Give Gifts with Meaning this Holiday Season
The season of gift-giving is back. While the holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends, the gift-giving aspect can apply a little unwanted pressure to the festivities — especially with luxury car companies pushing you to tie a ribbon and bow on an SUV.
If you don’t have that $100K per gift to spend, we have some ideas for personalized gifts, do-it-yourself gifts, homemade gifts and inexpensive gifts. They say it’s the thought that counts. Here are some thoughts that won’t leave you counting your pennies.
Give a gift that’s personal.
Give a gift that’s reminiscent of an event in your loved one’s history. Reference an interest or a hobby; if your best friend fosters dogs, track down a “Foster Mom” hoodie. Pull a comment from a past conversation — like when your brother mentioned his winter beanie is worn out. You could highlight a moment in the recipient’s past: Search online for an old tour poster from the concert your parents went to on their first date. A gift that echoes a meaningful event will likely make more of an impact than a generic trinket with a high price tag.
Brainstorm gifts reminiscent of times you and the recipient have spent with one another. Wrap up a bracelet or a T-shirt that reminds your best friend of that spring trip you took together six years ago. Gift your coworker an organizer for all the jokes you make about how messy their desk is. Get creative. Give the kind of gift that highlights the connection you already share.
Give a gift with a story.
A gift with a story behind it is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Not only does your friend or family member have an item to enjoy, the item is also a conversation piece. A local thrift store or flea market is a treasure trove for finding unique gifts with history. Is there anything about the gift that makes it extremely rare? Find a coin from the year your loved one was born or an old toy from the era of their childhood. One-of-a-kind gifts like these show how much thought you put into the item, not how much you spent.
Give a gift that gives back.
Many companies offer a donation to match your purchase or dedicate a percentage of their profits to charity. For example, you might purchase some stylish socks for your sister, and the company donates a pair to a homeless shelter. You gift a pair of canvas sneakers to your nephew, and a pair of shoes is donated to a child in need through the company. Seeking out and purchasing from organizations like this is a great way to go when you’re buying for someone who is socially conscious. . If your loved one has no need or desire for a gift, you can find a foundation that supports something they believe in and make a donation in their name. You can even print out the receipt and wrap it as you would any other gift. Every little bit counts, and the recipient will know you put thought into the gift.
Give a gift that is homemade.
Do-it-yourself gifts are true keepsakes when they’re made with thought and intention. A photo album is an instant walk down memory lane. Put together a book of family recipes to show you appreciate your family’s traditions. Identify something your recipient uses every day and make something unique — construct some coasters, decorate the frame on a mirror, even stencil a small design on a scarf. Knit matching hats and gloves or learn to knit and see what happens when you try. The beauty of DIY gifts is often found in their imperfections. These can be highly meaningful gifts that won’t break the bank.
Give a gift with presentation.
If you’ve purchased a mobile device, computer, tablet or device accessory over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed how much care is put into the packaging. Packaging heightens the value of the item inside. You can do the same by purchasing an everyday item and enhancing it with some DIY packaging.
Buy a box of chocolate mints, ditch the box and repackage the mints in a clear cellophane bag with silk ribbons. Congratulations. You’ve taken an ordinary box of mints and made them exceptional. There’s even the possibility you’ll get more love for the unique packaging than for what’s inside. Little details and gestures like this go a long way in gift-giving and are easy on the budget.
Give a gift of service.
Chores. Nobody wants to do them. Some of your loved ones may even be physically unable to do them. If you have the time and the ability, this is a truly thoughtful way to show your family and friends you care. Cook a meal. Babysit. Change the oil. Wash the windows. Clean the house. Rake the leaves. You could even create a sort of coupon book or checklist of tasks that your recipient can cash in on as needed. The personal nature of a gift of service can be highly rewarding at little cost to you.
Some things to keep in mind
The true spirit of gift-giving is not about the cost of an item, it’s about the thought and intention that went into it. Something personal that resonates with the recipient can create a lasting impact, showing that you’ve been paying attention. Think of a shoestring budget as an opportunity to really use your creativity. Your loved one will appreciate the effort, not the price tag.
Hopefully we’ve outlined some strategies that will help you wrap up the holiday season with great gifts for your friends and family to make them smile while keeping your savings intact.
Enjoy the holidays.