this and are forever grateful for the mugs and t-shirts of their grandkids printed on top.
4. Don't go overboard with anti-consumerism
Getting something for someone that they can find easily for themselves or would likely pick up at the store on their own doesn't scream personal and unique. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from big-batch product retailers. When shopping for kids however, don't panic if their Christmas list looks like the entire index of the Target kids catalog either. A little bit of commercialism can help kids make connections with their peers. Having some of the same "stuff" that others have helps kids find common ground with their peers. That's not to say that materialism is to be encouraged, but there is a time and place.
5. Give Handmade
New and store-bought is not always best. A study published in March 2015 in the Journal of Marketing found that people prefer buying homemade items for loved ones and were even willing to pay as much as 17 percent more for homemade things versus mass-produced items. The findings suggest that people feel that handmade (or homemade) items show more love, and love is what they want to express to the gift recipient.
Can you use your skills in the kitchen or as an avid DIY’er to make something for the person or persons whom you want to gift to? Last year I printed tea towels for everyone. A few ideas include: a homemade family recipe like toffee or cookies, canned veggies from your garden, handmade wooden picture frames, handipped candles, soap, knitted scarves or hats, etc.
If you are still having trouble finding gifts for those you want to gift and need some help, we have a great free guide for getting your gifting in order this season. You can download it for free by signing up for our newsletter on the homepage to our site.