Giving Gifts With Intention

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It’s that time of year again – it sneaks up on all of us, stresses most of us out, but ultimately brings us all a little closer. It’s the season of giving, and although we give gifts throughout the year for different occasions, it felt like a good time to share a few of my favorite gift-giving tips that help transition the concept of gifting from a checklist to one of intention. 

A lot of times, choosing a gift for someone can feel stressful because they may be difficult to buy for, or you may feel stuck because there are so many options that just don’t seem quite right – like something’s missing…? I believe we feel like this because more times than not, something probably is missing. The reason we give a gift is not just because it is someone’s birthday or the holiday season which warrants such a thing, but to show someone that we truly care for and appreciate them.

Tip #1: Take into consideration what’s going on in the lives of those you are giving gifts to.

We all have busy lives filled with all kinds of things going on like moving, getting married, scoring a new job, or maybe traveling the world. Perhaps a favorite sporting team just won a championship, or someone is pursuing a new college degree or fun new hobby. For others, the year may have been a downer and you’re coming up short on ideas for celebrating the positives in their lives. That being said, few things feel better than receiving gifts that support or align with all that is happening in your world – it reminds you that your loved ones are paying attention. 

I often think of these three “Questions of Intent” before I set off on my journey of gifting…

  • What is currently going on in this person’s life?
  • What activities or hobbies are they really into?
  • How can I combine the things they love with an experience to make this gift more intentional?

Tip #2: Give the gift of your time.

After a few years of not being able to connect in person with our loved ones, one of the best things we can give them is our time. Time spent together is a gift that isn’t going to collect dust on the shelf but rather create a warm fuzzy feeling in our hearts, deeper bonds, and cherished moments. If you aren’t able to be together RIGHT NOW during the holidays, perhaps the gift is a promise of an experience together at a later date (but not an empty IOU!)

My dad has always been a hockey fan. He used to play the sport, he loves to watch it, and he overall just enjoys it over other sports. So for a man who has everything he might need and for a daughter who has moved away from home, I knew the perfect gift for my dad would be my time. Last year for the holidays, I got us tickets to our local hockey team’s game for just the two of us and took him to dinner before. He was so excited not only for the game but to spend this uninterrupted time together doing something he loves. Ultimately this created a great memory for us as opposed to another thing on the shelf. 

Tip #3: Combine the physical gift with a related experience to create a lasting memory.

The gift of an experience is something special that someone will appreciate and remember over anything physical. However, we can’t ignore that physical gifts are also one of the five love languages. So take your gifting to the next level (as we do!) and pair an experience with a physical gift that has to do with the questions asked above. Not only are you giving your time to someone and creating a special moment, but also showing someone that you’re paying attention to what’s going on in their lives and supporting them through it. 

So, what does this look like in practice…?

For your traveling friend it might be meeting at a coffee house to discuss their upcoming trip and giving a journal for them to record their travels in, maybe with a few printed photos of trips you’ve taken together sprinkled in. Or it could be some fun travel gear with a promise of a future trip that you’ll take together.

For the ‘workout junkie’ you could sign the two of you up for a class together with the promise of a delicious brunch following the class, complemented with a fresh new workout mat or equipment to help them meet their workout goals.

The art of giving does not need to feel like checking items off of a list – and it really shouldn’t. We should be excited to show the people in our lives that we care about them, and most importantly, that we’re paying attention. Giving offers us a chance to connect and cheer them on wherever their lives may be headed.. So the next chance you get to give a gift, take a second, ask yourself the three Questions of Intent, and give a gift worth cherishing.

Do you need help with finding the perfect gift for the theater lover? Or maybe the travler in your life? Look no further and click Next Level’s Gift Guide below, categorized for the different people in your life!