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The Art of Gift Giving

The Art of Gift Giving

Intentional gifting: How to gift differently in a culture of overconsumption.
November 29, 2022 by Henny Rau

In a culture of overconsumption, the holidays are the pinnacle of endless spending. Online shopping during the holiday season is now a $188.2 billion business, and more than one third of those gifts are returned. Amidst the chaos of the holidays, we know how easy it is to get caught in last minute gift purchases - we’re guilty of it too. And there’s nothing wrong with a last minute gift purchase, but there is a way to do it mindfully.

Motivated by conscious + ethical consumption, we’ve created a guide for you on how to gift sustainably, intentionally and even for love languages this holiday season.

Gift giving is a great opportunity to slow down.

Take some time to put intention into the gifts you’re buying for others this year. And yes, we know it sounds crazy during the chaos of the holidays, but this means slowing down. Take an hour to sit down with your gift list for loved ones, and consider the following questions:

  • Put the other person’s desires and needs before your own! Is this a gift that I want to give, or is it a gift that they want to receive?
  • Seek quality over quantity. Consider investing in one item from a sustainable brand, rather than three items from fast fashion. Additionally, many people would rather receive a handmade gift than an expensive one void of meaning. It’s the intention that counts.
  • Support small businesses! If you can support local brands, DO. This is not only environmentally friendly by avoiding extra shipping energy and materials, but it is what allows your local mom-n-pop shops to keep their doors open. Whether you’re supporting local or online brands, prioritize BIPOC, queer and female-owned businesses.
  • Your money is your vote for a better future. Purchase gifts from companies that you’re proud to support. This way, you’re giving two gifts - one to your loved one, and one to a better future for generations to come.

Gift for their love language.

Gift giving might be your love language, but is it theirs? Remember that the way they show love might be different than the way they receive love. And if you don’t know the love language(s) of your partner, family member or friend, this is a great opportunity to ask them ;)

Here’s a quick gift guide for the other four love languages:

  • Quality Time - Consider gifting an experience! Get them two tickets to their favorite concert, a night away in an airbnb, or a pottery class. Whatever it is, commit to doing it together.
  • Words of Affirmation - Write them a letter! Oftentimes the letter with the gift will be more meaningful than the gift itself. After they open the gift/read the letter, remind them of what you love about them!
  • Physical Touch - Consider gifting them a massage (if it’s a partner, give them a massage coupon for a massage from you), massage oil to be used for that massage, or just be intentional about giving them an extra hug when they open your gift. The experience of receiving the gift is just as important as the gift itself.
  • Acts of Service - These are often the gifts that go unspoken. In addition to any physical gift that you might give them this year, take some time to clean up the house, help with a home project or garden, or cook them a special meal. Also consider gifting some of these acts of service as a ‘coupon’ that they can cash in at any time. For a partner, promise to make them breakfast every morning for a week, or for a friend, promise to babysit their pets or kids so that they can have a night/weekend away.

Many of these gift ideas make great last minute gifts, so this holiday season, rather than browsing Amazon at the last minute, take time to slow down, reflect and gift from the heart.

Helen Rau

Henny Rau

Henny is a coastal California-based writer. When not writing or sipping on Clevr, you can find her exploring trails in the backcountry, paddling into waves or sharing a meal in the garden with friends.