How to Give Meaningful Gifts

Have you heard people say “it’s the thought that counts”? This is especially true when it comes to Christmas and giving of gifts. As I get older, I understand more every year that it really is more important to gift something special rather than trying to outspend someone else with expensive gifts. If you are looking for gifts for the special people in your life, here are some tips for how to give meaningful gifts!

As you think about your gift list this holiday season, let’s consider a few options to think outside the box and let our love shine through instead of worrying about the price tag.

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thought that counts

How to Give Meaningful Gifts

Buy an Oven mitt:

Recently I saw a Facebook status update that really got me thinking. My friend was celebrating her 22rd wedding anniversary and expressed gratitude to her husband for buying an oven mitt. Now, she really wasn’t bragging on her husband for spending a few dollars on a new kitchen pot-holder; what she was really sharing was the love and appreciation she had for her family. By purchasing an oven mitt, her husband was showing that he not only knew her well enough to know what she needed, he also understood how important it was for her to have a new pot holder that didn’t have holes before the family arrived for holidays. His simple gift shouted his love louder than an expensive trip or lavish piece of jewelry.

Write a Handwritten Note:

When my daughter had her birthday a few years ago, she learned a valuable lesson. Several of her friends at school took a few minutes and made a very simple sign with a piece of school paper and an ink pen. They wrote some fun birthday wishes, drew a picture and taped it to her desk when she got to school. They also gave her some cards that they had hand written on another piece of school paper. There were no stickers, presents or colorful pieces of artwork – just simple lined paper and ink pen notes. But this was the most special birthday celebration. She was so moved by the ‘sense of belonging’ that she felt from those simple handwritten birthday wishes. For the first time in her life she really understood that it is ‘the thought that counts’. Those simple notes now occupy a place of honor on her wall.

Design something Unique:

I am working on a gift for a coworker and wanted to do something special. At most work events and parties, there is a certain budget that you have to stay under. I have been thinking about what to do that would show her that I know and appreciate her on a personal level. So I found a friend who creates metal stamped jewelry. It’s not a prepackaged gift basket from an expensive store; but it will hopefully be something that brings her happiness over the next few years.

Spend Time Planning:

One of our family traditions is to each buy a present for $5.00 or less for the other members of the family. The kids start thinking about their gifts months in advance. The gifts are often silly and wouldn’t make sense to those looking in from the outside. But to us, we will never forget the things that are shared with the family members. After all, no one will ever quite understand how special the toilet plunger was when it was gifted.

This past weekend we spent almost an entire day going from one store to the next. At each store we spent less than $5.00 (most of the stores were even less!) The kids have mastered the art of shopping the clearance racks, finding the sales, using coupons and shopping smart.

five dollars

We found a home decor store that has amazing selections for home decor items priced at 75% off! They kicked me out of the store and did some shopping with Dad. My son discovered that a local store in the mall had all their clearance products on sale for $2.00 each PLUS it was buy 3 items and get 3 items free. Not only did he score some amazing gifts for his sister, but I was able to get the gift for her class gift exchange! Score!

The best part of this Christmas tradition is the fact that each of us has a strict budget yet we are still expected to find something creative! The secrets, conspiracies, and surprises are my favorite part of the gift giving season.

Point of Grace has a song that says “It’s not who you know, it’s not what you’ve done, it’s how you live.” As you approach the Christmas season of giving gifts, think about how you can share your life with those around you.

Gifts should be more than just an impersonal purchase from the mall or big box store. They should come from the heart and show that you know the person and care about them.

What are you going to give this year? Got any great ideas? I’d love to hear.

Excerpts from this article appeared in the print edition of the Advocate Messenger, Danville, Kentucky 11/29/15.

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