On gift giving

In case you haven’t yet noticed: TIME IS FLYING! Next week we’re celebrating Christmas already and a week later we’ll be shedding tears for another year has passed and we still hurt. I know I will.

On previous blogs I’ve already spent numerous words on possible gifts for your favorite people. I quote myself: ‘For the ones who have no idea what they should get their friends and family: I am here to help! I am not claiming that I am a star in getting gifts, but I really enjoy putting thought into it so therefore I’d like to share my ideas.’ (You better start quoting yourself early.)

It’s nice to see how I didn’t get more organized over the past three years, since back in 2011 I wrote my post on gift giving already in late November. Right. Furthermore, I didn’t get much better in gift giving either. Or in writing … Must. Save. Tears.

My vision on gift giving

Receiving presents makes you feel special and loved. Well, it does when people give you personal presents because they want you to feel special and loved. However, when it comes to Christmas and even birthdays, we are almost forced to give each other something. We love our friends and familiy tremendously, but we don’t love to be forced into buying something. For some people it’s just hard to think of something that will truly add something to their lives. What do you do then? Buy something that won’t make them happy? Don’t give anything? I would prefer the latter, but then you might be labeled as cheap or inconsiderate.

I want to state here that I think it is important to avoid getting gifts the receiver isn’t happy with. You can think things like: at least now I have something. Or: this thing is crappy, but it’s funny at least. But then your present ends up just sitting somewhere, not being used, or even being thrown away. And that’s just sad in so many ways.

What to give

Something personal or homemade

But what do you give then? Now it’s time to state the obvious: give something personal! Like a picture that brings back memories. You can write something, like a letter in which you write what you appreciate about the other, or what you’ve learned from them. You can also make a drawing, if you dare. You can make a personal Christmas or birthday card. Are you good with Photoshop? There you go. Or make something out of a quote that means something to the both of you. Write a story, or a poem. Those kind of things are awesome. And cheap, yes indeed.

Something related to their hobbies or something they already want

Of course you can think of what kind of hobbies the other has and see if you can do something with that. Are there things the person wants, but doesn’t allow themself to get? And for what reasons? The reason might be important.

Go have a drink! This is Kahvila café in Helsinki.

An experience, together or especially for them

You can also treat someone by taking or sending them somewhere, like to the movies, a spa, a sports game, some other event or to have some food or drinks. Those kind of things make you happier than material things, science says! Of course it will cost some organization and time, but then you get to spend this time together. How nice is that?

However, you can also give an experience for the other person alone. Like those cinema gift cards, you know? There are lots of those things (for musicals, concerts, exhibitions, etc.) and perhaps there’s an absolutely perfect one for your friend.

Food, beverages or other useful, impermanent things

With some people you don’t really want to spend more time than you already do, and you can’t think of something personal either. Then I would always suggest to get something to eat or drink. I don’t know if this is a socially accepted thing to do, but at least it will be used and then it won’t be just taking up space somewhere in a corner. At least, you would think so. The same goes for candles, really. Though, people might not like those. Or not use them if they’re pretty, so they will last forever after all! That happens when you give them to me. Oh, and about the food thing: home-baked goods are the best, of course.

Books on topics of your choosing

And I have to mention: books! There’s a lot of people collecting books and not really reading them, but there are lots of very interesting books out there that are absolutely worth the read. And you can think of what information and thoughts you would want to feed their brain. Awesome. No idea? Just check out some stores and ideas will be flowing.

I recently found this in a secondhand store. I didn’t get it, but you have to admit that it’s pretty amazing.

Something organic, fair-trade, locally produced or secondhand

Furthermore, whatever you want to buy, you can consider buying organic, fair-trade, locally produced or secondhand products. We can try to support good, small initiatives instead of already ruling multinationals. Oh the secondhand thing: you can always go to a secondhand store and see if you can find anything there. The present will be environmentally friendly and most likely affordable! Or you can browse Etsy, where people can sell their homemade items. Though, you might be too late for that now. You can also go to your local organic shop and get something there. I for one would really appreciate that!

Something of yours

You can also take it a step further and give something you yourself already own but don’t fully appreciate, but I personally find this a tricky thing to do. ‘I didn’t want this, so now I’ll dump it at your place.’ Though, of course it doesn’t have to be like that! If you really think the other would like the item you’re about to give them, then you have an amazing situation in which everyone benefits! So in that case: go for it!

Or else one of these suggestions

Still no clue? Buy a reusable bottle, cup or mug. Or even a proper thermos. Or the best deodorant ever. Or a plant, if your friend likes them.

And then it’s time to wrap things up. Good luck, happy gift giving and receiving!

PS I would like to have fancy images to use to make everything more appealing, but unfortunately I don’t. So I just go with slightly unrelated pictures.

Edit: I added the featured image: Photo by Ulrike Leone via Pixabay







3 responses to “On gift giving”

  1. […] Some years ago I already wrote about gift-giving: consider sustainability, give something personal, … […]

  2. […] Please do your best to share it with others who may use it: Do you have friends who may want it? (As a present?) Can you bring it to a second-hand store? Can you sell of give it to someone online? Some items are […]

  3. […] you’re still doing Christmas shoppings, enjoy! By the way, my view on gift giving hasn’t changed much in six years and one day. (And I still write my posts on shopping in late December. […]

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