As we get older, gift giving seems to get harder. We pretty much have what we need, and many of us buy the things we want when we want them (thanks impulsive online shopping habits). Gift giving has lost it’s true meaning – we no longer give to show we care, we give as a reciprocal obligation. If you’re looking for a gift idea that will be more meaningful than a gift card, check out the ideas below.

Gift a Solution

The most thoughtful gifts are often those that help solve problems, reduce friction in our lives, or save valuable time. This type of gift requires that you pay attention when someone is relaying their life struggles – whether you text daily, chat on the phone weekly, or just occasionally share life updates on social media.

We often forget to listen to each other, but it’s so easy. Friends and family share their problems with us all the time, so how do we take those pain points and turn them into a thoughtful gift?

I have a great example of something I gifted this year. My mom works during the week, and has either has to plan ahead of time for dinner, or cook when she gets home that evening. When we talk, she has mentioned on several occasions how she has to figure out her menu for the week because she will be working late. While meal prepping might be a solution for some, I know that isn’t really her style.

So just by thinking back to conversations we’ve had, I’ve identified something in her life that could be made better. Something she may not even realize.

Problem: Working all day, and having to prepare a meal every night.
Solution: An Instant Pot would help her cook meals quicker, allow for last minute dinners, and also be a fun, new kitchen tool!

This isn’t something she asked for this holiday season. It might not even be a product she knows about. But I know it will be a gift that truly helps improve her life on a regular basis.

So start thinking…what daily friction could you help reduce in your friend or family member’s life?

(P.S. – Feel free to steal my Instant Pot idea. I think anyone could benefit from a home cooked meal in 15-30 minutes! There are several sizes and options available on Amazon.)

Gift an Experience

Forgo the new shoes and clothes, and give them an experience to remember! The possibilities for this are endless, from large scale vacations, to one day pampering sessions. No matter what you choose to do, make sure you take their interests into consideration. Here are a few examples of thoughtful experiential gifts for everyone on your list:

  • For the hardworking mom who just needs a day of pampering and self care: Day pass to a luxurious spa (check Groupon for deals!)
  • For the friend who just moved to a new city: Book a local dinner cruise to take in the beautiful sites
  • For your significant other: Plan an over the top date night to reconnect and deepen your relationship
  • For the person who loves cars, road trips, and exploring new places: Rent an exotic car for a weekend getaway
  • For the workaholic who needs to hit the pause button and relax: Plan a staycation and treat them to a night at a fancy hotel
  • For the entrepreneur who wants to sharpen their skillset: Lessons or a course on something they are passionate about

 

If all else fails, Personalize it

Maybe it seems too complex to gift a solution or an experience, or you’re simply in a time crunch to find a gift, then at least make it personal. For example, if you’re going to give a scarf and gloves, find a set that matches their favorite jacket. If you’re gifting a movie, make it one that holds a special memory (whether it’s a movie you saw together, a nostalgic throwback, or the movie they are always quoting). Take an extra 10 minutes to make the gift one to remember.

 

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