Looking for last-minute holiday gifts can be stressful when we add all the last-minute activities that we try to squeeze out of the end of the year. When in a stressful situation I always ask the intention, and we can all agree that the objective of a holiday gift is to offer to the people we love and like something that will enrich their lives–things they will appreciate, use and enjoy. If you are purchasing gifts, unless you have been told what the gift receiver wants, chances are you won’t know how the gift is received and/or if the gift will fulfill its intention.
So what do we do? How do we strengthen social bonds without forking over a ton of money? How do we avoid putting our loved ones in positions where they feel like they must pretend to like something in order to maintain a relationship? Here are a few ideas:
Give experiences. People are far more likely to be satisfied with an experience than an object. Treat them to a play, take them out to dinner or cook dinner for them, go to a yoga class with them…whatever. Keep the focus on doing and experiencing, not having and accumulating. If you need ideas, I love a website I found this season, it's called Unstuff and it offers great ideas for stuff-free gift giving.
Give a gift certificate or money. It might lack the romance, but these gifts are sure to get used. I usually add a note to the card telling the receiver anecdotes or of gifts ideas I thought they may enjoy.
Give thoughtfully. Gift giving is an art. It often takes time, consideration and some knowledge of the gift receiver’s life. If we don’t have those things, we might want to give something with more universal appeal. If we do have those things, choose something carefully…and feel free to throw in a gift receipt and make sure you tell them that they can return. Remember its not your gift once given.