Put The Gift In Its Place
Holiday season is when gifts can occupy quite a large spot in our headspace. Some of us are better than others when it comes to giving gifts. However some of us can feel “gift anxiety” at the thought and pressure of having to find the perfect gift. It is rather shocking how a gift – something that is supposed to bring joy and show thoughtfulness and love – can make us feel stressed, inadequate and disorganised. At the worst it can even make us doubt our sense of taste or our relationships as we struggle to identify what our friends and family like!
If the gift is not “ideal”, we may begin to wonder how well we actually know people close to us which in turn makes us wonder how well others know us, too. How can we avoid this? How can we “put the gift in its place”, so to speak, so that it doesn’t take over the actual meaning of the holiday season? This time of the year should be about our experience of being close to other people and is a chance to relax from the stresses of the everyday life.
Here are some tips that we have come up with over the years to elevate our gift giving process, make it less stressful and to help ensure we gift something with true value and meaning.
Don’t Leave It To The Last Moment
Time is needed to put some thinking into who the person is and what they might enjoy getting from you. For some people you may know right away what an ideal gift is, but for others you just need some time to have a think and systematically go through their hobbies and likes. Rather than rushing around at the last minute to both think and acquire their gift, start your thinking process a few weeks ahead of time. Even if you don’t get the gift until later, at least you know what it will be which is half the battle.
Make A List
When organising gifts for a holiday season, make a list of all the people you want to get gifts for. Make a note of what they like and what they enjoy doing. This will make it easier to decide what to get.
As you are browsing in the shops or online, you may come across the ideal gift for one of these people. Mark that down as and when you discover it. If nothing better comes along by the time you need to buy or create your gifts, then that’s the one for them.
You don’t just have to get socks and sweaters. Instead maybe think about tokens of something that the person enjoys. For example if someone is well organised and hasn’t gone paperless, perhaps they would enjoy a leather-bound notebook. Someone who likes plants and flowers might enjoy a flower delivery subscription. For more suggestions, look out for my next post.
The Value Of An Experience
Don’t forget the value of an experience as opposed to a physical gift. Giving an experience will not only be a great gift but it may be a gift that keeps on giving. If you get a cooking class for someone who enjoys cooking – not only will this person enjoy the class itself – but it will create memories that can be relived and shared. In addition they hopefully will also learn something new that they can use forever. All of this is thanks to you!
Once you decide what it is you want to get (providing it is a tangible thing and not an experience), personalising it will add more value to it. There are numerous services and websites that offer personalised goods by either printing or engraving names, initials or messages. For example a chopping board engraved with the recipient’s name, or a bottle of whisky where the brand label is their name. These are unique gifts that not only can be enjoyed, but kept and treasured for a long time.
If You Are Absolutely Stuck…
If you are absolutely stuck don’t fret. There’s always a few “go-to” items we use that are usable and enjoyable:
- A cheeseboard – just make sure they are not dairy intolerant!
- Wine – dessert wines are a more original gift rather than a cheap cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay. For suggestions check out our article on dessert wines.
- Think of a restaurant that both you and recipient will enjoy. Then create a handwritten invitation to a meal there. This way you will avoid buying something just for the sake of buying anything and you take care of the planet by not getting some junk that will be thrown away shortly after the holidays. The fact that you’re also there doesn’t hurt, either!
The Intention Matters Most
What matters most is the intention and thought that went into getting or organising your gift. You don’t need to obsess over it as people who love you will appreciate the intention and those who don’t will not be swayed by any present anyway!