I’ve never been good at gift-giving.
I’m not sure what the real problem is. Is it that the people I love tend to have everything and so I can’t come up with any ideas about what to buy them? Maybe it’s about my peaceful, minimalist lifestyle that taught me that material items have no real value? Or, perhaps I simply learned that giving someone an expensive item is a way to apologize and make up for the time you were not there?
For many years I had observed my nephew, who was just a small child back then, cry and ask me many times when would his mom and dad be back from their business trip. They called him often, they were buying him expensive gifts, but I saw that nothing could ever compensate for the tears he cried and nights he spent without his dad telling him stories and mom kissing him for good night.
Are we really giving our loved ones thoughtful gifts that matter?
Is a new laptop better than hearing your parents tell you they love you?
Is another limited edition book better than your husband promising you that he’ll give up smoking?
What are those really priceless, thoughtful gifts you can give the person you love?
How much time do you spend with your wife, husband, kids, parents or friends?
Being busy like a bee we tend to only work, eat and sleep. We can end up forgetting to devote time to the people we love.
Perhaps instead of buying your children more toys, you’d promise them you’d spend the whole weekend together and cook something tasty, go sledding or offer a board game challenge? It will also be a good idea to take your partner on a date and spend a romantic evening together. They’ll appreciate it more than a material item. And your parents – how long since they seen you? A surprise visit will be a perfect gift for your parents. After all, nothing warms a parent's heart more than seeing their child's face again.
Most of us are passionate about something. It can be painting, crafting, photography, cooking, singing, or fashion. What if, instead of buying another camera or recipe book for your friend or partner, you’d sign them up for a course with a renowned specialist?
Let your loved ones follow their passions and give them the gift of skills and knowledge. It’s more valuable than material items.
3. Give up addiction
How many years has your partner begged you to quit smoking? How long have they asked you to spend less time playing video games? And when was the last time you haven’t bought anything during a day?
If you love someone, you worry about their health and wellbeing. Thus, sometimes, the best gift you can give them is to promise them to change and overcome your addiction. Ask your loved one for help and support. This will make you closer, revive your love and be the best gift they could ever dream of.
4. Solve their problem
Think about what your loved one struggles with.
If it’s a debt, pay it if it’s not a problem for you to do so.
If they suffer from work depression and dream of changing their job, do some research for them, help them send out their CV or support them with preparing for interviews.
If it’s a health problem and they don't have the energy to sort out their treatment, or can’t afford the appointments they need, help them by finding the best doctor, arranging their appointment and maybe evening contributing financially.
Remember, the reason for gift-giving is to make others happy. And what does true happiness mean? It means positive relationships, interesting work, being healthy, having financial stability and having a passion. So, help to make your loved one happy by supporting them in these areas if they're struggling. They’ll appreciate it more than being given flowers, jewelry or perfume.
5. Good memories
“The best gifts in the world are not in the material objects one can buy from the store, but in the memories we make with the people we love” – Amanda Boyarshinov
Take a moment, sit down and think about all the good memories you have. Recall that trip to the lake where you had a nice time with your family. Recall that magical evening at the seaside with your wife. Are you happy about those moments? Were they valuable? Of course, they were!
So, why don’t you give your loved one more good memories? After all, life shouldn’t be counted in years, but in the moments and memories we make with the people we love.
6. Freedom from responsibility
Mothers who have small children to take care of, dinners to cook and shopping to do, can hardly find time for themselves. Thus, think about giving the person you love some solitude. Take their responsibilities and duties away for a time. Let them sleep longer, gather energy and relax.
If it is your wife who looks after the kids when you work, you can offer that you’ll take the children away for a weekend trip so that she could rest and devote some time to her hobby. Every busy wife will find this gift priceless! Or, maybe it’s your sister who doesn’t have time to bond with her husband. Tell her you’ll take care of your niece and nephew for a few days so that she could cuddle with her spouse, rest and recharge. She’ll really appreciate that.
7. “Open when…” letters
Sometimes we find it hard to talk about our feelings. Sometimes we forget to tell our husbands, wives or children how much we love them, care about them, that life without them would be empty. A very creative way to let your loved one know about it is to give them a couple of “open when” letters. This way they’ll receive consolation and learn how much you love and care about them in times of trouble. Especially, if you don’t see each other every day.
Here are a few ideas:
- Open when you’re sad
- Open when you can’t fall asleep
- Open when you feel lonely
- Open when you fail an exam
- Open when you’re upset
There are many thoughtful gifts you can give the person you love. And those presents are far more precious than any item you can purchase. Be there for your kids, spend time with your partner, share with your love!
Be happy by making others happy.
If you have any ideas on what other non-material thoughtful gifts you can give your loved one, let us know in the comments below!
Emily Johnson is a blogger and a content strategist at omnipapers.com. She
is also a contributor to many websites about career advice, productivity,
work issues, college life, blogging and writing. You can always find more
works of hers on Twitter .