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A Guide to Intentional Gifting

Published on November 7, 2022

With Christmas on the horizon, we’re pausing to re-center our hearts and minds on the joy of giving to the people whose presence in our lives is a gift to us. But to fully soak up the magic of the holidays, it takes intentionality. This is our guide to gifting, and we hope it inspires you to see all the delight that is layered in every moment.

More Than a List

The names on a Christmas list are so much more than line items to be checked off. Those names represent the source of love in our lives, and the people who have invested so much into us. Before venturing into a crowded marketplace or browsing deals online, spend a little time thinking about what makes those people so special to you. Consider shared memories you may have together, things they have become interested in over the last year, or new skills they’re learning, and write down a few notes for each name. You may come up with just the thing to let them know they are seen and supported. (If you need a place to start, explore our curated gift guides.)

Make room for the unexpected: Leave space at the end of your list for a handful of unexpected names. The mailman. A leader of a local nonprofit. The familiar face you see in the checkout line at the grocery store. Delight them with something simple but thoughtful—a batch of cookies, an encouraging word, or a few hours spent volunteering.

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Shop in Good Company

By now, you may already have some of your gifts tucked away in a closet. But there may be some gifts still yet to be discovered on the shelves of your favorite stores. One way to keep the hunt for last-minute gifts from becoming burdensome is to intentionally spend that time with someone you love—a spouse, a friend, a sibling. Set aside an unhurried evening to sip on some hot cocoa and walk through a few of your favorite spots, making space for both scheduled stops and off-the-cuff detours.

Bring it home: If your shopping is already done, invite a few people over to bake batches of Christmas treats (get a few recipes here) that can be boxed up for coworkers and neighbors.

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Wrap With Intention

A beautifully wrapped gift is a treasure on its own. When we hand off a wrapped box to those people on our list, we’re giving them a burst of anticipation. The mystery gives way to joyful abandon when they rip open the paper to see what’s inside. Christmas is meant to be fun, and part of the gift is in how it’s presented. That’s why we’re not skipping out on good old-fashioned gift wrap.

Spread the cheer: Bring in the kids and teach them how to wrap gifts on their own. If a few of the presents come out looking less-than-perfect, all the better. Then, instead of (or in addition to!) a traditional tag, opt for a handwritten note that shares why you thought of this gift for them and what they mean to you. Even if you share the sentiment in person, the note will be a lovely reminder that you were thinking of them throughout the season—and one they can hold onto for many more to come.

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Cherish the Greatest Gift

Maybe it’s around a tree, or maybe it’s in passing at a holiday party, but now is the time to start giving the gifts we have been so intentional about finding and preparing. In that moment, it becomes clear that the old adage is true: it's better to give than receive. To give is to receive an abundance of joy that can only come from making others feel loved. It was never about the thing or how much it cost or who gets what, but about the people who fill up our lives with goodness and hope—and that is the greatest gift of all.

happy gifting!