The ”No-shopping” Gift Guide
From Thanksgiving, Christmas to New Year, from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, to Boxing Day, ads and promotion campaigns flood the market and tell us to buy, buy, buy. While it’s occasionally beneficial to capitalize on the heavy discounts for certain items I’ve been eyeing for some time, the idea that we’re confronted with endless shopping messages still intimidates me. Picture the classic sci-fi movie The Matrix, but instead of agents in black suits, we’re tracked and chased by sales messages everywhere.
This is also the time to shop for holiday gifts for friends and families, which can be stressful for many. Some of us hunt for perfect gifts that are unique and creative, within the right budget, easy to obtain, and show the receivers how much they mean to us. If we’re lucky enough to achieve all of the above, there’s still the challenge of maintaining the beautiful wrappings while travelling to holiday gatherings. Other times, we stop by the nearest chain stores to pick up last-minute gifts that are bought simply for the purpose of having something to give them.
In this cycle that repeats annually and seems inescapable, I like to brainstorm ideas for conscious and painless gift-giving; gifts that could be meaningful and unique with a personal touch. Here are five ideas to start:
“Personal Service Gift Cards”: This could be anything small and personable. For example, instead of buying a gift card to a luxurious spa, offer your loved ones a service by you when they want to use the “gift card”. It could be a special home-cooked meal on a day when they need extra help. You’re free to come up with ideas based on personal knowledge. Write or print the ideas on simple cardstock and decorate them however you want. These will be one of a kind, meaningful and memorable.
Good Books or Films You Recently Read: Sharing what inspires you is one of the most loving things. Add a message telling the receiver why you’re sharing this gift with them and let it be their choice to read or watch it or not. Give with an open mind and sharing without expectations.
Surprise Getaway: Offer to book a surprise getaway to an off the beaten path place where they can enjoy either your company or their own quiet time. Take the stress of planning and budgeting off their plate. It could be a simple weekend getaway when they need to decompress. Or better yet, fulfill their dream of seeing a place that they’ve always longed to visit.
Online Course or Subscription: This is appropriate especially when you know the person is working on a goal or trying to learn certain new skills. There are many different kinds of subscriptions that are digitally delivered and flexible for the person’s schedule. For example, an online course of healthy meal planning could help someone who’s working on a health goal. Subscription access to resources like lynda.com or Skillshare let the recipient choose what they want to learn on their own schedule.
A Personal Playlist: This could be easily done digitally on a memory stick with tunes that resonate with the person, bring back fond memories or have special meaning. It will bring the person joy or laughter. It also serves as a conversation starter or turns the gift-exchange into an impromptu dance party.