There’s quite a bit involved with holiday gift giving.
You want to make sure you’re choosing gifts that your loved ones like. At the same time, with all the planning and work one has to do at the end of the year, it’s easy to leave some (or all gift planning) for the last minute.
Nowadays people have so much stuff, that there are entire movements around changing things, reducing what one keeps and getting rid of unnecessary items.
Chances are you really want to make sure you’re getting gifts your loved one’s want and need. Whether they are products they like or experiences that would be fun.
Inspire Gift Giving And Thoughtfulness
This last weekend we got out a holiday advent calendar from My Kindess Calendar. It encourages kids to choose an act of kindness to focus on each day leading up to the holidays. Of course, many parents focus on this year round, but the advent calendar had some creative ways to initiate conversations around the topic of kindness each day. I almost wished they had created one for the entire year.
The anticipation and excitement my daughter experienced leading up to when we started using it, to waking up in the morning ready to choose the next topic is really cool to see. From donating toys, supporting local businesses, to learning about new cultures, it helps open up a dialogue about the different reasons why each activity matters. Also, practicing acts of kindness and giving not only make one’s community and the world a better place, studies have shown it builds resilience and increases happiness too.*
Ways To Encourage Gift Giving
- Bring out or purchase craft items your child loves, so they can have fun making gifts and cards for loved ones.
- Support a local family – Several communities have programs that support underserved families and kids in foster care, programs that rely on donations and gifts from people in the local area. Some even provide lists of items they need, that were requested by kids in their care. Instead of having your child donate an old toy, you can take them shopping with you to select brand new items that will be given to children who requested them. You can then provide them to the organization that requested the items, so they can distribute it to those who need and want them. I spoke with a mom who did this recently and she mentioned how enthusiastic her kids were to get a gift for another child. She had conversations with them around the topics of accumulating less stuff, appreciating what they have and the impact of giving to others.
- Encourage your little ones to help you out when you’re preparing gifts, whether homemade or store-bought.
- Lead by example – donate your time to a local non-profit or charity, or if you don’t have enough time, select an organization you can donate to monthly. Charities and non-profits, rely on donations and every little bit can help. Try to make this a monthly activity, not only during the holiday season. Many organizations see a lot of support during the holidays, but then struggle throughout the year, because the donations of time or money decrease significantly.
Gift Ideas That Make a Difference
- Gifts from the World Wildlife Fund – You can get a virtual gift, apparel or a really cute plush animal with an included information sheet. The WWF has gifts that are educational and supports the protection of wildlife and species facing extinction. Check out their store here: World Wildlife Fund Store
- Books from a local book store – There’s nothing like a local bookstore stocked to the brim with books on any and every topic. Depending on your city, some bookstores offer workshops, fun events and areas to read.
- Products from local small businesses – Whether you’re looking for apparel or housewares, with shopping local not only will you find great gifts, but you’ll also be supporting a local person and family.
- Local arts and crafts – Many cities have holiday fairs, some raise funds for charities both locally and globally as well. Search online for local holiday fairs near you. You’re also supporting local artisans too.
- Natural Skin Care Products – natural skin care products can be really nice, they contain ingredients that are non-toxic and healthy for the body. Also, who doesn’t love receiving a creams, bath salts or freshening sprays that are good for the body and planet?
- Gift cards – Gift cards can be a really great way to make sure you’re getting something that will be put to use. It allows the receiver to choose something they want and need.
- Planners – If you know family members who love physical planners, it could be a wonderful gift considering the new year is fast approaching. However, it might be best to ask what type the receiver prefers, or whether or not they use paper planners.
- Big Life Journal – These are a great gift for kids and teens. They help kids learn about developing resilience and compassion and the importance of having a growth mindset. I purchased one of the PDF bundles and it contains so many resources and PDFs that are helpful for parents and their kids. You can check out their products here: https://biglifejournal.com/
- Generation Mindful Products – The Generation Mindful Store carries so many helpful and fun items for helping children learn and develop emotional intelligence. The Snuggle Buddies plush dolls, The Peacemakers Deck and the Time-In Toolkit can all be great gifts.
- Experiences – Rather than focusing on physical items, you can look for fun shows and events in the receiver’s area and provide tickets to them as a gift. Or you could get them a gift certificate to a class, local adventure or treatment or service they’d enjoy.
- Original Art – There’s nothing like a beautiful original art piece that creates a more cohesive living, working or gathering space. An original pice of art can light up a room or turn a dull and drab space into one that’s more vibrant. Or it could provoke conversation. It could also create a more toned-down and relaxed environment. You don’t have to pay thousands to own an original work of art. Many artists create prints or posters of various sizes or smaller pieces that are more affordable. By actually purchasing an artists work you are supporting the creativity and beauty created and shared by another human being. Everyone is an artist and the world needs more people practicing a form of art they enjoy, not only because of the calming and beneficial effects it has on people, but because of the beauty it brings into the world.
- Homemade Gifts – Homemade and thoughtful gifts don’t have to take up a ton of time or be difficult. If there are things you like to make, you can schedule a weekend to make them as gifts. From cards and cookies to jar kits for hot cocoa, beaded jewelry or natural skin care products, there are plenty of things that make amazing gifts.
- Thrift Store or Consignment Boutique Gems – If you know of a loved one who loves thrift and consignment store shopping, you could check out what your local thrift store has. There are so many gems that can be found as many people get rid of lovely items they may not need. The other day at a local thrift store I saw a beautiful ceramic bowl that would have made a stunning centerpiece. (Note: always wash items from the thrift store thoroughly and if you are purchasing clothing, make sure to get clothing you can wash and dry on a high temperature setting).
- Ask what your loved ones want or need – This takes the guesswork out of getting a gift. It can actually be okay or in some cases even better to ask. Chances of getting something that will be returned, thrown out or not used, go down quite significantly. It also still ends up being a surprise as the receiver doesn’t know what out of their list you got, and it will be something they really needed or wanted and will use.
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