For many people, giving gifts, especially during the holidays, is an obligation rather than a sincere act of love, kindness, generosity or gratitude. Doesn’t that explain those completely random gifts we receive that have little practical or even sentimental value?
We all know the tendencies; some of us use gift giving as a way to over-compensate for a perceived lack of self-worth or desire to be liked, while others feel the need to keep score. They’re the ones who make decisions about who to gift based on historical performance (i.e. who gave a gift the previous year), or try to level the playing field by giving gifts of approximately the same or perceived value as the ones they receive. This mental score-keeping is time-consuming, emotionally and mentally exhausting, and distracts us from the true intention of gift-giving, which truly is acknowledging those we love and care about.
A gift is an important way of expressing how you feel about another person – it’s your way of showing them gratitude for having them in your life. And while our gift-shopping and gift-giving gyrations don’t always reflect that, I believe that it’s still the driving force behind why most of us give gifts.
Here are 5 quick gift ideas that can support the real intention of giving this holiday season.
Gifts from the Heart
Gifts from the heart are the most meaningful and can take on many forms: gifts of time, love or support (baby-sitting, house-sitting, pet-sitting, tech support for the computer-challenged, gardening or decorating advice, cooking lessons, house-cleaning). Start by asking your friend or loved one ‘What do you need?’ or ‘What can I help you create?’ This way you can help them do or create something that’s authentically important or meaningful to them.
Gifts of Experiences
Sharing experiences with someone you care about can be deeply satisfying and gratifying because it builds and strengthens the bond between you. The event itself can be something simple like dinner and a movie, going to a concert, a play, or a sporting event together, or something more involved like spending a day hiking or exploring in nature, a visit to the local museum, volunteering for an event, or even a day at the spa. The emphasis should be on togetherness over anything else.
Another great way to show someone you care is by using your talents to make them a gift or buy them something hand-crafted! Great handmade gifts include food, clothing, jewelry, home décor, pet accessories, and bath and body items like soaps, candles, lip balms, or lotions and potions.
No time to do it yourself? No problem. Handmade gifts have a personal touch even if you don’t make them yourself. Try our line of handmade, all-natural aromatherapy bath and body products you can combine with other items for your own hand made gift baskets or our ready-to-order aromatherapy gift sets.
The Gift of Touch
The far-reaching positive effects of touch are not strictly limited to romantic gestures or even therapeutic massage. With the amazing power of touch, you literally have at your fingertips a variety of ways to offer gifts of gratitude to those you care about. If you have a massage therapist then send them to yours with a gift certificate. If not, ask people you know for a referral, contact a local spa or offer to give them a massage yourself! Or give the gift of a Mani-Pedi. For the Do-It-Yourself types, try our Hand & Foot Care Gift Set. Available in 5 different aromatherapy blends to choose from.
The Gift of Giving
Giving the gift of charity can be a wonderful way of showing gratitude while helping those in need this holiday season. If you choose to give this type of gift make sure it is properly aligned with the recipient’s values and needs. For example, someone who is not an animal lover may not appreciate a donation made in their name to an animal rights organization, while a friend who has pets might find it heart-warming and gratifying.
For gifts to charitable causes, consult the Charity Navigator Holiday Giving Guide to help you evaluate different charities and aid organizations. Or give the gift of economic independence with a micro-loan to a poor entrepreneur through Kiva or a gift of hope through Heifer International.