Last night I was sitting on the sofa and looked up to see my pup Lilly laying under the Christmas tree. I thought, “Aw, that's so sweet!” until I realized it also looked like she was pointing out the obvious: I have yet to get a single gift wrapped and under the tree! It's already mid-December and I have barely scratched the surface on purchasing gifts for this year.
It's like she's mocking me.
The past few years this has happened (one day I'll learn to stop procrastinating), I would just buy a bunch of gift cards to stores I knew people liked, and handed them over in their generic envelopes with their TO and FROM labels. While the recipients were always gracious, the lingering thought in my mind was: “I could have done better.”
So this year, I've vowed to not do gift cards unless someone has explicitly asked for one. In case anyone else is in the same situation, here are the steps I'm taking to feel a little better about the gifts I'm giving.
Step 1: The good news is that we all still have time to get presents! Start with hobbies or recall conversations you've had with your friends and family over the year. This Yahoo! Style Food Gift Guide gave me some great ideas for my foodie friends – because while I like food, I am pretty clueless to all the fanciness of foodies. For my fitness blogging friends, this Gift Guide for Gym Buffs (or not-so-buffs) sparked a couple of ideas that I've stashed away for next time I see them. In addition to thinking about your friends hobbies, think about associated products. For example, I like jewelry but I also know it's hard to buy for others based on their varying tastes. Why not get something to help store that jewelry in a way that will make things easier to find? Helpful + thoughtful = awesome gift. (And if you have a true neat freak friend, this guide might help. That's one area I don't relate with well!)
Step 2: Wrap with love and care. Store gift wrapping is nice and super convenient. In a pinch, it's better than giving a naked gift. But you know what is also fun? Wrapping presents. Fun wrapping paper and ribbons and bows… I get giddy thinking about it. My mom used to give the most beautifully wrapped gifts and I remember how everyone would save the bows made of metallic ribbon, or carefully fold the thick printed wrapping paper. The nostalgia of that is something that is so lovely in a world of pre-made boxes and bags. It's like an extra gift on top of the gift that's within.
Step 3: Say how much you care… on paper. Words are so powerful, and we're so busy texting in shorthand and spouting off “love ya!” to friends as we're running to the next commitment. There is nothing more special, in my opinion, than a hand written card that contains a lovely sentiment. In 5 minutes you can create something that someone will cherish for much longer – an ongoing reminder that you care. I know this sounds as cheesy as a Hallmark commercial, but it's so true. I have a horrible time expressing my emotions and gratitude in person, and writing things in a card ensures I don't have regrets from things unsaid.
If you're still looking for gift ideas (don't worry – we all are!) head to see all the great gift guides over at Yahoo! Style. What's on your wishlist?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.