It’s that time of year! The time when the prepared people are finishing up their Christmas shopping lists and the last minute people are just starting (me!) The last ones on my list always seem to be the men in my life. They’re tricky to shop for! Especially my husband. His last Love Language is gifts so coming up with a Christmas wishlist is a challenge for him (and me!) Every year I try to be more creative and more thoughtful, but after 10 years, it gets harder and harder to come up with fresh ideas. Whoever your tricky-to-shop-for-loved-ones are, I’ve got some tips to help you think outside the box this year!
The root of enjoyment in receiving a gift is the sense of being known and loved.
We all know it’s not about the gifts! Even if your love language is gifts – mine totally is – the root of enjoyment in receiving a gift is the sense of being known and loved. Sometimes it’s easy to let that priority get lost in the holiday sales. So instead of offering you a rundown of things you should buy this season, I want to share the 3 things I ask myself when picking out the perfect present (& a couple ideas for thoughtful gifts to get you started) 😉
#1 – What would mean the most to them?
My first tip is to think about what’s important to the person you’re buying (or making!) for. Basically, thoughtfulness. Maybe this seems obvious and unnecessary. I mean, we’re all thinking of someone else when we buy them a Christmas gift! But I’m talking personal thoughtfulness. Instead of roaming the store wondering if they’d like this or that, think about the things you already know about them and what they love. Then consider how you might be able to give them something that compliments that. This is a good tip for giving gifts to people you’re not as close to, as well! Bonus if it’s something you have in common and have bonded over! Maybe a favorite movie, show, pop-culture reference, sports team… An item that represents what they enjoy says you know them and a little humor is never bad either! Maybe you’re aware of a hobby of theirs and can get them something related. If they’re a painter, pick a few new colors of paint out for them. If they’re a gardener, hunt for the perfect new pair of gloves. These might not be the most creative examples, but you get the idea!
A handmade item or something that carries sentimental meaning is always special, but again, know the receiver. If they’re not overly sentimental or the item doesn’t fit them, your sentimental gesture might not carry the meaning it would for someone else. Something that represents an important thing, moment, or part of their life is a great way to say that you care about what they care about and that thoughtfulness goes a long way. Last year, family members gave me Christmas gifts for the baby I’d just announced we were expecting. To me, it said that they were excited about this new chapter of our lives and that they already loved that baby that I loved so much.
This year one of my favorite ideas for a meaningful gifts is one that inspires and encourages. The item at the top of my list for Jordan is scripture cards that we can display in our home and memorize together every week. Not only will this encourage his (and my) walk with Jesus, it will give us something to work toward together, which Jordan LOVES, and in turn will strengthen our marriage. I got him these scripture cards from Crew + Co. and they’re amazing! There’s 52 cards in the set so that you can focus on a new verse every week of the year and they’re SO beautiful it’s basically like 52 new pieces of art for your home. (They’re on sale right now so you should definitely go snag them!)
#2 – What could make their everyday life better?
Sometimes practical presents seem less fun. But really, if I can use a Christmas present from someone all throughout the year, I will be thinking of them and that blessing far more regularly than a present that doesn’t really speak my language, but was chosen because it seemed more exciting. And speaking of feeling known! If you know enough about their day to day life to see a need and creatively fill it with a Christmas present… you win Christmas!
Here’s my best example of a time I figured out a creative solution to a “problem” Jordan encountered in his every day life. (And I say this a tiny bit sarcastically. Bear with me. 😉 ) Every night Jordan would complain about having to get out of bed to turn on the fan when we were ready to fall asleep. – But he still took one for the team! Thank you, Jesus, for a great husband!! – We joked about it regularly… I probably gave him a hard time. But then one day I decided to do some googling and guess what, it turns out Amazon sells tons of remote controlled fans! So I bought him a fancier one than he’d ever buy (because its a little ridiculous) and he LOVED it. That was last year and he still talks all the time about how great that fan is!
Here’s the fan we have – 5 stars from us! 😉
My point is. If someone else received a remote controlled fan, they’d probably be less enthusiastic. I knew him well enough to know what would matter to him and I thought of something that would tackle a tiny “need” that comes up in each of his days.
Here’s a simple idea to get you started that could make just about anyones day to day brighter:
Live in the NorthWest like us? Maybe your friend has a long walk to their car from the office everyday and arrives home drenched… These umbrellas fit in your hand and come in a million colors!
#3 – Should I splurge?
Every once in a while, a bigger gesture can say “I love you” in a big way. And it means even more when you’ve taken the first 2 questions into account! Jordan is GREAT at this. Not because it’s really his thing, but because he knows it’s mine. After having Finnley, I was not feeling great and wanted to get healthier, but was having a hard time finding the opportunity to prioritize myself. We talked for weeks about buying a treadmill and other ways we could create that space for me. Then one day Jordan came home with new workout clothes and said, “Get dressed. You’re going to the gym!” He’d bought me a gym membership and planned for me to attend workout classes with a friend. WOW. I felt so loved and seen in that moment because he knew what was on my heart and he saw a way to meet it and bless me. That was definitely a treat and it meant a ton, but sometimes grand gestures can be more simple.
I’ve said this twice already, but again, it’s about giving in a way that makes the receiver feel known. Treat them to something (even if it’s not monetarily grand) that they might have had their eye on for a while or maybe something you know they’ve thought about, but would never do for themselves because it seems impractical or low on the priority list. One year for Christmas, Jordan bought me a nicer pair of jeans than I’d got for myself in years. In the big scheme of things, the jeans were a small purchase, but we choose to hold ourselves to a monthly spending budget and the jeans weren’t a need. Everytime I wear those jeans I feel a little bit special knowing they were picked out for me and someone splurged on me for better than I’d get myself. And that’s what it’s about.
Knowing that someone was thinking of us and wanted to bless us – thats what makes a great gift!
Here’s a fun splurge item that could improve the day to day for anyone on your list:
A happy lamp alarm clock! Research shows that fake sunlight really can improve your mood during the long winter months and what a nice way to wake up – with a simulated sunrise! Do you really need a fancy alarm clock? No. Our phones work just fine. Is it nice and useful and thoughtful? YES! This alarm clock is a splurge item on my list this year!!
Here’s one last idea:
Give something that can be used to celebrate the season! (Or maybe even gift it to yourself! 😉 ) My personal favorite this year are the advent cards from Crew + Co. I made a frame to display ours each day and I’m so excited to start this tradition through the 24 day advent in December. Every card has a verse that corresponds the with The Jesus Storybook Bible and I’m looking forward to the fun and meaning they’ll add to Christmases as our family grows. (The advent cards are also on sale right now and there’s still time to get them for this December!!)
Gift giving is fun! But sometimes the deadlines and the checkout lines make it less fun. Instead of stressing over what to buy, get creative with what you give! They say it’s better to give than to receive, but when you’re nailing the gifting, everyone wins 😉