Becoming an Intentional Gift Giver

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and soon everyone will be rushing around to buy gifts for all their loved ones. The pressure to find presents for everyone can sometimes make us feel like we are just obtaining gifts to check it off our list. A survey by CensusWide reports that 46% of people have lied about liking a Christmas gift they were given. How many of you have been part of that 46%? But gift giving doesn’t have to be super confusing or monotonous; you just may need to spend a little more time and attention on it. As someone who has made gift-giving a hobby, here are three ways to help you choose more meaningful presents this holiday season. 

First, listen closely to your friends and family. What do they love? What are they worried or upset about? Where do they often go? Listen for emotions in their conversations and take note of them. If they get excited about Chick-fil-A, you could take them out to dinner or give them a gift card there. If they’re upset about their favorite mug breaking, see if you can find another one like it. Listening can also provide clues to an item they may want or are interested in, which you can apply to your gift. Take them to that favorite place, buy tickets to an event they want to see or get accessories that add to their hobbies. 

Next, notice how they spend their time and what they value. If they constantly listen to music, you could learn their favorite artist and buy some of their merchandise. Etsy is great for finding unique gifts for current popular artists, actors, shows and movies. You could also make playlists for them or create something with their favorite lyrics. If your recipient spends most of their time driving, you could get them a gas gift card to help offset their costs or offer to drive them once a week for the next month. I have a friend who loves books, so I got her a new phone case with classic titles on the back in bright colors for her birthday. She loved it, primarily because of the thought that went into the gift and how it related to her interests.

Finally, consider their love languages. For someone who cherishes quality time, it would be thoughtful to give a gift that allows you to spend a few hours with them, like a shopping date, concert or nice meal. If they appreciate words of affirmation, you could get them a journal and write prayers and verses throughout the pages. You could also write them a letter or series of notes to open on specific occasions. If they feel loved by acts of service, a fun gift would be a coupon book of different chores you could do for them. For those who love receiving gifts, making a basket containing a bunch of mementos that remind you of them is a great idea.

Thinking through gifts and reflecting on what the receiver would truly appreciate can mean so much more than the gift itself. Last year, my mom mentioned a few times that she really liked a certain jacket that was always sold out. After a few months of checking the website, it came back in stock, and my family and I ordered it. When it arrived, she was astonished that we knew how much she wanted it and were able to acquire it. Although the jacket ended up not fitting, it was one of the best gifts she had received because of the thought and care that was put into it. This goes to show that intentional gift-giving matters and the upcoming holiday season is a perfect opportunity to start.