Get out your heart compass and let's get to work. What exactly does it mean to give a meaningful gift? And meaningful to whom? Especially in this time of easily accessible stuff and already having everything we need - what does it mean to give a true gift, and how can we radically rethink the gifting time of year. First, take a peek at the Gift Giving Self-Assessment...and then come on back for this!
A Fierce Gifting Guide | Manual for Meaningful Giving
- Just in case you need it, this Manual is actually your permission slip to let go of all your previous associations, expectations, assumptions, habits, traditions, and everything else you hold about how you give gifts. Obligation breeds resentment - so let go of all of that and start with a fresh slate.
- Should is for suckers*. Just keep that in mind. And then notice anytime a should pops into your gift giving thought process. Treat should like an indicator - a warning light reminding you to pay attention and dig a little deeper.
- Gifts (much like puppies) have needs. Not all the time, but often. So, consider what impacts your gift will have on the person receiving it. Does it fit in her life: energetically, emotionally, spatially, financially, and otherwise?
- For whom are you actually purchasing this gift? Is it truly because it's something the giftee will love and use and cherish or enjoy, or is it because you love it and think everyone else will too? (4a. The parallel here is Are you gifting based on what you want/need/crave?)
- Is your gift wanted or needed? (This is just my personal opinion...but as a person who is truly trying to collect less stuff - this is a really important question.) Consider if, and how, a gift fits in someone's life - literally or metaphorically.
- A. If you do have to gift something (as in a tangible, wrappable item): consider something handmade or locally made that supports a real person, artist or livelihood. B. Even better, entertain the idea of something that doesn't stick around forever because it has a useful, and useable lifespan: adult beverages, holiday baked goods, festive wreaths, soaps, quality candles and the like. The joy is in actually consuming these little gems, and they never steal permanent closet space.
- Do you find yourself giving just to give? (Just press pause, see what happens.)
- There's no rule that everyone has to get a gift, or that everyone has to get a different, unique gift. Would the world end if you just skipped it, or if you gifted the same letterpress stationery set (in different colors) to all your pals?
- Once you give a gift, it's gone. It's out of your hands. You have no more power over it. You can't complain or bicker if the gift doesn't get used, or gets used differently than you planned or sits in a drawer or whatever. Real gifts don't have strings attached. This rule always helps me decide on a gift option...thinking through my own attachment and expectations. So, remember - once it's out of your hands, it's truly out of your hands. (Okay, fine - you can totally judge if you don't get a thank you card, but other than that you don't have any say about how a gift is used.)
Well, how about that? Anything that you really want to add to the Manual For Meaningful Giving? Plunk your ideas in the comments, or drop me a line! Happy Holly-Jolly Gifting Season! Stay tuned for easy gift guides for small gifts, kiddo gifts, gifts for creatives and so much more over the next couple days!