Gift Giving with Purpose and Meaning
Giving someone is a gift can be so rewarding. Watching them open it, seeing the smile on their face. “It is better to give then to receive” is a commonly thrown about and I do think it is true. I love putting together a gift for someone or just bringing a friend a a few pears from my favorite fruit stand. Large or small giving can bring so much joy.
I often find we get very caught-up in the “have too” of gift giving. We feel obligated to buy things for every occasion, new house, new job, new baby. Or the wedding gauntlet: engagement, wedding shower, bachelorette party, wedding, etc. etc. etc. So some party or event sneaks up on you, you dash out to the nearest chain and grab something vaguely useful or cute thing from a trendy end-cap display, stuff it in some over priced gift bag, write a quick meaningless note in a pricy card and your off the hook. Often I would guess this item is stuffed in a closet or drawer or maybe displayed but only incase you come over for a visit.
So now you have just spent your hard earned money on a thing that will clutter up this person’s life. These items can build up in our lives and while it may seem like a kind thing to give someone a gift when it has no purpose or meaning it can become negative. When this person needs to go through their belonging for any reason every time they look at this item they feel too guilty to say goodbye to it even thought they don’t use or display it. This is especially true if they are trying to declutter their lives (see my post of living with less).
Now imagine you give this person more time with their children, a moment of mental clarity, a quality conservation with their loved-one, or something that maybe you can’t wrap in paper but will have a positive impact on their life.
Giving a gift with purpose and meaning can benefit the recipient as well as the giver. It will fill you with pride, it can deepen interpersonal connections with your loved-ones, it can save you money, it can give you a sense of purpose.
So how to do give with purpose? What can you do, especially when you are short on time or money? First, sit down and think deeply about this person and what they mean to you. Write down your relationship with them, What they love, what you both enjoy together? What are the most important things in their life? What do they really need? It can doesn’t have to be a “thing” it can be more time, more space, more help around the house etc. Once you have answered these questions it can help you think of a gift that will have meaning for this person.
Here is a list of non “thing” ideas to give you a jumping off point:
- Take them on an Adventure – plan a hike where you pick them up, you bring all the necessities, pick the trail and buy the coffee or beer afterwards. Maybe go for a day paddling trip, run on the beach, swim at the lake, skiing day trip etc. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip, just one where they do not have to do any of the work.
- Give them a day or night off– watch their kids, animals or whatever else is holding them back from enjoying a day to themselves or a evening out. If you cannot be the actual babysitter arrange for one on their behalf. A great way to make sure they take advantage of this is to just plan it and tell them “you must go out and do whatever you want on Saturday” and you’ll take care of the rest.
- Go over and help them complete a project – help them finish a half built deck, or paint their living room for them. Either complete it for them, or offer to help then finish. Sometimes this will help someone finish something and tying up half done projects can help declutter their home and mind.
Now for some “thing” ideas:
- A gift card for a dinner out – Make sure to choose a place with meaning, not just a chain but maybe a local place or a restaurant with some meaning like where they met their significant other or when you had a memorable experience.
- Food or Meal – Bring them a meal from their favorite place for lunch at work. A surprise meal and visit can really brighten someone’s day. It could even be an afternoon coffee or tea!
- Something they said they wanted – Maybe they pointed out a cute bag last time you were out with them, or mentioned a tool they could really use. Stock their Pinterest account and find inspiration there.
Watch for more posts on other gift ideas!