There is a saying that goes something along the lines of ‘if you want to show someone how little you know them, give them a present’. We wish we could say this doesn’t ring true, but how many times have you received something that had nothing to do with your personality or taste, your interests and hobbies? How many times were you able to see just how little effort someone has put into a gift for you? Well, if you have ever been on either the giving or the receiving end of a ‘poor’ gift, it’s time to pick up a lesson or two on mindfulness. More specifically, this holiday season you will master the art of mindful gift giving. There is nothing that brings more pleasure than choosing the right item, giving it in the proper way and seeing the face of the receiver light up.
You want that, right?
In that case, stay, read, learn and apply. It’s time to change the way we give.
Take Care of Yourself First
This may sound a tad selfish, but when you think harder, it makes complete sense. Mindful living is all about taking care of yourself, physically, spiritually, mentally and being present in the moment. These things take time to master, especially if you have led a hectic life deprived of mindfulness. Therefore, you first need to learn before you can give. Begin by meditating, doing yoga, and simply giving yourself the luxury of time to work on bettering yourself. Only when you master the art of mindful living will you be able to master the art of giving.
Don’t Waste Time
Picking gifts at the last minute is the perfect recipe for getting it wrong, and aside from that, the rush and the ‘last minute’ thing goes against every pillar of mindful living. So, start planning ahead. Make a list of all the beloved people in your life you wish to bring joy to with ‘a little something’ and start thinking of each of these people. Ask yourself the following questions: what are this person’s interests? What have they mentioned their love for? What are their values? Some people prefer conscientious gifts, others love pricey ones.
There are some who don’t care about ‘physical’ gifts – they would prefer a poem or a nice day spent with you perhaps. Yes, there are people who want nothing more than your time. Rushing into a mall and picking up a ‘whatever’ just to check the holiday shopping list off your to-do list is not an option.
Knowing all these people deeply, you are now ready to make or purchase the actual gifts. For instance, the person who doesn’t care for pricey items but wants something from the heart and something that shows you know what’s important to them will enjoy lovely personalized Christmas gifts. They can be something that reminds them of a moment you shared together, a happy memory – whatever you believe will mean the world to them, that is what you should get. Trust your gut, trust your knowledge of this person and you will get it right. For instance, you have a friend or a family member – pay close attention and you will notice that they are crazy about natural skincare and makeup. Let that be your guide. Make them happy with a Christmas package full of nourishing goodies from the L’Occitane natural skincare line from Provence. This will show that, just like Charlie from the Perks of Being Wallflower, you pay attention, you listen, and you understand. Someone else will cherish a homemade gift, a movie that meant the world to you two – again, just dig deep and you will remember.
The entire point of mindful gift giving is presenting someone with something that touches their heart, and in return, touches yours as well. You will know this when you experience it. There’s no feeling like it. Once you get the hang of things, you won’t even have to think hard. Even a sweater can make someone happy, provided that they simply adore sweaters and they love you for noticing just how much and in which colours they wear them. You don’t have to cross mountains and scout for the perfect gift on another continent – you just have to pay attention.
The Moment of Giving
Purchasing and wrapping the right gift (both of which you should do yourself), is only half the job. The second half is how you present it. This is where the entire philosophy of being present comes into play. When you give a gift, make sure you look the person in the eye, give them a real hug and feel it. Wait until they unwrap it and just feel the joy of their joy transfer to you. Then, you can even give a little backstory. Yes, the perfect gift will speak for itself, but if you take a moment to provide a backstory as to why this particular thing has landed in the arms of that particular person, it will make the moment all the more special. This is the crucial moment. Shopping is easy, being there to share your mutual story, a sentimental memory is the key part.
Finally, from consulting your closest ones, to scouting for gifts, wrapping them imperfectly and finally giving them to each person that means something in your life – do all of these things with complete dedication and presence. You may not believe it, but this level of dedication and heart will be felt in the gift itself, trust us on this one. And who knows, perhaps your mindfulness will inspire others to spread this and create an entirely new, mindful gift-giving tradition.
Sophia Smith is Australian based fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger. She is very passionate about organic beauty products, yoga and healthy lifestyle. Sophia writes mostly in beauty and lifestyle related topics, mainly through blogs and articles. She is regular contributor at High Style Life and Ripped.
Sophia is one of our experts – you can find out more about her and ask her anything beauty related by heading over to her expert profile page here.