top of page
  • Writer's pictureA

Thoughtful Giving: A 2023 Gift Guide

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

'Tis the season, friends! The season for taking in all that has culminated over this past year. The season for pausing to look around. 'Tis NOT ( 'tisn't...?) the time to put yourself into debt or depression dumping money into thoughtless gifts. A couple years ago I put together a gift guide (Abundant Giving: A Mindful Gift Guide). It included the kinds of thing that I would like to see...not just a laundry list of Amazon crap or overly expensive trinkets that no one wants or needs. It was so much fun, I decided to do it again. Here's a fresh list of things you can consider gifting your loved ones that will actually make you feel good.

Before diving in, you'll want to take some time to envision your recipient. Consider them as a whole person. What do you love about them? What do you want for them in the coming year? Think about their current hobbies and goals. What message do you want your gift to send to them? Once you have the intention around your giving in mind for that one particular person, dive into the list for a little inspiration.

Share a Talent

Who says you have to spend a ton of money on a gift? Are you crafty? Do you have a talent you could share? Baking and knit / crochet-goods are popular homemade options, but not for everyone. Can you draw, or write a fun little story? Anything created by your hands or brain can be considered a great labor of love when passed on to someone you care about. Perhaps you're good at doing hair or really love landscaping. Don't tell me you have no gifts or talents to share. I guarantee there's something you do that another person wishes they could do half as well. I once had a friend come over and help me design / decorate my kitchen. She even helped me organize all of my kitchen gadgets and pare down on items I really didn't need. (Thanks, Alicia!) Things like that are very much appreciated. You could program a workout routine for someone, write them a meal plan, help them make a budget. You could even proofread their resume or script. If you're unsure, ask people close to you what they consider you to be good at. You might be surprised at what they have to say.

Nurture a Goal

Think of what you may be able to do to further someone's goals. A bottle of vanilla extract might seem like a silly gift to some people, but to a baker with a small business, that's considered liquid gold. A Canva membership is a total level-up for your friend who wants to improve their digital marketing or web design. Covering the entry fee to an upcoming 5K could be the perfect motivation for the runner in your life. Frankly, if its important to them, it should be important to you (at least in the capacity of gift giving!). Is your girlfriend looking to get more organized in 2024? A beautiful planner is a practical and thoughtful present. If your dad wants to cook more, present him with a collection of spices he might not think to buy for himself.

A Favorite Book

If you're an avid reader, pass on one of your favorite books. Can you recall the particular web of emotions you experienced during your first read-through? Imagine the amplification of joy by sharing that story with someone else. You'll finally have someone to discuss the plot with once their done! This zero-cost gift is a great way to give extended life to a beloved book. You might receive one in return down the road!

Celebrate a Memory

"Remember that time...." Memories with your favorite people live in your heart forever. Wouldn't it be amazing to gift something that stirs up those warm and bubbly feelings all over again? Conjour up a favorite time, and gift a souvenir that reminds them. No matter how small or obscure, even if you're the only two people in the world that would get it. This type of gift can be so simple, yet the most personal and pure.

Support an Artist

There has never been a better time to buy directly from artists. You'll find so much talent showcased online, and chances are good that if you follow an artist, there are opportunities to buy / support their work. You can pick up prints, stickers, originals paintings, digital art, etc.. Reach out to the artist directly to see the best avenue to order. (Sometimes they prefer orders through their website as opposed to Etsy, but then Red Bubble can make shipping international orders easier for them. They will let you know what works best!) This is a great way to keep small artists thriving, and a nearly-guaranteed way to ensure you're giving a completely original gift. If you aren't sure of what they'd like best, pick up a gift card to a great local small business.

Some of my recent favorites:

Gifts of Experience

LONG LIVE GIFTS OF EXPERIENCE. I know this makes so many "gift lists", but the idea cannot be overstated. I'm very pro "memories over materials". Tickets to a concert, comedy show, or sporting event can be so much fun. Also, experiences can come at any price point. Vouchers for public ice skating, a museum, or mini golf are as meaningful and welcome as a theater performance, or Cirque du Soleil (Bro, have you seen it though? so good..). Once again, defer to your recipient's preferences. Don't demand or expect them to take you - give them the freedom to choose their ideal experience. It is a gift, after all!

Uninterrupted Attention

How often have you been to an event where people are checking their phones? In today's culture, it is pretty much expected and unavoidable. Give the one you love your undivided attention for an hour! It sounds a little ridiculous, but be intentional. If they live far away, devote an hour to a phone call or video chat. Really, at the end of the day, what matters most is continuing to nurture your bond. Your time and attention don't cost a thing. Don't let another day go by that you don't prioritize them, for at least a little. Put it on the calendar (the sooner the better), make a big deal out of it, and don't let anything cause you to cancel and put it off for another day. You'll be really glad that you did.


And there you have it! Some intentional and thoughtful gifts. These certainly don't have to apply just during the holidays. Pull out some of these ideas at any time you're in the giving mood. It also helps to keep a running list on your phone to jot down sweet ideas over the course of the year. Also, I'm pretty proud of the last gift compilation. I gave it another read-through and the suggestions listed there are still relevant. Feel free to take a look if you're interested in a several more choices:

Happy Giving! I hope it always comes back to you tenfold, even when you least expect it!

-A ♥️

44 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page