Whether it’s for a festive season, special occasion or “just because,” remaining centred and mindful while choosing a gift for your someone is not only better for the receiver, but for the giver too.
There are few times in the year that we carve out space to appreciate those we love, which often includes giving a token to demonstrate the place they hold in our hearts. Sounds fairly straightforward and love-driven, right?
While we may be able to emotionally embrace the spirit of gift-giving, it’s also hard to ignore the pressures and expectations that have built up — both for those who give and those who receive — around gifting to others.
In a consumption-focused society, gifting can become warped: some feel compelled to keep up with the newest and the best products, some see gifting as a requirement or chore to mindlessly knock off their list, and others may be giving at the expense of themselves and their current resources. Or perhaps giving is not your issue, but you struggle to receive.
“Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.”
– Kevin Kruse
At FLVC, we believe the idea of groundedness can be applied to the gift-giving process as well: by approaching presents with presence (see what we did there?) it’s possible to develop healthy and sustainable habits around gift-giving that will not only increase the quality of the gifts you give but increase your own joy and sense of connection in the process as well.
With conscious consumption always at the top of our minds, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you stay centred and grounded during any season of giving, so you can make the change from giving more to giving better.
Notice that we have chosen the phrase “giving better,” not “buying better.” While there may be overlap between the two, this is intentional: giving can also include items that do not need to be purchased (homemade or DIY, or regifting) as well as the non-material (such as quality time and words of affirmation).
Giving better — becoming more mindful and intentional about how and why we gift — has benefits for both the giver and the receiver. Not only can we reconnect to the true spirit of giving, which is a demonstration of love and appreciation, but we can stay connected to our own values in the process (instead of getting swept into the hype or expectations around gifting).
Love + intentionality + mindfulness = a better gift, every time.
To incorporate mindfulness into your gift-giving, especially if you are buying something, consider the reasons why you are choosing this gift:
Will they use this?
Do they already have this or something similar?
Is this something that would bring them joy?
Is it something they will use after the initial excitement wears off?
What about this gift made me think of this person?
And remember: if gift-giving feels more stressful than joyous for you, don’t worry about spending money. At the end of the day, people just want to feel loved and appreciated, and gifting is only one way (of MANY) that is available to express that. Take some pressure off yourself by finding alternative ways to show your love — we have some great suggestions below.
A guide to giving better
Think evergreen, not seasonal
Especially in the hyped-up days leading to holidays, novelty gifts abound and can be especially tempting when seen on festive displays at stores.
As fun as a reindeer water bottle or menorah-covered pyjamas may be, the reality is that these items quickly fall into disuse outside of the holiday season, and might be bound for the donation bin after they’ve accumulated 6 months of dust. It can be great to have some fun with your gift, but it’s important to think about the amount of use your person will get out of an item.
An easy rule of thumb is the $1 Rule: if an item comes out to one dollar (or less) per use, it may be worth the purchase. The $1 Rule allows space to still buy things while preventing impulse purchases that might seem like a good deal. It also promotes spending more on high-quality, sustainable items that will last. That $5 reindeer water bottle they might use only once breaks the $1 Rule.
Aim for items they can use on heavy rotation, no matter the season — our 32 oz water bottle is a durable, sustainable and fun way to keep your loved one hydrated throughout the year.
It’s time to do away with the re-gifting taboo. Research shows that when it comes to re-gifting, the imagined offence is mostly in our heads: we think that re-gifting will be as offensive to the original giver as throwing away their gift. In reality, they would much rather you pass along their gift than let it sit unused.
By letting go of items we may be holding on to because of perceived obligation and instead (thoughtfully) giving them to another, we are allowing the item to fulfill its original, love-expressing purpose.
Some of my favourite gifts were re-gifted (a scarf my mom received that wasn’t her style but made her think of me) or gently used (a book from a friend filled with her own notes). Let’s stop the hoarding and keep the abundance flowing!
It may sound counterintuitive, but checking in with yourself to see what products or practices have benefited you recently can be a great place to source gift ideas for those that share similar hobbies or values as you. Not only are you passing along a gift that has been tried, tested and vouched for by the ultimate source of good taste (you!), you can also create a point of connection with your loved one.
If you share a fondness for cooking, for example, gift them a copy of your favourite cookbook and place sticky tabs on the recipes that you recommend. You can compare notes and results throughout the year, or even plan to make a recipe together.
Are there any products that have become a staple in your life? Share the benefits by passing along your favourite new finds. We love gifting friends and family with FLVC — with a subscription option for both the Powder and the Tonic, it feels great to give the gift of groundedness and health to those we love.
Less quantity, more quality
It’s time to turn the script on the constant consumerist pressure to buy the latest and greatest… but this does not mean we need to reject the beautiful things that life has to offer.
Instead of gifts with a high turnover (we’re looking at you, fast fashion, or disintegrating tech with a new model every year), why not explore products that are built to last: artisan, meaningful items that the receiver can integrate into their life in a lasting way.
Using the $1 Rule from above, consider high-quality and sustainable items that will improve the quality of life of your loved one, and perhaps is something they would not think to buy for themselves. If you’re looking to treat someone, check out Sömn Home’s sustainable linen bedding — high-quality sheets will not only feel luxurious and last for years but will greatly improve their quality of sleep. Talk about groundedness and health!
Finally, not every gift requires wrapping (or even a price tag): thoughtful experiences done together — hello, quality time! — are a great alternative to material gifts, and are something that will be lasting and memorable.
Whether you’re implementing a low-waste lifestyle or looking to remain budget-conscious, experiences are an amazing choice to express appreciation while cutting out the pressures of material purchases. Sign up for a local workshop or class (woodwork? languages? salsa lessons?) to get out of your comfort zone together, or a membership to a yoga studio or museum could be an amazing way to bond.
A thoughtful, budget-friendly option could be as simple as planning a day in nature. An intimate stroll under a tree-lined canopy, or a drive to calming waters for a brisk dip, are both deeply therapeutic and grounding options. Pack a picnic and you’ve got all the ingredients for a connected and grounded day you’ll both remember for years to come.
Giving better — becoming more mindful and intentional about how and why we gift — can help us develop healthy and sustainable habits around gift-giving that will not only increase the quality of the gifts we give but increase both joy and a sense of connection in the process as well.
Gifting is something that is allowed to feel good, and if it doesn’t for you right now, go with your gut and explore other options — the more authentic the expression of love is for you, the more it will be felt and appreciated by the special people in your life.