I have always valued giving others meaningful presents, taking my time to really think about what the person in question wants or what they will appreciate most.
It truly never is the money spent that matters; it is the thought that counts, which is something my mom has always taught me.
Though I sometimes cave and buy people their most-wanted gift or those shoes they have been looking at for months, I always strive to give more meaningful presents people will remember and cherish.
And this year, with coronavirus cases still on the rise and many experiencing monetary uncertainties, it’s the perfect time to focus on thoughtful gifts, rather than on price.
I sometimes get people things they need, but this always comes with some story or silly anecdote.
For example, I get my dad a bag of coffee every year because as a child, this is what I would give him, and it’s always a good laugh when we think about Christmas back then.
So, in the spirit of giving, I thought I would share a list of my favorite gifts to give that will not break your bank this holiday season.
I recently did this for my boyfriend and I’s anniversary, and it came out perfectly.
Using the website Etsy, I was looking for someone to design and turn one of our pictures into an illustration, including a quote of something that means a lot to him.
There are hundreds of creative artists and graphic designers on Etsy who can make you almost anything you can dream of — and I only paid $15 for a digital file.
Then, I ordered a frame on Amazon and had the image printed. I wrapped that up with some animal-printed socks and a card.
The look on his face when he opened it was priceless, and the gift really is something he can always look at and use to remember that moment.
If you are feeling creative, you can also make your own artwork. I have always found that buying paints and canvases and using them to showcase someone’s favorite quote or saying can be a really special gift.
Get their favorite things
Sometimes just being an avid listener and engaged friend can give you the best ideas for a present.
For example, I know that my brother loves Swedish Fish, my best friend loves turtles and my mom’s favorite liquid lipstick colors are nudes.
By just listening and observing, sometimes the most personal thing to do is to create a little basket with a few of their favorite things.
Five Below is a great place to start this present off by getting a basket, some of their favorite snacks or drinks and then a gift card to their favorite place.
This gift could also be turned into an advent calendar of sorts, where your friend or family member can open up one small gift every day up until Christmas. It’s like a mystery box, except because you know them so well, they’ll love everything in it.
A good book
If you’re anything like me, books are a personal gift that often can create a stronger connection between others.
If there’s a book that changed your life or your perspective, consider giving it to someone else who you think might also appreciate it — it’s the ultimate idea for a personal present. It can be even better if you include notes or little stories within the pages.
For those who might prefer listening to music over reading, a similar idea is to create a playlist for someone with songs that match their personality or make you think of them.
Turn your passion into a present
Something I love doing every year is using my love for photos, video and writing to create gifts that I make myself.
One year, I got my mom a custom calendar for the upcoming year with pictures of my brother and I, so that when she is at work, we are always there too.
I can make videos for others, create custom glasses and puzzles that hold family members’ dearest memories on an item, or my favorite: writing my feelings and thoughts for others.
Whether you play piano, paint or draw, design clothing or create music, there is always a way to use what you know to make something for others.