This is the first holiday season that I am really trying hard to practice mindful gifting. I always try to be thoughtful about the gifts I pick out for my family and friends, but if I am being honest, I think my gifts used to be a lot more thoughtful when I was younger. When I finger-knit my grandpa a hot pad for his tea kettle, it enveloped his steaming kettle like a little nest as the center wore down from constant use. Or when I would spend hours making cards for my family, my craft supplies strewn about the kitchen table as I made each family member a card unique to them.
This year I am not only going to tap into my adolescent self by gifting more thoughtfully. I am also going to pull from my learnings about simplicity, sustainability, and wellness, to choose my gifts more mindfully. And I am going to share some tips on how you can do this too.
Here are 8 tips to mindful gifting this season:
1. Know your audience - Gifts are an amazing opportunity to share something new that you love with someone close to you: a new brand, a new soap, a new cookbook, whatever that looks like. But it’s important to keep your audience in mind when gifting like this. It’s easy to get so caught up in the thing that we love, that we forget to think if the other person will really use it. Or if it will be another well intended gift that end up only adding clutter to their home.
2. Keep it simple - We do not need to be in competition with our last-year-self, or anyone else for that matter, when it comes to gifting. Usually the simple gifts are the best gifts. This can look like getting a candle lover a candle or a sock lover, socks. As long as you are doing your research and making sure you are getting something they will like, they will be so excited to open a similar gift year after year. This gal could never tire of opening a Balsam Fur candle or a pair fun socks. And guess what, I actually use them!
3. Plan ahead - This is probably the most obvious tip and the most underutilized. But we all know that stress work is not our best work, especially when it comes to gift giving. This can be as easy as doing some research into what scent of candle your gal pal prefers, or as elaborate as collecting all of their old t-shirts to make a giant quilt. No matter how involved the gift, a good plan goes a long way.
4. Gift an experience - This is one of my favorite ways to gift mindfully. And it can look like so many things: a massage, a concert, a dinner. Gifting an experience is such a great way to connect with your friends and family and be present with them. It’s also a way to ensure that your gift will be used and loved.
5. Make it yourself- This can be a pretty intimidating tip for some people, but it really doesn’t have to be. One year I made my dad tickets for free laundry folding because I knew how much he disliked folding the laundry. You’d better believe he used every last one of those tickets! I think we all have the artistic ability to write free laundry folding on a piece of paper. But you can definitely get more crafty with your gifting if you so choose. Soy candles, jam, fleece mittens, and knitted scarves are some fun ideas to get you crafty gals going.
6. Shop small - Gifts are a great way to turn your friends onto small labels that you love. People love discovering something new. But usually we are so busy in our own routines that we don’t take the time to find new things ourselves. Taking the holidays as an opportunity to share something you love and spread the small business love with your friends is so rewarding and definitely a great way to gift mindfully.
7. Utilize gift cards - Gift cards can be a really great way to support small business. Especially if you know a friend would love a particular label but you don’t know exactly what to get for them. This weekend is Small Business Saturday and a lot of small brands appreciate your efforts to gift mindfully and want to encourage that! A lot of us have incentives and deals to offer this weekend. At Nine56, we are so excited to be offering 20% off our gift cards from now through the weekend to anyone who wants to spread Nine56 love this holiday season! Click HERE and use the discount code: mindfulgifting at checkout!
8. Gift from the heart - If you are feeling overwhelmed with gifting this year, especially trying to gift mindfully, remember that there is no one right way to do it. Make the time, keep it simple, and just do the best that you can. After all, this season is not really about the gifts.