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Mindful Gifting

A Simple Guide to Finding Meaningful Gifts

By catchafrisbiePublished 2 years ago Updated about a year ago 6 min read
Photo by Tung Hoang on Unsplash

What I love most about giving is the joy of making someone feel seen and loved. However, finding something meaningful is not always easy and can be stressful if you are unsure where to begin.

Here is a simple guide to find a meaningful gift for any occasion.

Step One: Think

By Tachina Lee on Unsplash

Begin by focusing your thoughts on the person who will be receiving your gift.

Think about what they enjoy doing, what is important to them, what is currently going on in their life, what they are most interested in right now, and what makes them feel loved.

Think about any information they have communicated to you recently that could be a part of your gift. These could be discrete hints or forthright comments about items they need, concerns, or changes in their life.

Then think about the occasion or reason why you want to give them a gift. Is it for a specific event, such as a birthday or anniversary, an upcoming holiday, or just because you want to let this person know you are thinking about them? Consider the importance of the event through their perspective. Do you want them to feel loved, appreciated, surprised, acknowledged, or are you doing this out of necessity?

It is important to acknowledge why we are giving a gift because our underlying thoughts and emotions often impact our choices without realizing it. For example, if you recently started a new romantic relationship and it is their birthday, you may feel a lot of pressure to convey the perfect message. But if you do not know what that message is, how can you communicate it appropriately?

Step one is the foundation to finding a meaningful gift.

Tip: A great tool to determine what makes someone feel loved is the Five Love Languages (i.e., words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and receiving gifts). The Five Love Languages provide insight into the best way to show someone love based on their love language. For example, spending time with someone makes me feel more loved than receiving a physical object because my love language is quality time. To find out your love language, click here.

In summary, think about the:

  • Individual What do they like and what makes them feel loved?
  • Clues Have they communicated any subtle or forthright ideas about things they want or need?
  • Occasion or reason Why are you giving them a gift?

Step Two: Brainstorm

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In step one, we thought about the individual, any clues they may have provided, and the occasion or reason for the gift. In step two, we will use this information to brainstorm for gift ideas.

As we begin brainstorming, there are two essential things to keep in mind.

First, always keep the individual and what they like at the forefront of every idea. Make sure that you are thinking about them and what makes them feel loved, not what you want them to like or what you think they need. While giving a gift may bring you joy, it should not be about what you get out of it. A gift is something given without any expectation of something in return.

Second, let go of expectations. Even good intentions sometimes go awry. If they do not like the gift, that is okay. It does not mean they do not like you. Hopefully, they find the gesture thoughtful. But if not, do not take it as a personal failure. As the saying goes, it's the thought that counts. You may do your best to find a meaningful gift, but you cannot control others' thoughts or reactions.

With these two thoughts in mind, we can move on to brainstorming for ideas.

Because brainstorming is specific to step one—the individual, clues, and the occasion or reason, let's continue with the example from earlier.


Person A recently started a romantic relationship with person B. But person A is stressed because person B's birthday is two weeks away, and they have no idea what to get them.

In step one, person A spent time thinking about person B and here is what they came up with:

  • Person B's love languages are words of affirmation and quality time.
  • Person B loves nature.
  • Person B has mentioned that they lost their water bottle.
  • It is person B's birthday, and person A wants them to feel seen, cared for, and know that they are happy to be a part of their life.

Person A starts brainstorming and keeping the thoughts from step one and person B at the forefront of every idea while also being mindful that it is not about them or their expectations.

Brainstorming ideas:

  • Plan a hike
  • Plan a hike and a picnic
  • Buy a water bottle
  • Write little notes of affirmations (i.e., kind thoughts, praise, appreciation)

Step Three: Make a Plan

By Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

After completing step two: brainstorming, step three is to formulate a plan. A crucial aspect of planning is ensuring that you have the capability and available resources to accomplish your idea. These may include a skillset, money, time, or confirming that you can obtain the items or help you need to execute your gift.


Person A decides to plan a hike. They are mindful that this relationship is new and decide to tell person B about the plan ahead of time to ensure they are comfortable with the idea. They will pack lunch for both of them with person B's favorite food. And give person B a new water bottle with their favorite quote engraved on the bottom before starting the hike. When person B is not looking, person A will place a card (with a note inside describing in a few short sentences how person A feels about person B) and a cupcake on person B's seat to find when they return to the car.

In this example, person A has thought about what person B likes (i.e., nature), what makes them feel loved (i.e., quality time and words of affirmation), clues that may make good gifts (i.e., the water bottle), and the reason (i.e., birthday). In step two, person A brainstormed ideas while keeping person B at the forefront and letting go of personal expectations. In step three, person A made a plan that was achievable with their capabilities and resources. Additionally, they were conscious of how person B may perceive a surprise hike and decided to tell them about it ahead of time.

Tip: Buying a gift that you cannot afford to impress someone can be misleading and set an unsustainable expectation. If you want to attract people who like you, it is best to give gifts within your budget.

Step 4: Give

By Jeremy Cai on Unsplash

We have spent time thinking, brainstorming, and planning. Now is the time to give your gift!

Meaningful gifts that I have received recently:

  • On Mother's Day, my mom gave me a card and wrote in it: you are a great aunt!
  • My sister gave me a card for my birthday with a Dachshund in a sweater on it (so adorable), but my favorite part was a note that said, V put $ on your hair account. V is my one-year-old niece.
  • For my birthday, a friend and I spent quality time (my love language) exploring a local zoo and beach town.

If you liked this article, check out the link below.

Or for more help with finding a meaningful gift, contact catchafrisbie at [email protected]

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  • Nour Boustaniabout a year ago

    I always need to gift clients, but it has always been a struggle to find the right gift. This post has been pretty helpful! Thank you.

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