Few things are as special as a surprise. Surprises create precious memories like finding a shell while walking on the beach, discovering a flower or raspberry in your garden, or uncovering a driftwood fort that seems to be left just for you.
We can capture some of the feeling of a special surprise with intentional gift-giving during the holiday season. Special gifts and unexpected surprises both hold magic. They contain the joy of giving and discovering and imbed special memories deep in our hearts and minds. People remember gifts that are conscious and thoughtful. While the element of surprise can imbue a moment with magic, a thoughtfully planned gift is exceptionally special. After all, we all want to give gifts that leave an impression. So how do we do this?
What do they value?
What do they love?
What things do they like to do in their free time?
What do they read?
Where do they play?
As a mom, I know how each child is beautifully unique. Their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and ideas are all different. Meaningful gifts should be tailored to the wants and needs of the gift recipient.
Handmade gifts are great for showing people how much you care and understand a person’s joie de vive. My favorite gifts that I’ve ever received include a sweet hand-sewn elephant my son made at Waldorf School, an illustrated book my mom made for me titled Gifts from the Sea, for you from me, and a special ring from my beloved mother-in-law.
You and your kids don’t have to be skilled artisans to create meaningful handmade gifts. For example, one year, my children and I rolled beeswax candles for grandparents and teachers. We've also made many loomed pot holders.
Homemade bath salts - wrapped in a Mini Playsilk
Hot chocolate mix or tea in a pretty jar or mug
Framed drawings or paintings
Fold window stars
Gather shells and sea glass and pack in a pretty pouch
As you prepare gifts for your children, consider gift coupons to share time and experiences together. I recently talked to a young woman whose grandmother gave her coupons. She included things like taking a trip to the zoo, going ice skating, and spending a day in the city. Coupons are a memorable gifts for your children. They allow you to not only give them a gift, but build memories that they’ll remember fondly for years to come.
I love to give coupons for special experiences. I gave my niece a coupon to take her to the cat bookstore, which included picking out three books she could take home. Coupons allow you to build anticipation with the gift recipient, and create memories.
A trip to get dessert at a special spot
A day out with mom or dad
A picnic in the park
Child’s choice of games for a game night
A trip to go ice or roller skating
An afternoon of crafting together
Lessons of some sort (drawing, knitting, sewing, etc.)
While handmade gifts and gift coupons are great, there are plenty of other meaningful gift options this holiday season. You might pass along something you own that your loved one admires, like a ring or bracelet. The best thing about personal gifts is that they can be something your loved one has wanted for a long time. A friend of mine has a daughter who was enamored with a box of old cards with information about different animal species. When her daughter was old enough, she gifted her the box of cards. Those cards became one of the child’s most prized possessions.
While the gifts themselves are meaningful, creative cards and wrapping adds magic to your gift-giving. A handwritten note in a card is something your loved one can read over and over. Encourage your children to write notes and draw pictures for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other adults in their lives.
Gift wrapping itself can also add a special touch to the gift-giving experience. Furoshiki is the ancient Japanese art of using cloth to wrap gifts, to show extra care for the environment and the recipient. We love using our playsilks to wrap holiday gifts. You can read our complete guide to Furoshiki here.
No matter what gifts you give this holiday season, I hope you find joy in gifting meaningfully. As you create, plan, wrap, and deliver your gifts, it is my deepest hope that your holiday is filled with joy. May your gifts, whether given or received, spark joy this season!