This is my first Christmas away from home, which has helped me to get a little creative with gift-giving. I can’t just go to the mall and then wrap something up – I have to think about shipping and timing more than I’ve ever had to before. It’s a good thing though, as I’ve had to think more intentionally about what I want to give people this holiday season and what is important to me. I realized that when I am faced with getting a great gift for someone, there are two major ideas I tend to turn to:
1. Give an experience:
Happiness research backs me up on this – spending money on experiences rather than things offers the most return on your dollar investment in terms of enjoyment. These days it’s getting harder to buy someone an interesting thing, especially since most people buy themselves the things they want or are trying to get rid of their extraneous belongings. Gifting an activity is a wonderful way to sidestep all those concerns while still showing your care and thought for the person you’re giving to.
Some experiences that are fun to give (and receive!): tickets to a concert, play, or sports game, vouchers for the spa or an interesting fitness class, a gift certificate for a cooking class or workshop, or a night out at a nice restaurant. If price is a concern, look for local events happening in your community through smaller theatres, restaurants and other small businesses and you’ll be more likely to find something in your price range.
2. Give a book:
Books are the best of both worlds – they’re a physical object, yes, but they also offer the reader a whole experience, perspective, and set of new ideas. Books are my favourite type of thing to both give because you’re able to be so thoughtful and generous while spending as much or as little as you can afford. I believe that a book that meant a lot to someone is one of the more special presents you could ever receive. Plus, the gift-giver will usually write a personal message on the inside flap, and how great is it to grow a personalized library!?
Some books I would give this year:
Non-fiction: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, Thrive by Ariana Huffington, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Adulting by Kelly Brown Williams, The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun, Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott.
Fiction: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Note: I have read and would personally recommend all of the above books. They are all among my favourites of the books that I read this year. You can see all my favourite books and recommendations right here.
This week on the podcast, Laura and I are discussing giving great gifts. We touch on the two themes I’ve just mentioned, but also talk a lot more about where to turn if the occasion calls for a special object (spoiler: it’s Etsy!). We also have a conversation about ways we can give back at this time of year to charities and organizations in our communities and worldwide. In my humble opinion, it’s a great episode and I’m proud to share it with you. Have a listen on our blog or by subscribing to the show on iTunes.
What are your favourite things to give as gifts? What will you be buying for those on your list this year?