How To Gift Thoughtfully

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The holiday season is full of things to celebrate. It’s a time to spend with family and loved ones, often while sharing gifts. However, giving gifts can be anxiety-inducing and intimidating for a number of reasons. Everyone’s ways of expressing love are different. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is popularly referenced when describing how individuals convey love — words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. We’ve included how you can consider each of these this holiday season.

What’s the relationship? 

Are they a family member, friend, coworker, significant other? This is a very important factor. How long have you known them? What’s appropriate to give one person may not be for another, like jewelry. It may not be appropriate to give a gift to a coworker at all, depending on the nature of your work relationship. If you’ve never exchanged presents with someone in the past, ask them what they would prefer. This way, there is clear communication. 

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What are they interested in?

Everyone has opened a present from a well-meaning relative that simply does not know how you enjoy spending time. Knowing a person’s existing hobbies is the safest bet. If they’re artistic, they might appreciate a restock of their most used supplies. If they enjoy cooking, they could benefit from a piece of cookware that they can use to try new dishes. If they have actively expressed disinterest in an activity, you probably won’t be changing their mind no matter how good you think the gift is. 

What might they need?

What stage of life is the gift recipient in? Some people value experiences over items. Both are worth considering when deciding how to appreciate someone with a gift. Concert tickets, guided tours, sports games and outings to botanical gardens or museums are experiences that may not be an item but are still legitimate gifts. Have they been needing to replace an old device or repair one that is broken? Maybe they have wanted a specific brand for years but have never made the time to purchase it for themselves. Showing that you know your friend’s needs is a great way to demonstrate your interest and care for what’s going on in their life.

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Do some recon!

If you find yourself wracking your brain for ideas with little success, it never hurts to ask the people in the gift recipient’s life what they would like. Ask the people around them who they spend the most time with, like siblings or roommates. Platforms like TikTok can also be a great place to find gift ideas if you’re struggling. 

Don’t stress about the finances.
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We aren’t always in the position to give gifts, or give gifts in the capacity that we would like to. This is nothing to be ashamed about. It’s important that you look after your own financial security even if you’re looking to get things for loved ones. If you’re struggling with buying a gift, homemade cards, artwork and food are sentimental ways to gift. 

What are your best tips for gift-giving? Tweet us and let us know @VALLEYmag


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