This year we are so excited and delighted to be part of Enlightened Gift Giving. Meaningful and conscious gift giving through making conscious purchases from vendors with a purpose. Lois Barth, author of Courage to Sparkle
, is our Guest Blogger and gives us the road map on how to be an inspired gift giver.
How To Be an Inspired Gift Giver
I have a dear friend who always gives me fabulous gifts. They are never extravagant or elaborate, but I’m always moved and delighted by them. The reason being; she really took time to think about what I would like. As a result, I feel very seen and cared about. She is a role model for me, for what I call “inspired gift giving.” It’s so important to me because, during the holiday season, gift giving can feel like a pressure or obligation; something you just want to cross off your list and be done with. But when done with care and intention it is just as fun for the giver as the recipient. While some people are just more skilled in this area, I think it’s really all about paying attention and thoughtfulness.
Out of a conversation with two dear friends of mine, we decided to create an inspired gift giving online store made up of artists, authors, experts, thought-leaders, solopreneurs, and just really cool folks that have great products and services. Everyone featured in the store will be giving from the heart offering a discount and donating 10% of all proceeds to their favorite charities. It’s called Enlightened Gift Giving. Please check it out.
Here are a few principles to think about during the upcoming holiday season to be an inspired gift giver to that person in your life:
1) Notice what interests them or lights them up - If we’re really paying attention to others, we can see in their bodies, their tone of voice, the things they talk about most, what holds meaning for them. Perhaps they have been wanting to do more collage work, but never have the time to do it. You can treat them to a class, or buy a cool book on the subject to inspire them to make it more of a priority.
2) Honor their lifestyle and priorities - I had a friend of mine who was drowning in clutter and felt overwhelmed by it. I knew intuitively that any “thing” would just feel like more “stuff”, so I opted to give her an experiential gift. One year it was a mani/pedi, the next year it was tickets to a cool museum exhibit. A good gift should enhance or assist your recipient's goals, either directly or indirectly. At the least, it should avoid hindering them. If someone’s trying to lose weight, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re giving them the most gorgeous chocolate in the world, you’re not helping them out.
3) Don’t equate money with value/impact - There may be some years that your holiday budget is lean, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give a gift that is really fun. I knew of this new mom who was exhausted and asked all of her friends for “childcare hours” as gifts, so she could go to the gym, take a hot bath, and actually have time with her hubby. Her friends went the extra mile: they made her childcare gift certificates and not only gifted her with babysitting hours, but brought extra food for dinner so she had leftovers for a few nights. She was in heaven.
4) Notice where they are depleted - There’s a friend of mine who makes the most extraordinary healthcare and beauty products; they are delicious medicine for body mind and spirit. When I have friends or clients that have been particularly exhausted or stressed, I ask my friend to hand pick a grouping of items that address their specific ailments and that are aromatic and yummy. The recipients of the gifts are always commenting on how each product has helped them regain energy and focus.
5) Create experiences over stuff - Most of the time, more than anything, we crave connection; connection with ourselves, with each other, and with our SPARKLE. Rather than buying an object, why not create an experience with the person you care about? Taking someone out for lunch or cooking them dinner, taking them to a cool theatre piece, and sharing time is often infinitely more valuable than some dust collector that they will most likely ditch the next time they have a yard sale.
6) Rapt attention is always the best gift - I’m incredibly blessed with several people in my life who are profound listeners. They are 100% present and I’m always reminded of the gift of someone just listening, being there for you, and really supporting where you are. Never underestimate the power of being present. In the world of 1000 miles an hour stimuli, where we often feel like we have the attention span of a goldfish with ADD, really offering your rapt attention is an enormous gift and very healing for both parties.
7) Ask someone what they want/need - As children, we’re often given the message that we don't know what we need or want, and that develops an intrinsic lack of self-trust and self-esteem. But the more clear we are on what we need and want, the more we will be able to provide it for ourselves as well as have others support us. My dear friend Jerry Fishman started me on that trend about a decade ago. We were accountability buddies and we would swap turns sharing what actions we were going to take for the day and leave a little room for feedback. Every time after I shared, Jerry would say, “Hey Lo. What type of feedback would be helpful for you?” It always made me think, and it was such a powerful question. I now use that in my coaching.
The holiday season will be profoundly more rewarding when you come from your heart and give intentionally. It calms you down, grounds you and has a greater impact on those you give gifts to.
Which of these strategies will you use to be a more inspired gift giver?
Courage to SPARKLE
Creating a Life that Lights You Up
Human Development Expert*Motivational Speaker*