Right now, my living room is still rocking its Halloween decorations mid-November, and it will most likely (ok definitely) stay that way until the end of the month. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be scrambling to find gifts the week before Christmas, though. Finding the perfect gift for someone is something I absolutely love. I pride myself on being a thoughtful gift-giver, and never want to give anyone more meaningless stuff just for the sake of giving them something. Here are a few tips to finding thoughtful, intentional gifts for everyone on your list!
Write it Down (or Pin It!)
If you’re like me, if you don’t write something down, you’re going to forget it (no? Just me?). I have lists for everything, including a running list of gift ideas. I also have a secret “Gifts” Pinterest board for things I come across online. If I see something I know a loved one would like, or if someone mentions needing something specific, I just add it to my list or save a picture to my Pinterest board. That way, when it’s time to find a gift for someone, I’ve already got a list full of thoughtful ideas and I’m not scrambling at the last second. So if you mention in passing that you like my wallet and you’ve been meaning to get a new one, guess what you’ll be getting for your birthday 3 months from now?
Be Sneaky (Verging on Stalker-y)
Use the power of social media to snoop on other people (all in the name of gift-giving research, of course). Did your friend post about missing that awesome coffee she had at a local coffee shop while she was on vacation? Think how surprised she’d be if a couple bags of that very coffee showed up on her doorstep! Did your cousin share how much he loved visiting a state park? Think how much he’d love getting an annual pass to visit ALL of his local state parks! You can even dig a little deeper and check out what brands or accounts they follow/like/comment on. They’ll think you’ve achieved mind-reading status when you give them a mug made by that potter they’re always liking on Instagram.
Don’t Underestimate Quality Time
Experiences and time together can be the best gift you can give! Plan some one-on-one time with someone you don’t get to see very often. Promise a day with no phones or distractions. Take them to a movie, on a hike, treat them to dinner, bake cookies together … just make sure it’s something that they will enjoy and that the two of you can do together. This is a great idea for anyone on your list, plus it comes with the bonus gift of not adding more stuff-for-the-sake-of-stuff to their living space.
Choose a gift that reflects a certain event, person, or special memory. A couple years ago, I had my sister’s best friend create a painting of the house we grew up in. My parents moved out a few years back, so now they have the painting on display in their new home. I even got prints made of it for my siblings and myself, and I love seeing it in my office every day.
Maybe you took a special trip together last year - have an artist create a painting from one of your favorite photos! Maybe they have a box of Grandma’s old recipes sitting in their kitchen - put those together in a nice book that can be handed down to the next generation! Going the sentimental route is great, because you’re adding something to their home that actually means something, that can bring them joy every time they see it in their daily life. That’s why I love painting framed invitation keepsakes - it’s a personalized way to display your mementos and create a tangible reminder of a special memory.
There are so many benefits to shopping small, as well as shopping local. Yes, I own plenty of things from Target, and the UPS guy is probably concerned about how many Amazon packages he delivers to our house. But I do make an effort to support independent businesses, especially when gifting. When you visit a local gift shop, you’re going to find things that you won’t find in a big box store. When you venture out to a craft fair, you’re going to find truly one of a kind items and be able to connect with the person who created them. When you buy from independent artisans like me, you’re directly supporting real people and their families.
Interested in a framed invitation keepsake this holiday season? The last day to order one in time for Christmas is next Saturday, November 24. If that’s not enough time for you to get me the invitation, or if you don’t have it on hand yet, I also offer gift certificates. The gift certificate includes shipping of the final artwork to the recipient so they are only responsible for sending me the invitation that they would like included in the piece. Then I will work directly with them to create their one of a kind artwork.
Embrace Snail Mail
Make someone’s day by sending a hand-written note in the mail, maybe for no specific reason at all! Think how happy they’ll be to get something other than bills or junkmail.
Wrap it Up
Yes, the wrapping paper gets ripped off immediately, and in all honesty it’s probably pretty wasteful. But taking the time to wrap a gift and add a cute tag just shows you put even more thought into it. Even if you don’t have the wrapping skills of Martha Stewart, in this case it really is the thought that counts.