With the number of holiday shopping days winding down, it’s easy (and so tempting) to click, click, click to your Amazon Prime heart’s content. But this often results in gifts that don’t reflect a ton of thought, which is opposite of the attitude we’re trying cultivate during this time, right?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Prime fanatic, and there are gifts on this list that are certainly Prime eligible. BUT…don’t let convenience take away from gifts that could be purchased and/or given intentionally.
- Thoughtfully considering the person(s) you are buying a gift for so as to give a gift that matches his/her/their interests rather than a gift card to Costco. These gifts often allow the recipient(s) to spend more quality time with his/her/their family and/or encourage thoughtful, creative activity.
- Purchasing gifts from small business and/or businesses that support a cause that is important to the you and/or the gift recipient. When you buy from a small business, you are very literally putting food on someone’s table. You are very literally helping that business owner’s son play soccer next spring. Your purchase matters.
While I have linked to some items that I really wanted a visual for, I encourage you to shop your neighborhood’s small toy/book store and clothing boutique. Seek out the holiday bazaars and online retailers that feature local artisans, and demonstrate intentionality on both sides of the coin.
Onto the ideas…
For your family:
Intentional gifts for your family are gifts that encourage you all to spend time together – and ones that keep giving throughout the year.
- Experiences – Passes to state parks, indoor aquatic centers and indoor climbing gyms are great ways to ensure that your family has something to do anytime in the next year. You can pair these with themed accessories like hiking gear (think water bottles, backpacks, etc.), goggles and towels to beef up the presentation of the gift, and it’s all useful gear. You can also consider day trips and weekend getaways too. When grandparents ask what to get the kids, tell them they want experiences!
- Gifts that promote more family time – Headbanz, Zingo, Monopoly Junior, Uno and Jenga are great additions to family game night because they’re versatile across lots of ages. Another family favorite is storytelling with Story Cubes.
If your family likes cooking together, think about cookbooks that the family would enjoy using and then get everyone a fun apron to get started. Any common interest can be made into a fun gift package.
The most successful gifts for kids are ones they continue to play with over and over again – and usually are ones that encourage creative play.
Our timeless favorites:
Sneaky stocking stuffer faves (sneaky because I’d end up buying this stuff anyway!):
For friends/neighbors/teachers/grandmas/aunts/anyone, really:
As tempting as it is to pick up mass coffee gift cards for this crew, think about supporting a small business to check them off the list.
A lot of neighborhoods now have stores where many small business artisans sell their items – everything from soaps and candles to scarves and jewelry. A quick trip through one of these stores will get you an ornament with your teacher’s favorite football team logo or a calming hand lotion that your neighbor always sneaks from you.
Besides shopping local, I love to shop for a cause. Here are my top picks:
- Noonday – Beautiful fair trade jewelry and accessories that makes a difference in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. (I’m not an ambassador, but I can hook you with a rock star mompreneur who knows everything about this company AND will help you style your stuff!)
- Global Goods Partners – handmade goods to change women’s lives.
- Krochet Kids – hats, scarves and more to help empower people to rise above poverty. Each item is hand-signed by the person who made it.
- Sevenly – cool t-shirts to support various causes where $7 from each shirt supports the non-profit of the week.
- Sseko – Bags, footwear and accessories made by women in Uganda to help them pursue college degrees.
- Stand New Ground – Candles that provide food and a beautiful place to live for women coming off the streets for a year.
- Dsenyo – fair trade jewelery and handbags handcrafted by women and artisans working to build a better life and inspire social change in their communities.
Easy Ways to Support Small Businesses:
You might not have access to a lot of local artisans, but you can still support them and small businesses through:
- etsy – just about any unique, hand-made item you can think of
- Scoutmob – unique gifts from independent makers in the Atlanta, Nashville, D.C. and New York areas.
- Mompreneurs: support the mamas who are totally owning their passions through Stella & Dot (beautiful jewelry of all kinds – especially great for engravable!) and Rodan & Fields (top of the line skincare that my friends can’t stop raving about). If you don’t know a consultant with one of these companies, I can point you in the right direction (it isn’t me :).
If you’ve been threatening to clear out one of those gift card kiosks at your next visit to the grocery store, I hope this list gives you a little nudge to think again.
And, if your son’s kindergarten teacher really does just love herself a cup of coffee (because TEACHER), remember that you can turn it intentional with a gift card from her local coffee shop tucked into a mug that perfectly suits her.