5 Ways to Give a Meaningful Gift This Holiday Season

Gift-giving is an art that can be perfected.

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Giving a meaningful gift is an art form. It integrates listening, understanding, and diving deep into your friend’s heart to identify what he or she would appreciate most. All the while making sure that you’re staying true to your budget and your own limitations. So how do you give a gift that will be valued by your loved ones or officemates? Here's five tips that will help you give gifts that are sure to be cherished.

Tune-in to your  person

Get to know your recipient  whether it's a secret Santa in the office or even your own mother. The easiest way to mess up a gift is to get something that you thought was awesome but that the recipient isn’t connected to. Before you buy a gift, have a conversation and be attuned to what’s on their mind. Is there a cause they support and would like a gift from that organization? Something that your recipient would have loved three years ago may be irrelevant today. For example, a friend that’s been really stressed out lately may appreciate a subscription to a meditation app more than that belt she had her eye on last year.

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Be practical

Options that are convenient and relevant to your friend’s life are often the best choice. While you may be dying to get them a pottery workshop but if it’s a two-hour drive away and your friend has a new baby, it may not be the best option. Keep in mind what’s really feasible given their schedule and circumstances. According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Consumer Research, practicality was often a higher indicator of gift success as opposed to objective desirability. For example, people surveyed in the study preferred a gift card to a cheaper restaurant that was closer as opposed to an expensive restaurant farther away.

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Opt for an experience

We tend to remember great experiences more than we remember certain items. By giving an experience, we end up providing something that lasts longer- especially when that experience adds value to someone’s life. A hiking trip, cooking workshop, wine tasting, concert, or writing class are all examples of fun and meaningful experiences.  Experiences are also typically more eco-friendly than goods, they support the local economy, and are more effective mood boosters than an object.

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Give customized or homemade gifts

Customized and homemade gifts show someone that you went out of your way to make them something unique. These gifts are often very personalized, and so they easily reflect how much you appreciate them. Customized gifts can include journals with a cover that you made especially for them with their favorite quotes or a jigsaw puzzle made out of a picture that they took at their favorite biking spot. Homemade goods can range from DIY face cream to your famous Christmas cookies that they love. Upcycled crafts are another great option that can be customized, homemade, and environmentally friendly.

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Think about value

Overall, some of the most significant gifts are those that are long-lasting, that celebrate your friend as an individual or commemorate your friendship, and those things that add real value to their lives. Take the time to think about what would contribute to your recipient’s wellbeing. Maybe it’s a good book, a salt lamp, credit to the farmer’s market, or tickets to her favorite stand-up comedian. At the end of the day, what really matters is that the gift will make the receiver of the gift feel valued, loved, and happy.

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