How to gift after an exhausting year
No matter what holiday you celebrate, the best gift is more simple than you think
Instead of wanting more, this year has taught me to be more thankful for what I already have.
This year is now coming to a close and no matter what holiday is coming up on your calendar, we can all benefit from a more sincere gift this year.
Since many of us have been affected financially this year, the pressure is building up to deliver “good” gifts to the ones we care about. But there are many ways to give heartfelt gifts this year without straining your wallet. It has also been a challenge this year to cope with the distance between us and our loved ones. For the sake of safety we try to stay apart, but many of us do not want to wait any longer to hug each other again. I know I wish to hug my grandmother after months of being apart, but since my mother was diagnosed with Leukemia this year we have to take extra precautions. It is best to not expose her since her immune system is weaker than the average person, but we have found ways to stay connected to our family despite all these circumstances. If you need to keep your loved ones safe with distance this year, you are already giving the gift of consideration.
Now here are some other ideas to show your love this holiday season! (Links included)
~Gifts for family & friends
ㅇSend a card
Since many of us send text messages rather than cards for holidays, it can feel refreshing to receive a hand written card once in a while. I started sending cards again once I realized how fun it is to personalize cards for everyone on your checklist. I recommend finding nice paper, glitter, stickers, twine, or anything you have around your house to make a beautiful card to send for the holiday. Being creative can also help us release some stress we built up this year!
If you want to buy a card, I say go big or go home. Etsy has amazingly beautiful and unique card options. Here are some of my favorites; you could also use them as inspiration for your own! (This item is $24.95 for 24 cards! Plus free shipping in the USA.)
ㅇHave a face-time party
If your family is tech savvy enough, it is quite entertaining to have a family face-time call. I recently had one for Thanksgiving with my grandparents and since they do not face-time anyone ever, strange angles and audio problems kept it hilarious. If you can retain your humor, calling your family to laugh and catch up could make your holiday much more joyful. This year has been challenging for all of us and hopefully a call can open up our compassion for each other.
Phone calls or facetime parties may not seem like a gift, but it is a great way to stay connected and remind each other we are not alone. After traveling abroad for months, I know my grandmother and me see our calls as the most special gift.
ㅇBake or cook
Although this is a gift best given quickly, it is a great option nonetheless! Even if you are not a talented chef, you would be surprised at the delicious and simple food you can make. Peppered eggs, a smoothie, even store bought cookies can all turn into personal gifts with a drop of customization. Try adding cinnamon or sprinkles to cookies, make an apple cinnamon smoothie, or anything you can imagine. For the past few years my homemade date balls with coconut or glamorized sugar cookies are a big success. These gifts are best served in adorable packaging~!
If you are not comfortable with baking yourself, I recommend items like this. They are handmade, gluten free, nut free, and have free shipping within the US!
Support small business, support yourself!
(This item is $4.00 for 4 rolls)
ㅇDo a favor
A great gift is also the gift of helping out, and it is sometimes the gift with the most impact. Does your friend or family member need help with anything? Think for a moment and add some creativity. It could be shoveling snow, cleaning house, helping move. Anything that you can safely do that could be more meaningful than strangers doing it. Although this may not seem like a substitute for a PS5, it is much more helpful and can show how much you care even if you cannot afford a physical gift.
Whether you are naturally crafty or not, you can make meaningful unique gifts with just about anything.
~Have any fabric or old shirts you do not wear? Try making fabulous fabric mask covers or cute 2 piece sets! Another fun gift is custom designed bleach shirts. All you need is bleach and a cotton shirt and you can make endless patterns or spice up an old graphic T.
~Have extra cardboard boxes laying around? Make a magical cat box kingdom! If you have kids you can encourage everyone into helping to build box armor or a cardboard village/castle. You can even make adorable lanterns out of cardboard.
~Have extra magazines or paper? Make eclectic coasters, origami, or hanging wall art.
If you want to gift some beautiful pottery, I am a big fan of Pottery for the Planet. This is a small business from New Zealand that makes unique bowls, cups, plates, travel cups, vases, and teapots! But make sure to order in advance because shipping can take a while!
ㅇ RECOMMENDED APP FOR GREAT SECOND HAND OR NWT ITEMS
Mercari is a selling and buying app I have personally used for the past year. I have made over $1,000 from selling items I do not use anymore like shoes, books, and even kitchen appliances. On Mercari I have also found amazing deals like an Arsenal soccer Jersey, with tags, 2020 edition for $35, or a Swarovski crystal vintage leather belt for $15. So go and shop for amazing deals to help save money on gifts this year!
~Gifts for the community
If you have the resources and time, giving gifts to the community is a great way to enjoy the holiday season. When I was younger I always thought the only way to gift the community was to volunteer at a soup kitchen, but of course that is not true!
Here are a few ways to gift the community that I can personally vouch for.
ㅇDonate food to your local shelter
Under normal circumstances food shelters have high demand for donations. So, you can imagine how much that demand has grown since COVID-19 started. However, it is very fast and easy to help out with donations. Check your local shelters website, they will usually have a list of needed items. Now is the simple part! Buy their requested items (and possibly a little more if you are feeling spicy) and drop off the food at your shelters drop off time. This is a simple and cheap way to help many people in your area not go hungry. You would be surprised that stores’ off brand products can start at $3 for pasta, rice, peanut butter, and more. Happy donating!
ㅇDonate to charities
One of my favorite charities is called Heifer International. This is a charity where you donate livestock, fresh water, education and more to developing areas across the globe. That may sound expensive, but you can donate a “share” of an animal starting at $10. How this works is you donate a portion of the price and your donation adds up with other people who paid a share until the full price is paid! If you want to make a whole donation, a flock of chicks or ducks is only $20! This will help a family have eggs to eat and sell for many years. The best part of Heifer is that you may even receive a card and photo from the people your donation went to, that way you can see just how much your gift matters.
ㅇGet a pen pal
Earlier this year I saw that a senior care home wanted pen pals for the people who had no family or visitors since COVID-19 has restricted in person visits. I made pen pals at Victorian Senior Care in North Carolina, but many care homes across the nation need pen pals. On some care homes instagram or facebook you can see who needs a pen pal, their interests, and then compose your letter to them. This is a great way to connect with others, hear great stories, and make every season a bit less lonely for every one. For me it has been a heart-warming way to connect with adorable people and hear their amazing stories from their “golden days”.