Tis the Season
Whether you’re observing Yule, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukah, or a family holiday, this is the season for gift giving. A lot of us are struggling right now to figure out the right gift to wow our nephew or what to get for our mother-in-law who has been impossible to buy for (and impress), year after year. I’ve had a few loved ones who have been frustratingly disinterested in relating any kind of hints as to their desires, so I have turned to the Internet to solve my problem.
Naturally, with any great life question (at least in the year 2018) the first step is to turn to Google. In looking at the search results, the pragmatic (nerd) side of me raised an eyebrow at three different options. First, It’s Only Natural Gifts is a gift shop so who better would know how to find just the right knick-knack for my loved ones? Their guide (link here) has a few great tips that I have taken to heart. Specifically, two points stood out for me.
“Gifts given with sincerity are appreciated even more so than expensive, rushed and impersonal last minute items.”
Not only does this prevent us from breaking our bank and potentially cause some resentment when we are given a gift of a lesser value, it reminds us what a gift is meant to be – an appreciation of the recipient and what they mean to us. Personal touches are key.
“Watch what the person talks about frequently, what they buy for others, or where they like to shop. These little clues translate to a great future gift idea from you.”
Again, the personal touches can turn a gift into a blessing. Instead of something that you think they may like, look for clues and hints at what the recipient will love to receive. If they wear a bohemian style, look for a bohemian piece of jewelry or scarf. If you see them with a lot of blue, find something along those lines to compliment their wardrobe.
The second gift guide that caught my eye was from The Chopra Center and covered the mindfulness of giving gifts. What better way to get to the root of a personal gift than through a mindful exploration? The article recognizes one resource that all of us often run short on: time. The gift of time can be invaluable and invigorating for those on the verge of letting important things slip.
The article suggests a two-pronged approach to gifting time:
“Think about a skill you can share by providing lessons for a loved one. It’s a heartfelt way to spend time with a special person and share your passions.”
You can also give your time and energy by creating a gift certificate for:
If anyone out there wants to get me a gift… a gift certificate for meal preparation, house cleaning would go a long way.
Last, but not least, my nerd brain found an article on the science of giving the best gifts. To be fair, this article echoed much of what the previous two did, particularly along the lines of getting to know the recipient. One extremely valuable nugget that this article does convey is to not be overly utilitarian. We all have that one friend or family member who would appreciate the gift of the absolutely necessary new socks. The rest of us, however, find utilitarian gifts impersonal and lackluster.
While economists are busy ruining their marriages with cash and blenders, marketing experts have long found that people get the most satisfaction from “useless” experiences that have emotional impact, like going on a beautiful bike ride. Researchers believe this is especially true for older people, who derive much more pleasure from experiences than possessions.
Whatever gifts you buy for your loved ones, lean more on your observations and your heart. From me and all of mine to you and all of yours, I wish you the most blessed and joyous holidays!