Creative and Intentional Gift Giving

Updated December 2020

The holiday season is finally here – something that many of us have been looking forward to for months. I mean really, what better way to brighten up this crazy year than with a little holiday spirit? For many, this may be the best gift giving year yet, inspired by a lot of time filled with not much else. But for others, this may be the year that we’re blindsided by being stuck – where our creative juices have also decided to quarantine. 

If you fit the latter category, I’ve got your back. Coming up with creative gifts is something my family enjoys doing. That’s not to say that we don’t have crazy, busy years where we just check off a list, but those are the holiday seasons I enjoy the least because it means we’re too wrapped up in ourselves and the craziness of life. Intentional gift giving gets us out of ourselves and prompts us to stop and think about what would not only make others happy, but what would bring them joy. Here are some creative and meaningful gift ideas to help get those juices flowing.  

photo background by George Dolgikh from Pexels

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Give an experience

Giving an experience is one of the most thoughtful gifts that can be given. In this day and age, most of us have too many things as it is. Giving someone an experience where memories can be made is a true treasure. These ideas range from simple and inexpensive to going all out. 

  • Family movie night at home (a local pizza restaurant gift certificate, popcorn and an Apple TV+ subscription – currently $4.99/month)
  • Bottle of wine and a gift certificate to a nice local restaurant (that offers outdoor seating with heaters!)
  • A weekend getaway
  • A virtual class or online course 

Gifts that represent the recipient’s interests

Gifts that represent the recipient’s interests show that you’ve really taken the time to think about who that person is and what they like to do. Most importantly, it means you’ve taken the time to get to know them, at least a little bit.

  • Anything that has to do with their hobbies such as woodworking books or tools, photography books or equipment, etc.
  • Cookware or cookbooks
  • Music (Spotify or iTunes gift card or books about their favorite artists)
  • A gift card to the recipient’s favorite restaurant
  • Tea kettle, mugs and tea samples
  • Collection of good coffee (If it has to be ground and you’re not sure whether they have a grinder, include an inexpensive one)
  • Magazine subscription
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Intentional gift giving that represents shared experiences, interests or something you enjoy doing for them

These gifts are meaningful because they represent your relationship with the recipient.

  • Framed photos of you and the recipient from an experience that meant something to both of you
  • Christmas ornaments from a place that you traveled to together
  • If the recipient loves your chocolate pie or a cake that you make, give them a wooden pie box or cake carrier with their cake or pie inside
  • Skylight frame – an electronic photo frame that you can email photos to and they automatically appear in seconds. This is a great gift for older family members who you might not be seeing much of this winter. 
  • A slideshow of photos that they can put on their laptop.
  • Dish towels or wall hangings with a favorite saying for both of you
Photo by Julia Sakelli from Pexels

Environmentally friendly and healthy gifts

Environmentally friendly and healthy gifts can help the recipient acquire some of the things that they’ve been wanting to get but felt like they couldn’t invest in for themselves. Let’s face it, a once-in-a-while investment in something that’s more sustainable or is healthier overall may feel like a lot if you’re buying it for yourself. If you’re buying it for someone else, you’re helping them to reach their lifestyle goals, and you’re getting to enjoy intentional gift giving.

Photo by Eneida Nieves from Pexels

Locally made gifts

The key to giving locally made gifts is making sure that they’ll mean as much to the recipient as they do to you. Including a card or tag with an explanation of the item’s story or why you thought the recipient would like it can help to make sure that the item’s meaning isn’t lost.

  • Pottery
  • Handcrafted wooden items
  • Jewelry
  • Handmade soap or lotion
  • Local beer or wine
Photo by Artem Bali from Pexels

Things the recipient wants but won’t buy for herself

We all know what these kinds of gifts are. The things we know the other person really wants but they simply won’t buy for themselves. Even if it’s something that we don’t necessarily understand or appreciate ourselves, it doesn’t matter. The gift is for the recipient. If you’re concerned that it’s “just one more thing” that the person is getting, write them a card or note explaining why you wanted to get it for them and that shows you understand what that particular item means to them. This is truly intentional gift giving. Suddenly a seemingly generic gift becomes very personal.

  • InstaPot
  • Kitchen gadgets of many varieties (bread knife, slow cooker, spiralizer, etc.)
  • Kitchenaid stand mixer
  • Running shoes
  • Workout clothes
  • Tennis racket and tennis balls
  • Golf club(s)
  • Clothes

Bottom Line on Intentional Gift Giving

These are just a few strategies and ideas to guide your intentional gift giving this holiday season. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s clear to the recipient when you’ve put thought into your gifts. They will appreciate the gifts because of the effort you’ve put into them, and they will love them because of the joy they will bring.

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