Thoughts and Questions for Intentional Gift Giving

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Gift giving can be daunting. I have spent many a November hour laboring over what gift to select for each person on our list, my stress levels mounting. I love giving gifts, but it can be and feel like an insurmountable challenge to know exactly what to give.

What can I gift that will encourage a hobby, or inspire personal growth?

What useful object could I gift that will also add beauty to the recipient’s life? To receive something beautiful but not practical is the wish of few adults.

What do I know about this person?

Does she treasure feeling cozy and warm, huddled up with a cup of tea and a good book? Does he spend his time away from work outside playing ball with his kids? I think it helps to look at how individuals spend their leisure time, to best know how you could add something thoughtful to their lives.  If the person on your list has a hobby you know nothing about, it can be a good idea to crowd source for ideas from other friends who share the same hobby.

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One of the most challenging elements of gift giving, in my mind, is balancing the desire for that “wow factor” when your loved one opens the gift you selected, with the desire to give a gift that has actual staying power. I think we often make this mistake with kids. Often, it’s the items that garner the biggest reaction that are also the most quickly forgotten. Do you want to provide a week of play or an afternoon of delight, or are you aiming for months or even years of use and joy?

To encompass all these questions, perhaps, I like to ask what I am trying to accomplish with the gift I select? Considering these factors typically helps narrow the scope of possibility.

It's okay to want to give someone a simple gift just to get a chuckle. If you know someone who is suffering or grieving, perhaps that's the best gift you could give. I have the tendency to want to go big with gifts, but big gifts often come with big expecations, for both the giver and the recipient. I know that I need to think about my motives, and what I could give that would truly bring life, and sometimes, perhaps oftentimes, it's something small and thoughtfully chosen. We need to get out of our heads, and stop overthinking. Intentional and simple can exist side by side. 

Let’s step back from the internet and its black hole of options. Quiet the raging noise of advertisements and intrusive Black Friday sale e-mails, as well as that voice of indecision in your head. At the end of the day,  a gift thoughtfully chosen and given in love and gratitude, is a very good gift.

I’d love to hear from my readers about what you consider when selecting or making items to give to your friends and family? Do you find gift shopping stressful or energizing? And when it comes time to purchase a special gift, where do you look first?

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Mary StreckerComment