How to Give Gifts That Matter

Dec 02, 2021

Let’s talk about one of the most stressful parts of the holiday season: Gift giving.

It’s not unusual to use money to compensate for a lack of time, thoughtfulness, attention, or love, especially when pressured or stressed.  Unfortunately, that's like trying to substitute sugar for protein in your diet! It just doesn’t fully satisfy. 

But, I don’t think people do this intentionally. I think advertising lures us into believing  that monetary value translates to emotional value. But it’s just not true. 

I mean, sure, fancy cars, expensive golf clubs, or bright shiny jewelry are cool… but if these are gifted without love, they’ll actually feel like cold things, not meaningful gifts. 

Also, it’s important not to forget... as every research study reminds us, once our basic needs like housing, food, security, and health are met, our emotional needs are more important to us than material things.

I remember many years ago, lying alone in my bed in my big lovely house while my husband was traveling (yet again). I was fidgeting with my diamond ring, thinking that even if I withdrew all the cash from my bank account and slept with it all around me, it wasn’t going to make me feel loved, appreciated, comforted, or happy.  

That’s not to say money doesn’t have its benefits - I enjoy luxury as much as anyone, but it’s never a substitute for loving connection.  And when given the choice between love or luxury over the long term? Most people prefer the former.  

Thus, I’m a firm believer in "it's the thought that counts" when it comes to gift giving. And if the thought is only to check an item off your to-do list, your gift will likely be received with equal coolness.   

So this year, I urge you to focus on GIVING GENEROUSLY. From your heart, not just your wallet. Put love, thought, and effort into every gift you give and see how much love you get back in return.

Here are three ideas to get you started: 

  1. Gift a memory. Give an experience.  Things like: seeing their favorite band in concert, going to the theater, or, my favorite…. bringing one of their fantasies to life. Sprinkle a little of your own magic with things unique and special to y’all: if you’re an artist, create a beautiful invitation!  Into fashion? Buy special new outfits for you both to wear. Got kids? Include free time to get ready for the experience and a sitter for however long the experience lasts.

  2. Elaborate on one of their passions.  Does your partner enjoy lounging around in a bubble bath? They’d be thrilled with new bath bubbles, scented candles or maybe even a fabulous robe to wear afterwards or a new book to read while immersed in bubbles. If football’s their passion, get ‘em tickets to their favorite team or just host a pre-game tailgate party in your driveway before watching at home. Get matching jerseys or t-shirts, or a new cup with the logo of their team. This shows that you not only notice but support their interests.

  3. Use your words. If budget is truly a limitation for you, don’t let that get you down! Write a love note from your heart, or find a poem that expresses your sentiments better than you can. Handwrite or print it, then frame it for a heartfelt gift. Or take it to the next level and make your own DIY craft project with it - calligraphy on a wood plaque, print the poem on watercolor paper and paint it… make a piece of art! Love doesn’t require bucks; your efforts won’t cost you a dime! 

Do you notice a pattern here? The key to each of these is to wrap each of them with love… and I don’t mean heart-emblazoned wrapping paper.

Plan the gift from your heart, gift it with the excitement of knowing it’s a gift created just for your beloved’s pleasure, and know their pleasure will fuel your own because that’s what love does.  When we give love freely, we get back even more.  

Gifts matter.  For better or worse.  Make them meaningful. If you need help with ideas on giving loving gifts in your relationship, holler at me: [email protected]