From the time I was a little kid, I’ve always loved to give people gifts. The fun part is thinking of something that will speak to the individual person and make them feel special.
As a passionate gift giver, I’ve noticed some not-so-subtle changes in our society in the realm of giving and receiving gifts.
- Many people just buy what they want when they want it, so they don’t have a list of gift suggestions for themselves when their birthday or Christmas comes around.
- Lots of folks are so busy attending to the needs of others (kids, spouses, work, family activities) that they have gotten out of the habit of considering what they would enjoy for themselves.
- Many kids and families already have an overabundance of games and toys and adding a new one to the mix can be anti-climactic.
- People are relying a lot on gift cards nowadays. There’s nothing wrong with a gift card to a person’s favorite store, but it’s not the most personal of gifts, especially for those who you’re really close to.
I’ve done a shift in my own gift giving in recent years steering away from buying products and more towards giving gifts that create memories. Here are some of my favorite ideas…
For a friend or family member (either a kid or an adult) in the same city as you:
1 – Give a “free babysitting” coupon.
You can make this yourself with some cute paper. There are lots of paper and cardstock options at crafts stores, or you could simply do a printout from your computer. Be sure to put your email address and your phone number on the card, as an easy reference for the recipient of this valuable gift.
The photo above is a “free babysitting for a year” coupon I gave to a friend. I had the homemade coupon laminated and put magnets on the back so that she could put it on her refrigerator and be reminded that she had some free babysitting coming to her.
2 – Take them out to their favorite restaurant–let them choose.
Especially with kids, getting to go out to a restaurant with someone who is not their parent is a big deal. It makes them feel special.
Adults love this too–how many times does someone tell you how much they want to spend time with you and share a meal with you? It means a lot!
Something interesting–when a person feels like they have your undivided attention and that you truly enjoy their company, they loosen up. Even if you’ve known this person for years, you will likely end up learning more about them, what they love, what’s happening in their life, what their secret hopes and dreams are.
3 – Give her a “day of beauty”.
This is especially good for anyone who is a mother, as mom’s can sometimes forget about pampering themselves and they need someone else to do it for them.
It can be as simple as the two of you going to get pedicures and then out to lunch.
4 – For a kid, take them out to the movies and for ice cream.
Especially if a kid is part of a big family, it can be a really special experience to get to spend time as the center of attention with no parents or siblings in sight.
5 – Give them a homemade dinner.
My sister-in-law has 4 kids and is super busy. I know that it would mean a lot to her to have one day when she could put a homemade meal on the table that she didn’t have to cook.
So, that is what I’m giving her for Christmas–she’ll receive a certificate that is good for one meal for 6. She gets to choose the date. On the special day, I’ll make them dinner and dessert, deliver it to them, and then leave them to enjoy it.
For friends, family, and clients who live far away from you…
1 – Make a care package.
Remember when people used to send these? You’ve got someone who is far away from you and is perhaps missing you or just having a challenging time where they are.
You put some comforting items together in a box and send it to the person.
They receive the package, open it up and they experience an instant virtual hug!
A few days ago I made one of these for my sister who lives across the country from me. She’s pregnant with her first child, and she’s going through all the discomforts that pregnant women go through.
I knew that a care package would immediately lift her spirits and encourage her from afar. Here’s what I included in the box:
- Homemade Orange Almond Biscotti
- Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (just the recipe on the Toll House Chocolate Chips bag–delish!)
- Some mini boxes of Fruit Loops cereal (I’ve heard they’re good for those times when you need to eat but don’t feel like it)
- Some aloe infused socks–the softest socks I’ve ever felt in my life! (Found those in Walmart, in the Pharmacy dept)
- This baby food cookbook–she had mentioned that she was thinking of making her own baby food, so I thought the cookbook would be fun for her.
2 – Give them tickets to something that they would enjoy.
These could be tickets to a sporting event, a play or concert, Cirque du Soleil (always interesting!), or anything that is in their general vicinity that would be a treat for them.
3 – Send them luxury food.
I’ve noticed that the men I know love to receive steaks and knives. I use Omaha Steaks. You pick the cut and the amount.
Williams Sonoma also has great food gift items. Their chocolate croissants are yummmm! I’ve given them to several people. This is truly a luxury gift that the foodie in your life will appreciate for many months.
Edible Arrangements is also great–even if a person is not all into fruit, they will be when they receive one of these gorgeous fruit bouquets.
For all food gifts, check that your recipient will be in town when the gift arrives and be sure to alert them to the date when the goods will be arriving.
These are food distributors in the US, but you can probably find similar ones in your country by searching online.
4 – Give a living gift (tree, shrub, rose bush, etc).
This is great for gardeners. They plant the tree or shrub, and they get to enjoy it year after year. Whenever they see the beautiful blooms or leaves, they will remember how much you care for them.
You can order trees and shrubs online and have them sent pretty much anywhere.
5 – Visit the person or go on a trip together.
What gift is more special than your time and undivided attention? It may seem extravagant, but it’s worth it. There are people in our lives that we really want to spend more time with, but unless we arrange to spend time with them another year will go by. A personal visit to a far away friend or family member is really the best gift of all.
I hope these gift ideas were helpful to you! The next time you need to give a gift, think about giving one that will create a cherished memory.
Can you think of any other creative gift ideas?
What is the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?