Do you remember that one gift you received five years ago that made you feel good? Take a moment to think back through all the gifts you have ever received in your entire life? Which ones are the most memorable? What gift made you feel loved? Which gifts will you keep forever? And why?
As I sit here next to a bright and beautiful Christmas tree at my parent’s house this Thanksgiving, I am contemplating this beautiful tradition of gift-giving which is so deeply ingrained in my American culture. Tomorrow is Black Friday, a notoriously hectic shopping day here in the States. And it has me thinking …. how soulless our gift-giving tradition has become and more importantly how we can commit to keeping this tradition meaningful and special rather than over-consumptive by offering gifts consciously, as an offering from your heart and soul to those you deeply love and cherish.
Here are a few thoughtful, heartfelt and earth-conscious ideas to help you be a more conscious gift giver this holiday season. I hope you enjoy.
What to Give?
(1) Give Art
Art is made from the hands of the passionate. What exactly is art? Art is anything you deem inspiring and cherishable. Art is made with thought, love and energy. There is a story behind it’s creation. If you think a piece of art is beautiful and are drawn to purchase it (and you can afford it), then I believe it is one of the most thoughtful and meaningful gifts to receive. Let me explain.
By sharing art with someone you love, you are sharing your appreciation for the beautiful. There is a story behind every piece of art, and by gifting art, you share the stories. When you support an artist (by purchasing their creations), you support their effort to create beauty in this world. You are not only supporting the artist by purchasing their art, which is a gift itself but you are also encouraging the artist to continue creating more.
When I walk around my house, what makes it home is all of the little trinkets of love which adorn my walls and shelves. These are gifts I have given myself and the gifts I have received from others. It is the art which makes my home special not the structure of the walls which shelter me. It is the art, the unique pieces of pottery, the paintings, the scarves, the handmade prayer flags and the simple little cutout cards which bring me genuine happiness every time I see them.
Art is the finger-molded ceramic mug I drink my coffee from every morning. It is the surfboard my husband crafted for me to support my efforts to have more fun. It is the scarf my best friend knitted for me to keep me warm. And my favorite gift of all is a simple poem written on a little sheet of handmade paper. I will cherish these gifts as long as I can. That’s why ART is the top gift on this conscious gift list.
(2) Give Services
By giving services, you are supporting someone to feel a certain way. How do you give the gift of relaxation! (Certainly not by giving another crazy massage chair, which I have never seen anyone actually use) A more conscious way of giving someone you cherish relaxation is by offering them a session (or a few) with a massage therapist.
If you know who is struggling in life, perhaps consider giving a session with a life coach or asking if they would be interested in a particular personal growth program. This is how you give the feeling of inspiration and encouragement. Gifts that make someone feel good are worth more than a million bucks.
I personally spend a lot more money these days on services that support my growth (personally and as a business) than I do buy material things. And to be honest, I am damn proud of that. I gift myself growth and support on a regular basis because I want to help myself feel good.
Of course, you will have to ask your loved one if there is an online course, a life coach, a therapy (think saltwater float tank or massage) or a salon (feeling beautiful) that they are interested in, but ask so you can gift a feeling! By gifting a positive state of mind or feeling, it means you care deeply about how your loved one feels. When you gift a service, your gift is 100% about how your loved one is feels rather than decorating them on the outside. This makes it one of the most sincere and heartfelt gifts of all.
(3) Give pre-loved
Spend some time to find (rather than buy) something amazing by shopping previously loved. Hear me out on this one as I know a lot of you are going to feel funny about giving something “used.”
Personally, I love vintage! (Who doesn’t right?) Give me a slightly worn (and therefore more comfortable) pair of Wranglers rather than a brand new China-manufactured pair of H & M. I mean, if you find something unique and special, I know you looked for it. You didn’t just pop into a store on the way to my house. You actually spent time and energy finding me something I will love. How romantic is that?
When you buy something pre-loved or second hand (a mix and matched set of plates, or a plant in a cool old planter you found, it is not only much healthier for the earth, but it is also incredibly meaningful. GIving thrift-gifts means you put time and energy into it. You found something unique with a story. This is why I love giving something I have found because it comes with a whole lot more heart and soul.
P.s, Of course, there is a chance your thrift gifts won’t fit or someone won’t like it but isn’t that a risk you take no matter what you buy? At least you didn’t screw the planet in your choice of a love offering.
Tips for Giving More Soulful Gifts.
(1) Ask what someone needs (not wants). We always have a wish list of things, but we also always have a needs list too. And that one if
(2) Do not buy to fill a stocking or for quantity. Parents, I am talking to you. Give fewer items with more meaning. Give to enhance someone’s life, not to clutter their spaciousness.
(3) Consider your loved one’s passions and try to support these. Passions are what makes us happy. By supporting someone’s passion, you are supporting their happiness.
I am sure this list could be longer and in fact, I am happy to make it longer, so please do send me more ideas to add to this list and I am happy to amend and add to it. At the end of the day, by being mindful of your offerings, your gift takes on this inherent message of thoughtfulness and meaning. It is a beautiful way to show someone you truly love them.
At the end of our life, it is the time that becomes most valuable and not the stuff. That is why I feel conscious gift-giving is not about giving stuff but giving thoughtfully and consciously.