Lifestyle Shopping

How gift mindfully

Let’s be honest with ourselves here. We want a lot of things but do we need them? Especially when it comes to Christmas. We often give gifts that friends and family don’t need, or worse yet… Don’t want. Sometimes these unwanted presents sit with us for years because of our guilt. We don’t want to throw something out when it was meant for us. How can we celebrate the holidays without being so wasteful? While this season is one of giving, there are better options to explore.

Gift with intention
I don’t mind asking what someone would prefer to get. I know I made Christmas lists growing up so that my parents could have a choice. It’s a shame my extended family ignored these lists. I often got presents that I was uninterested in and got rid of them as soon as I could. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a gift suggestion. After all you’ll be given a straight answer instead of assuming what they would want. If you don’t want to ask what they want there’s another approach. Talk to them about something they’ve wanted for a while but couldn’t justify the money for. A new set of knives or a collector’s edition of their favorite music. This way you’ll get them something they’ve wanted but had to say no to.

Go eco-friendly
There are tons of stores that are going eco-friendly. You can pick up something that’s better quality (instead of fast fashion) in favor for something earth friendly. This way you can be giving back to the environment as well as your friends or family. You could even so as far as gifting plants or flowers. Do make sure you know who you’re buying for though! Don’t get someone a plant if you know they’re notorious for forgetting to water them!

I’m a huge fan of do it yourself gifts and there are a thousand ways to make a gift that looks expensive. I’ve been binge watching the The Sorry Girls because they do such wonderful DIY videos. For the holidays they tackle everything. I recommend giving their channel a look over. They have great ideas if you want to make something but need inspiration or direction. Often times a practical and homemade gift can speak louder than a store bought gift.

Secondhand choices
Here in The Netherlands secondhand stores are common. Sometimes they don’t have a lot of useful things but there can be treasures. Sander and I used to frequent the one in the city over before it moved locations. It had a great selection of video games and we ended up buying a handful of them. A few second hand stores even have deals with local bakers. Our favorite one used to keep a healthy stock of fresh baked goods and home grown plants.

There are a lot of special cases for this topic but do make sure you regift something that’s clean and never used. I’ve regifted unopened books and accessories before. Many times my old book club would do this instead of a white elephant gift. It’s a practical way to get rid of something you know someone else would love. Keep in mind who gave the item to you though! You wouldn’t want to return it to them the next year.


If all else fails you can always grab a gift card for something they enjoy. I love getting gift cards for books. This way I can pick up a title that I’ve been waiting for instead of having my gifter guess what I would like. It keeps the relationship simple too! There will be less frustration if your recipient can choose what they want instead of dealing with something they don’t.

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